A jazz virgin in LIC

I know I’ve written about jazz before, (https://sometimeinlongislandcity.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/jazz-in-small-spaces/) but I still feel new to it. LIC is blessed with resident musicians, and some who have the misfortune to live elsewhere and come into town to play. I’ve written before about the venues Domaine wine Bar (http://domainewinebar.com/) which I consider to be my university of jazz and wine; and the LIC Bar (licbar.com), to which I must add Manducatis Rustica (www.manducatisrustica.com), a restaurant I have yet to visit but which hosted the LIC Jazz Alliance (http://www.licja.org/)  jam session on Saturday Feb 25th. LICJA  also have jam sessions at the Domaine every Monday night. You can’t frequent jazz bars for long and remain a jazz virgin!

LIC Bar hosted a jazz evening last Monday, featuring Emily Wolf, (http://www.emilywolfjazz.com) Kat Calvosa (http://www.katcalvosa.com) and The Black Butterflies (www.theblackbutterflies.com) . This was a good, if challenging, mix. I’ve heard Emily before (see Jazz in Small Spaces). She’s an Englishwoman with an American jazz singer for a father and as such her singing comes from a strong tradition of jazz singers whom she will have heard, either live or in recordings. She told us that hearing recordings of Nancy Wilson was a major influence on her embarking on a career as a jazz musician. I like her mix of music, her own material and standards. he standards give us common points of reference and give Emily opportunites to shine through her own arrangements. She varies her performance style in a way that is entertaining but not over the top – suiting the LIC’s intimate atmosphere. She uses scat improvisation very effectively, the voice-as-instrument technique that, I understand, originated with Louis Armstrong. (If you haven’t been, DO go to his house in Corona, Queens, which is now a museum and is just as it was when he lived there, with evocative recordings of him talking – as if he was still there http://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/)

Emily Wolf with bass player Danny Weller

A new member of Emily’s band for the night was Leah Gough-Cooper, a graduate of both the New Engkand Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, but originating from the South Eastern part of Scotland. Leah looks younger but plays older than her years. I was very impressed by her easy fluid style, her sense of movement in the music and her great tone. Unlike some sax players, who move around the room a lot, “performing”, Leah just stood there letting the music speak and move for itself. I really want to hear her again, and will have the chance at LIC Bar on March 12th, when she plays with “Human Equivalent” at 9pm.

Emily’s band also included Jason Yeager on keyboard and Matt Rousseau on drums, a fine combination of players that Emily has created!

Leah Gough-Cooper

Emily’s band also included Jason Yeager on keyboard and Matt Rousseau on drums, a fine combination of players that Emily has created!

Emily Wolf and her quartet

I hadn’t heard Kat Calvosa before. Like Emily she presented a mix of compositions and arrangements, including two compositions from her guitarist, Perry Smith.  I enjoyed the differences and similarities between her and Emily. I especially enjoyed Kat’s arrangement of one of the greatest, and probably most arranged standards, Nat King Cole’s “A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square”, with the guitar offering chord changes that reminded me of Jimi Hendrix at his most lyrical. Kat has a relaxed confident singing style, once again very suited to a bar/club environment. There was nice interplay between her and the musicians in the band (which also included Ross Pederson on drums and Sam Minaie on bass) and, like Emily, she connected well with the audience.

