Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jazz at Arturo's Restaurant

With a bustling crowd chowing down pizza 7 nights a week, the jazz at Arturo's often fades to the background. But if you choose to listen, you're in for a treat, as we discovered last night.

With the elegant Kayo tickling the ivories in the 6-8 pm slot (joined by a 3-man band), the joint was grooving to her bubbling renditions of Jobim's Wave and others. But what a treat when guest vocalist--and TRP poet!--Peter Carlaftes stood in and delivered a melancholic version of You are Too Beautiful. His smooth stylings caused diners to pause mid-slice and pay attention. Not that we're biased, but--boy!--was he fantastic.

Soon after, during Kayo's break--another special treat! Visiting San Francisco friends Jean and John Mazzei took over the stage and brought the house down with an inside-out rendition of Centerpiece. Jean's vocals wove in and out of the piece's center, sounding more relaxed, round and laid back than ever, with a new rhythmic edge. John's keyboard frenzy expanded the edges of the standard's lines, with "How's he gonna come back from there?" outside entanglements that brought new beauty to the tune. Wrapping up their short set with Bye, Bye Blackbird, the Mazzei's again launched in new directions, taking their ballad-like intro into a bouncing groove that highlighted both their strengths.

Following another set by Kayo, the music continued with a season-themed set by the piano player whose name--alas!--I cannot remember!!! And he's really great!! He tripped on The Autumn Leaves, an homage to cool weather yesterday, and--by request!--spun out a hearty take on Clifford Brown's Joy Spring.

Note to the piano players: the applause--at least from me!--was not in response to the Yankees' game on the TV just left of you. It was the music! It was the music! It was the music!

No comments: