It's fitting that Norman Zocher's "Til Death Do Us Part" lopes along as a loving ballad that pairs his electric guitar with Abigail Aronson's electric bass. The gospel-tinged composition finds the quartet supporting each as they speak out in a conversational style, sometimes in perfect harmony and sometimes seeing things differently. The comfortable 6/8 rhythm includes swirling brushes and gentle piano chords that accompany their stroll down the aisle. Norm and Abby, who met in Advanced Harmony class at the New England Conservatory, were married in 1997. Both are Assistant Professors of Guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. More information about the band and current projects can be found at http://members.aol.com/atozmusic/index.html .
"Old Blues" represents much of the session. Zocher's guitar (the featured instrumental voice) moves furtively in and out of the limelight with a down-home charm and rock-influenced technical prowess. Pianist Bevan Manson, whose day job is chairman of the jazz department at the University of California in Berkeley, comps with a wide array of tools and solos frequently. His approach is consistent with the guitarist's slant; however, the mix takes him to a more subdued volume level. Bassist Aronson, whose degree is in classical guitar performance, favors a lyrical accompaniment technique with fiery solo lines. George Garzone's contributions to the session are special in their apparent ease of movement. While his motion is highly creative and spontaneous, the saxophonist's manner gives one the outward impression that things are consistently smooth and laid-back. All that action taking place in the arena, and yet the scenery seems mellow. It's a perfect mix.
Track Listing: Jungle Tune; Giant Steps; Hick Licks; Know It; ?Til Death Do Us Part; Cytyc Thinprep 2000?; Devolution; Buffy; Old Blues; Berklee Tune.
Personnel: Norman Zocher- guitar; Abigail Aronson- bass, wordless vocals added on "Jungle Tune"; Bevan Manson- piano; Brooke Sofferman- drums; George Garzone- tenor sax on "Jungle Tune" and "Know It".
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.