Kat Calvosa and band at LIC Bar

The third band of the night was a 6 piece group led by Argentinian Mercedes Figueras: “The Black Butterflies”. This was quite different music. I was having an alcohol-free night at the LIC Bar (great fruit cocktails, though from Stephanie behind the bar) and felt that maybe I was missing something when listening to this band’s material. I should have been “on” something to appreciate the trance-like tracks they presented, maybe I needed to listen  more intently than I did last thing in the evening. At first I was intrigued: an interesting introduction to the first track played by Tony Larokko on a tiny 5 (?) note zylophone and the smallest balafon (an African zylophone which uses gourds to develop it’s tone) I have ever seen – pentatonic note patterns which the band expanded in a style which said to me “this is going to be music which brings in a great range of musical traditions”. This was an entertaining band to watch as well, especially conga player Bopa “King” Carre and Larokko’s variety of instruments. However, I found that I pulled back from the seemingly random improvisations  for which maybe I was not prepared, or “in the mood”. I think this is another kind of jazz that I need to understand more. Check them out for yourself on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj9zw5id4UQ . It’s not that I have closed ears (or I think not, having hosted a World Music Radio show for 8 years), and I’m fine with long raga’s, 5 hour operas, Gamelan concerts or wide extemporisations on the Kora.  I need to hear them again.

Mercedes Figueras and Nick Gianni

Mercedes Figueras and Nick Gianni

Virgin Jazz reviews

I’m going to spend a little time now reviewing some CDs, but first an apologia that you can skip if you like.

The Apologia

“What’s this guy doing reviewing Jazz? He doesn’t know his Ornette from his Maynard?” Well that’s true. Since coming to Long Island City I’ve had opportunities to meet, and hear some people who I consider to be really talented and who describe themselves as playing Jazz. Many have been to Jazz school, some more recently than others; some actually teach at Jazz schools, so I guess what they play IS jazz.

I had little exposure to Jazz when growing up, even though my father and his brother were musicians (military band). We didn’t get a proper (i.e. 45 and 33 rpm) record player until I was a teenager, but always had a piano in the house around whcih people would gather at parties and sing everything from “Velia” to (my mother’s party piece) “Stormy Weather”. The latter was probably my only exposure to anything that might be called jazz. British TV and radio didn’t offer much except what in the UK is called “Trad” jazz, played by people like Acker Bilk dressed up in bowler hats and striped waistcoats, with banjos and smiling faces. As a teeneger I became deeply involved in the Blues. This was the time of the British Blues boom. I gave up my piano lessons (I always wanted to change the rhythms of the pieces to something more funky) and took up guitar, queueing for hours to hear Hendrix at the Marquee, Clapton at the club down the road and Peter Green with the only real Fleetwood Mac. Occasionally I might hear some jazz/blues by people like Manfred Mann (especially in their latter “Chapter Three” incarnations) and did actually go to hear people like Rahsaan Roland Kirk, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine on their university circuits. I enjoyed their music but didn’t really understand jazz. As a guitarist I was one of those people who can’t really remember swathes of chords, who prefers to make them up without knowing what they’re called. I’d watch jazz guitarists playing one chord per note, moving up and down the fingerboard and stretching out the fingers in what seemed superhuman chord shapes. “much too hard”, said I, never having had a guitar lesson until middle age.

Over the years I have heard some great jazz artists: Sarah Vaughan, Ornette Coleman (three basses in that band!), Stefan Grappelli as well as other combos that I have come across be accident, and I bought some records and CDs – Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Django Rheinhardt, Duke Ellington etc. Nothing that stretched me, but which I enjoyed and appreciated as very different music than the blues I had grown up with; music that I increasingly recognised as being as complex and skill-requiring as the classical music that is my frequent companion (now don’t get me talking about that!).

So here I end up in Long Island City with two venues that regularly feature jazz (LIC Bar and the Domaine wine bar) and I go along and find that I am starting to really get into this music, not everything mind; but it’s not just the music but also the people, the players whom I photograph and talk to. Some even live down the road! I’ve even been to a jazz club (Jazz Standard’s Mingus Dynasty) in Manhattan and heard music that knocked my socks off (where on earth does than phrase come from?), I end up listening to jazzers live and bringing their CDs home, three of which will be the subject of this blog post.

The Albums

Two of the people that I have seen most around here are Sam Trapchak (bass) and Christian Coleman (drums). I suppose if anyone has turned me onto local jazz it’s these two. There is something about this combination that allows me to get inside the music and appreciate where it’s going. Not technically, but intuitively and emotionally. I’ve heard these two in combination with a range of other players – Broc Hempel – (what a skilled keyboard man he is), Greg Ward (man he’s so talented, his sax will take him to the top one day), local sax player Martin Kelley (a skilled musician and teacher), Anthony Cekay and many talented others!

