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The Frank Wess Quintet and Curtis Brothers Quartet Light Up Dizzy's Club "Coca-Cola"
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The Frank Wess Quintet and Curtis Brothers Quartet Light Up Dizzy's Club "Coca-Cola"

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

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Frank Wess Quintet
www.frankwess.org
Celebrating Giants of the Tenor Sax

With:
Frank Wess on Tenor Sax and Flute
Greg Gisbert on Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Michael Weiss on Piano
Noriko Nueda on Bass
Winard Harper on Drums

After Hours:
Curtis Brothers Quartet
www.curtisbrothersmusic.com

With:
Zaccai Curtis on Piano
Lucques Curtis on Bass
Mauricio Herrera on Congas
Richie Barshay on Drums

At
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
NY, NY
212.258.9595
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Programming Director
Scott Thompson, Press


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 2, 2011


Once again Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola presented a marvelous double bill. It was opening night for the Frank Wess Quintet, and I caught the second set. Wess, born in Kansas City, played saxophone in the World War II Army Band and later with Count Basie’s Orchestra. He’s almost ninety, and he’s still going strong. He was on tenor sax and flute and brought with him Greg Gisbert on trumpet and flugelhorn, Michael Weiss on piano, Noriko Nueda on bass, and Winard Harper on drums. The quintet opened with Lerner and Loewe’s “On the Street Where You Live”, led by Wess with pulsating solos. Harper kept a swing beat going with cymbals and sticks, and Nueda played a classy, elegant bass. Soon Gisbert and Wess switched places, shifting the theme and its engaging variations. The piece ended with a harmonized finale à la New Orleans.

Wess’ composition, “Once Is Not Enough”, was introduced with his joke, and the whole band grabbed the theme. Sax and trumpet shifted themes again, before Weiss was showcased on piano. The tune was rambunctious and danceable, with the bass echoing punctuated rhythms. “Something Went Wrong”, composed by Wess and Hank Jones, found Wess on scintillating flute and Gisbert on muted trumpet. This was a fantastic retro sound. Weiss’ piano solo was improvisational and rapid, with fancy ornamentations, as Wess beat the time with his leg. When he returned to his flute, he played a transporting a cappella solo. “Body and Soul” appeared seamlessly, with thematic, piano-brass overlay. Soon the quintet was swinging, with soaring trumpet, and the song ended on a roll, with Nueda featured nicely.

The next piece, sounded like Cedar Walton’s, opened with Harper in the spotlight on racing drums. Gisbert took a break, and Wess took the theme. When Gisbert returned, piercing, propulsive sound ensued, enhanced by Weiss on flying keys. But, this was a showcase for Harper, who made the most of the moment with personality plus. Wess’ “Surprise Surprise” opened with Wess on sax and Gisbert on trumpet, then flugelhorn. At this point it was obvious that Gisbert is a pro, while Weiss turned the melody inside out at the keyboard. The packed Club showed the band their appreciation.

For the After Hours Set, the Curtis Brothers Quartet was on stage, with Zaccai Curtis on piano, Lucques Curtis on bass, Mauricio Herrera on congas, and Richie Barshay on drums. With a sweltering Cuban motif, the band opened with a mambo, filled with clavé. The first pieces of this late set were decidedly rhythmic and tropical. Herrera on congas and Barshay on drums were the core of the momentum. But it was the brother duo, Zaccai on piano and Lucques on bass, that generated the south of the border iconic sound. The band focused on its own compositions from its new album, Completion of Proof (Look for an upcoming CD review). One of those pieces was “Manifest Destiny” with jazzy Latin mixes and high piano energy. Fascinating variations brought out Zaccai’s piano chords to augment Lucques’ theme. Barshay’s quick, driven drums added sharp staccato, as the sound turned more and more abstract. The piano momentum was profound, while the rhythmic congas, bass, and drums went wild. The final piece returned to full Latin pulse, a mambo mania of sorts, with Lucques’ bass counting clavé and Zaccai’s piano speeding through the theme.



Frank Wess on Tenor Sax
Greg Gisbert on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Noriko Ueda on Bass
Greg Gisbert on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Frank Wess Quintet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Frank Wess and Greg Gisbert
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Frank Wess on Flute
Greg Gisbert on Trumpet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Michael Weiss on Piano
Noriko Ueda, Winard Harper
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Greg Gisbert, Frank Wess,
Michael Weiss
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Winard Harper, Noriko Ueda
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Frank Wess on Tenor Sax,
Greg Gisbert on Flugelhorn,
Michael Weiss on Piano
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



The Curtis Brothers Quartet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Zaccai Curtis on Piano
Mauricio Herrera on Congas
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Zaccai Curtis on Piano
Mauricio Herrera on Congas
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Lucques Curtis on Bass
Richie Barshay on Drums
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Todd Barkan, Programming Director,
and Desmond Prass, Asst. Manager,
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola,
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net