Good old fashioned swing
The days of going to local haunts and hearing a set of free jazz are sort of few and far between. Sofia’s restaurant is a place in midtown that maintains that NY jazz piano bar tradition. On any night of the week you can listen to some of the top flight pianists in NY looking to keep their fingers warm. Aaron Goldberg, Danela Schacter, Mike Kanan and Cecilia Coleman just to name a few of the recent ones.
In addition to pianists,saxophonists often gig or sit in there as well. A local favorite is 86 year old Red Horndstrom whom I’ve mentioned in the past. Red’s pedigree is from the swing era and it’s difficult to capture this approach of relaxed swing and embouchure and the essence of the language unless you’ve lived it – which Red has. Use Lester Young as your reference point if you like. Aside from that I don’t think I’ve ever met a nicer, easy going and respectful musician. Just a pleasure to play with.
The attached files were taken from a live trio set with Ed Fuqua, Red and myself with my Zoom recorder from 2008. Part of live playing is forgiving certain things: misunderstood trades, holding tempos, alternative changes, occasional tune-up needed and lots of glass clinking and talking. But I think there is a certain beauty in capturing the raw ambience as well. It’s not sanitized. You have to give yourself to the moment. I think there is a lot of good feeling captured here.
Some funny highlights to notice here are when Ed counts off the usual brisk tempo of It’s You Or No One and Red say “whoa, hang on… remember I’m old!”. I think it eventually ends up around where he wanted it :)The other is on Summertime where we fake an extended ending which you might characterize as a creative train wreck where we finally end it with some rolled chords and such, and Red says “Just the way we rehearsed it…”