Broc Hempel

Sam Trapchak

Greg Ward

Christian Coleman

Christian Coleman




















Both Sam and Christian have CD’s out at the moment, featuring them playing with other musicians and not each other. I’ve also come home with an album from Tammy Scheffer, a singer of great accuracy and flexibility. Whether I’m considered credible enough to review these I will leave to you, the Blogabond (I asked some friends for words to describe you, and that was one suggestion – the other was “Bloggard” but I think that probably better describes me).

I’ve talked about Tammy Scheffer before (see my “Jazz in small spaces” blog post) and you’ll know how I was impressed by her singing and musicianship in live performance. Tammy hails from Belgium via Israel and is a graduate of the New England Conservatory. Her debut CD “Wake up Fall Asleep” features 9 of her original compositions and arrangements for sextet which consists of Andrew Urbina– alto sax, Steve Pardo– tenor sax,Chris Ziemba– piano, Brad Barrett– bass and Ronen Itzik– drums.

Tammy’s style, which involves much wordless singing reminds me of medieval and renaissance music where the singers’ vocal abilities are used to not just express lyrics but also to express the music through variation of sound and rhythm. Music before the 18th century was often meant as a basis for improvisation by singers and instrumentalists, who developed their music skills in learning contexts where this was expected, much like jazz is today and in folk music traditions around the world.  Good examples of this can be heard in recordings by that pioneer of the early music revival, David Munrow (who blew his recorders, crumhorns and cornamuses like a jazzman) and the group L’ Arpeggiatta, appearing at Carnegie Hall in March. I’m also reminded of the vocal interpretations of classical music (especially Bach) presented by the “Swingle Singers” in the 60s and 70s. It would be great to discover whether Jazz schools might also offer studies which place the jazz improvisational tradition with the contexts of both World and European “art” music.

Tammy’s voice is the lead instrument of her sextet; sometimes she’ll use it to sing words but mostly it’s wordless vocalisations of intricate runs, arpeggios and decorations around the melodies, some of which appear to derive from her Hebrew/Israeli heritage (one song , “Home is where my laptop is”  includes a quote from “Nama Yafo”). I’m not sure Tammy’s singing is technically “scat”, which I understand to mean improvised wordless singing. I think that Tammy’s music is a mix of improvisation and music that she has written specifically to sing without words.

In “Kum, Shan”  (“Wake up, Fall Asleep” Tammy sings  Hebrew words which she uses to form the base of her voice-as-instrument extensions of the melodies. A slow hauntingly beautiful melody moves into some more highly charged sax playing before easing off with Tammy’s voice, like a bird flying into the mists. You can see a video of her performing this at the Shrine NYC on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_lbf7GPiUc

I particularly enjoyed “Hakol Yihiye Beseder (Everything’s going to be just fine)”, which starts off with some nice piano from Chris Ziemba before Tammy comes in with some very easy-feeling vocalising, the rest of the band sitting gently in the background. Yes, you really do feel as if everything’s going to be just fine. A good track to end the album.

Tammy Scheffer

This is an album which grows well on repeated hearing. I now prefer to listen to one track at a time, with space between to digest and feel that sense of peace which arises well from Tammy’s singing and the band’s playing. You can download or buy the CD from http://www.tammyscheffer.com/ .

