Notable Notes: Pacini Writes About The Tony Pacini Trio Performance At Wilf’s Restaurant, Friday, December 28th, 2012

RECAPITULATION: The Tony Pacini Trio Performance At Wilf’s Restaurant, Friday, December 28th, 2012

I’m listening to George Shearing with the Robert Farnon Orchestra as I write this, reflecting on the wonderful evening we (the Tony Pacini Trio) enjoyed last night. As I walked into Wilf’s last night, I couldn’t stop smiling as I was greeted by so many devoted friends and fans. Included in the congregation were several people I hadn’t seen in a while, and some, who despite feeling under the weather, or having to travel a fair distance, were compelled to make the effort / pilgrimage choosing to share their warmth and evening with us. We enjoyed the company of all, and also made friends with new listeners. The trio graciously channeled the attentiveness of all those wonderful people back into the music.

One of our devoted listeners had brought her entire family, (in town for the holidays), and had asked what the “Third Stream” selections advertised on my website’s feed ( http://tonypacini.com/ ) were about. I acknowledged her question by showing her a piece of music-manuscript-paper before the gig that consisted of simply one line of music: a fermata (hold sign), a chord progression consisting of three measures of arco (bowed bass), followed by “Chopin solo piano”, “repeat intro with band”, then “band in on Jobim tune”, concluding with coda (ending). I said; “They’ll (the trio) know what to do”.

We begin: I took the bench, poised myself at the piano, and thought that it might be nice to start the evening off soft and with a solo-piano number so as to provide more crescendo room for the musical entrance of my longtime gifted colleagues, Tim Rap (drums), and Ed Bennett (bass). Most of the time the approach to kicking off the night is like saying; “Hey, let’s get this thing going and swing hard”, but the room seemed to be especially sentimental with loyal listeners and new ones all getting to know each other, and, with the intent of listening. I simply began playing Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke” solo, and transitioned into two tunes written by Ellington, following which I provided the intro cue to Tim and Ed for our up-tempo samba rendition of “Prelude To A Kiss”. Having 13 years of musical rapport with Tim and Ed allows me the opportunity to program a set of music on the fly by incorporating arrangements they know that they will jump in on as soon as they hear me segue into them – I‘m so lucky to have them.

The cross-pollination of “classical meets jazz” medley mentioned earlier we played next. It was one of two “Third Stream” selections I arranged that I debuted at this performance. Ed Bennett’s arco work accompanying my harmonic redirection was superb, and Tim Rap did what he does so well on the drums; shaped the medley from start to coda with sensitivity, dynamics, and respect on a compositional level.

We also performed my involved arrangement of Franz Lehar’s “Your’s, Is My Heart Alone”, our new piano trio “thumbprint” on Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud”, and my original compositions “Pastel For Two” (a mixed-meter waltz) and “I Feel Your Smile” (an original ballad with influence and connotations from Monty Alexander’s “That’s Why”).

Our last set included two songs with special guest tenor saxophonist Harry Allen who converged upon us along with delightful vocalist Rebecca Kilgore and friends. They had just finished performing with Rebecca at a different venue. Nonetheless, Harry sat in and we played a fairly brisk version of Gershwin’s “Love Walked In”, followed by “How Am I To Know”, an obscure tune written by Jack King and Dorothy Parker from the 1929 film “Dynamite”. Well, the gig went overtime, but it was worth it – so much fun!

Up next: More piano-trio tonight at Portland Prime with bassist Ed Bennett and drummer Mel Brown, a break on Sunday, then I’ll regroup Monday night with Mel, Ed, and the addition of saxophonist John Nastos at Prime to ring in the new year.

Hope to see you soon!
Warmly,
~Tony Pacini

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