The album “Lollipopocalypse” (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/samtrapchak), from Sam Trapchak‘s “Put Together Funny” contains the one piece that opened my eyes to jazz here in LIC,  Sam’s composition  “Precious View”. I first heard this played by the Trapchak, (Broc) Hempel, (Christian) Coleman Trio at the Domaine Wine Bar on one of my first visits there. The band on the album here consists of Sam Trapchak on bass, Greg Ward on alto sax, guitarist Tom Chang, and Arthur Vint on drums, so we get a different arrangement, with  sax rather than Hempel’s keyboard.  I love this piece’s early unsettling meandering around rhythm and time signatures with a catchy riff  which is picked up on soloing bass and then smoothing out into more regular melodic solo, (on the album here from Greg Ward’s meticulous soulful alto, riding over the continuingly unsettled rhythm section ). It made so much sense to my untutored ears, I don’t know why, technically, but it did make sense and it is oddly moving.

Precious View doesn’t showpiece the guitar playing of Tom Chang. His musical background apparently includes heavy rock and sometimes you can hear this in solos that take me back to 60’s and 70’s rock/jazz (Zappa especially, but also oddly the Paul Butterfield band’s “East West” experiment; long tracks with “oriental” improvisations). I particularly liked Chang’s composition “On the Cusp of Cancer”; a driving track which allows guitar and sax to snake around and blow the dust from the lightshades.

Five of the seven tracks on Lollipocalypse written by Sam Trapchak and the other two (On the Cusp of Cancer and Tongue and Groove) by Tom Chang. The title track “Lollipocalypse” is a game of two halves, just when you think you are swinging along with nice soaring sax adventures in comes Chang’s screeching chords and jagged edges to push you to the edge of your bar stool and threaten your ability to remain sane, and upright.

This is an album which entertains; it’s interesting, occasionally exhausting and sometimes moving. It stands repeated hearing, not because the tracks are easy listening but because you’ll hear something new every time, such is the variety in the writing and the virtuousity of the players.

The Christian Coleman‘s Trio’s “Pigments” album features Christian on drums, Gavin Ahearn on piano, and Matt Gruebner on bass, with Australian Dale Barlow guesting on Tenor sax. (It’s coming soon to iTunes and cdbaby, in the meantime check out some earlier recordings on http://www.myspace.com/christiancolemandrums, which include Ahearn, together with Chris Riggenbach bass and Mike Dopazo on sax). Three of the four players (Coleman (7 tracks), Ahearn (2) and Gruebner (1) take writing credits in what is, to my ears, more of a mainstream album than Lollipocalypse. It’s Coleman’s drums and Ahearn’s piano that are the stars on this album. Just listen to Coleman’s intricate patterns that dance around the melodies, enhancing the other’s playing – the soloist at the back, a jester and magician painting the stars in the sky and weaving fine webs of percussive lacework around tunes for which he has taken such an important role as writer and leader.

My impressions on having heard this album all the way through on a few occasions is that I occasionally wanted the band to let go a bit more. I liked it better late at night at home, when I don’t need music to lift my energy levels. The second track,  “5th Street Stoop”, starts to swing part way through, and then falls back to a lazy style which suits the music.

I particularly liked the piano playing of Gavin Ahearn – fluid and sharply articulated. His composition “If you were then” is one of my favourite tracks on the album, based around a memorable melody fragment that consists of almost chiming chords. His other composition “Zelenec” is also enjoyable. bass player Matt Gruebner’s single contribution to the writing credits here, “Sere“, is an enjoyable piece that starts with Coleman’s brushes sounding like artful sandpaper on a sailor’s 5 day beard. The a single line piano enters with melody decorated nicely with Gruebner’s bass line and more from Coleman’s exquisite technique.

In fact I have begun listening to this album wondering if I can discern a difference in the way that a drummer writes in comparison to a pianist and a bass player, after all the music of the classical composer Berlioz (a violinist, not a keyboard player but a genius in orchestration) is noticably different to his contemporaries, who would have often written using a piano. Do percussionists think more in rhythms and sound colours; do single line instrumentalists think more in single melodic lines whilst chordal players use harmonies and polyphonic ideas more? This would take further listening and is an example of how my introductions to jazz at the Domaine Bar University of jazz and wine are leading me in interesting directions.

Dale Barlow plays on six of the ten tracks. I thought his tenor playing was well articulated and artful. I found, though, that I wanted to hear more adventure from him. It’s as if, when playing this music, he had to play obediently. Maybe this is something about recording jazz, a music which is part improvisational and part written;  so when you are laying down a track do you hold back in a way that you wouldn’t in a live performance?

Lastly hats off to Christian Coleman for an interesting album with great playing that deserves concentrated listening; yet it also stands in the background at dinner party or social gathering where people want to talk with a smooth jazz background.

Well, congratulations on getting this far down what has been a long blog post. PLEASE comment – I’d love some feedback.


Live Radio in LIC

Remember radio? Sitting at home around the fire on a winter night? Remember how you were able create images of characters; how the actors, music and sound effects created dramas in which you were a participant by virtue of your imaginative powers?

Have you ever been to a live radio show, watched the actors with their scripts, seen how sound effects are produced?

I was fortunate to be invited to a rehearsal of such an event the other night, an event that takes place in LIC next weekend (Sunday Feb 26th, 8:30, LIC Bar). So this short blog is not such much a review, more of a preview of a scary event in the neighbourhood.

Local actor Ali Silva has been creating monthly, Sunday night “Fireside Ghost Stories” at the LIC Bar (www.licbar.com)since Halloween last year, performing them in the Carriage House annex; an ideal setting with its fireplace, rustic artifacts and cosy atmosphere. She extends this successful format this week with a live reading of 2 episodes of CBS’ radio show “Suspense” that will engage your imagination in a  way that is guaranteed to chill you and make you want to draw closer to the fire.

"Suspense" by the fireside in the Carriage House

This very popular radio series ran from the 1940s through to the early 1960s and was the highlight of many a listener’s week. At 8:30 pm on Sunday 26th February Ali will be joined by other actors and two musicians to recreate two stories, both by Lucille Fletcher; “The Furnished Floor“;  and the other, probably the most famous of these radio plays, the 1943 story “Sorry Wrong Number“.

This classic tale creates for us Manhattan in the 1940s. A lonely bedridden woman (originally played by Agnes Moorehead, and later by Barabara Stanwyck in the 1948 movie) is alone in her apartment; she attempts to phone her husband and gets a crossed line, overhearing what appears to be a murder plot. She panics but is unable to get anyone to take her seriously, frustrated by other’s perceptions of her as a lonely neurotic  woman who is just imagining things. Check out the audio excerpt: ” Hello Operator “.

Ali Silver - Actor and Director

New York apartment dwellers will identify with the play’s central character and perhaps also with the disbelief she faces as she tries to get help. Radio has a great capacity to enable our imagination to enter a frightening situation, more so than live theatre or movies. To stage a radio play “live” stands between live theatre and radio and as such offers us the advantage of real, seen, faces without the distraction of settings, costumes and make-up. It challenges actors to credibly change character with their voice, whilst standing there with just a script and minimal props.

James Reiser - Actor

The Carriage House context, being small and almost domestic in its ambiance, lends an intimacy to the performance. It is physically separate from the bar with no distractions from sport or customers’ conversations. The fire offers dramatic lighting and the physical immediacy of the actors brings an added dimension of intimate intensity in this genuinely scary play.

Ali Silva is a very talented actor and director. This is no amateur production, the actors: Ali, James Reiser, Sherri Quaid (also Foley artist and sound effects) and Gus Rodriguez and musicians Charlie Ruah and Concetta Abbatte are all expert in their craft. Gus also produced the event and the complete production will be available as a Podcast, engineered by Anthony Cekay (http://anthonycekay.com/).

Gus Rodriguez - Actor and Producer

Concetta Abbate (violin)

Sherri Quaid - Actor, Sound FX & Foley Artist

Charlie Rauh (guitar)

If you’re prepared to be scared on a dark Sunday night and to be chilled in front of a roaring fire, come down to the LIC Bar at 8:30pm on Sunday February 26th;

Performance to a packed audience


This was a very popular performance – the carriage house was full and people were listening  from the other side of the doors!

You can now hear a podcast of the performance at http://page4music.com/2012/03/18/podcast-ghost-stories-by-lucille-fletcher/

Catch them again on Sunday 25th March :


Stretching out those “Sticky Fingers”

The Rolling Stones 1971 “Sticky Fingers” album was memorable, not just for its music but also for a Warhol-conceived record sleeve that outraged the more conservative elements of society by its blatant sexually provocative focus on Warhol-star Joe Dallesandro’s bulging crotch and real zip fly that hid white bulging briefs on the inner cover with “THIS PHOTOGRAPH MAY NOT BE–ETC.” stamped across the pale innocence of the tantalising elastic waistband. This was a triumph of LP sleeve design that stands as a supreme example of an artform that cannot be reproduced in a plastic CD jewel case, or an mp3 download. This was also a triumph of the Stones’ position as provocateurs, as symbols of rebellion, and reflected the not-too-hidden sexual messages in the R&B music they played. After all, what does “rocking and rolling” really mean?

Gus Rodriguez brought along his original copy of the album to display as a backdrop to a celebration of this classic album in a tribute show at LIC Bar performed on February 8th. Gus, together with Neil Nunziato have formed a new venture “Planet QNS” which gathered  a group of highly skilled musicians to perform the whole “StickyFingers” album along with a selection of other favourite Stones songs. The tightly-packed bar danced and sang along to tracks that most of the audience would have heard on their parents record players (perhaps sneaking the album cover in the middle of the night to play with the zip fly on the front?  – “does it really work?”)

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo

This was the third tribute show that I have attended at this venue, “Ziggy Stardust” and “John Lennon” being the others. All have brought in a range of singers to perform with a kind of house band in support. In my view this was the most successful so far. Jefferson Thomas (http://www.jeffersonthomas.com) is a highly competent, thoroughly professional musician who has performed previously in LIC and is well known around the wider NYC area, as well as further afield. He acted as musical director for this show and pulled together a band that consisted of Neil Nunziato on drums, Anthony Cekay on sax, Anthony Rizzo on guitar, Tony Oppenheimer on Bass, Tim Lykins on percussion with Jeff himself on keyboard, guitars, harp and vocals. This was a TIGHT band that supported and performed convincing interpretations of the material that made you sit up and listen to intricate weavings of instrumentation and skilful playing, especially from guitarist  Anthony Rizzo.

This was not a night of singers getting up,  doing one song and disappearing. This was a community of performers who are well used to supporting each other, especially in this LIC Bar environment – a kind of “home” venue for many. So we saw singers like Shelly Bhushan, Silbin Sandovar, Billy Ryan and Little Embers in the spotlight and in support. We also saw talented singers Chris Campion, Meika Pauley, Natalie Mishel Martinez, Alice Texas, Kiri Jewell and P.J.O’Connor perform in a variety of styles that offered a range of personal interpretations.

I have not heard Shelly Bhushan enough. She has a great soul voice and energetic presence that would spark any musical setting. She sang by herself (“I got the blues”) and with Little Embers. These two perform regularly together and form part of a group of  four women (with Michele Riganese and Jeneen Terrana) who will be resident at LIC Bar for the month of May. (That doesn’t mean they will be living there! just every Monday night at 10pm).

Shelly Bhushan and Little Embers

I saw this  group of four women perform at the Living Room last year and there they called themselves the “Queens of Queens”. This is a group of performers who are rising stars in their own right as solo performers and writers. Check out Little Embers’ song “Beacon” in Mike Birbiglia’s new film, Sleepwalk With Me, which just won the Best of NEXT Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival – http://www.thisamericanlife.org/sleepwalk-with-me; also Shelly at “The Battle of the Boroughs at the Green Space on March 2nd; Michele’s latest EP, http://micheleriganese1.bandcamp.com/ , a nice video of her song “Western belle” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze5ojwQE7Bk and her creative, and  brilliant project http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjRAR1FqM90&feature=youtu.be&a; and  Janeen’s latest album http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jeneenterrana. I was impressed at the Living Room (see my blog), look forward to their residency and sense that they have a great future as they perform more and take more risks with their musical arrangements.

Meika Pauley singing “Bitch”

Mieka Pauley gave a characteristically energetic and expressive performance of “Bitch”. Mieka was one of the first artists I heard at LIC bar in their summer Sunday series last year. I was impressed by her confidence as a singer, songwriter and performer. Watch out for her in the summer, with an expected release of her eagerly awaited album “The Science of Making Choices”.

I was also impressed by Natalie Mishell Martinez. She came on to front up a great performance of “Sympathy for the Devil”. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz51KCFizFc&list=UU-FMSFBck-q6-Cn5yjSzG6w&index=1&feature=plcp. I had recently seen Mick Jagger’s performance of this in the TV special-that-was-never-released “Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus”, also clips of the track being rehearsed. This performance by Natalie never tried to out-Jagger Jagger, an impossible feat. She added her own take on the track, never understating and, with the band and backup singers Mieka Pauley, Kiri Jewell, Silbin Sandovar and P.J.O’Connor offering what was really a high point of the show.

Alice Schneider / “Alice Texas”

“Sister Morphine” is a powerful song, deserving a  sensitive performance that will connect with the listener. I enjoyed Alice Schieder’s sensitive and soulful interpretation, moments of intimate stillness in a what was a highly charged rock and roll evening. Like some of the artists in the show Alice was new to me. I enjoyed her style and hope to catch her again.

Similarly Kiri Jewell, who sang “Wild Horses”, a song I seem to be hearing everywhere – from a memorial gathering (“lets do some living after we die”), to Megan Kerper at LIC Bar the previous week. Kiri gave a spirited performance of this song that gave it an intensity that underlined its highly personal lyrics.

Chris Campion opens the show with “Brown Sugar”

I’m aware that I haven’t said much about the male singers at this Stones tribute, and I wonder why. Is the comparison with Jagger too hard to pull away from when the cover is done by a guy. Who could move like Mick? Who could express with their body the way he does? As far as moving goes Chris Campion started the show well, performing “Brown Sugar”. He’s a guy who is used to fronting a band; he leads Knockout Drops, a New York indie rock band, as well as being the author of “Escape from Bellevue – A Memoir of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Recovery, and Redemption” (http://www.knockoutdrops.com).

P.J.O’Connor doesn’t move much. “Moonlight Mile”, doesn’t demand this. It’s a song that rolls along like a covered wagon and owes more to “Astral Weeks” than to “Exile on Main Street”.  This needed a straightforward performance with good support, and received it, especially when the song rises and falls at the end. A challenge to sing effectively and a challenge well met by P.J.

Jefferson Thomas “You Got to Move”

Jefferson Thomas gave a cool rendition of the only song on Sticky Fingers that was a cover: Mississippi  Fred McDowell’s “You Got to Move”, a classic blues song that has been covered by bands from Aerosmith to Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

This was a highly charged and well produced tribute to one of the greatest albums of the rock and roll era. These tributes continue with a St. Patrick’s Day tribute to Van Morrison. Saturday 17th March from 7 until 9.

These are usually FREE performances by musicians who, for the most, try to make a living from their craft. Tribute performances like these involve a lot of preparation and many players. Usually a tip jar is passed around that often is not a lot of reward for the people concerned. If you’ve enjoyed the night remember how much you have paid for your drinks and compare that with how much you put in the tip jar, then just think about it…………….

If you really liked the music, check it on Spotify and then go somewhere like cdbaby and buy the tracks, or the whole album – in real plastic, or download.

Little did the Rolling Stones know at the time that one day you could download “Stick Fingers” as a Zip file ….. (sorry about that, “when it’s in you it’s got to come out” – John lee Hooker)

Stick Fingers House Band with Billy Ryan and Silbin Sandovar