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Eddie Gómez Introduces Three Pianists at Iridium

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Eddie Gómez Introduces
Three Pianists of the Next Generation
Recording on
Manfred Knoop, President
Eddie Gómez on Bass
Mark Kramer on Piano
Gene Jackson on Drums

Werner “Vana” Gierig on Piano
(See a Review of Vana Gierig’s TWINZ Records CD)
Chris Lightcap on Bass
Adriano Santos on Brazilian Percussion
Gene Jackson on Drums

Fernando Otero on Piano
(See a Review of Fernando Otero’s TWINZ Records CD)
John Di Cesare on Bass
Will Vinson on Saxophone
Wolfram Koessel on Cello
Gene Jackson on Drums

Andy Ezrin on Piano
Ben Wittman on Drums
Paul Nowinski on Bass

Iridium Jazz Club
Kevin Williams, Manager
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC
Press Contact:

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 15, 2005

A high point of the summer jazz season was a three-set evening at Iridium tonight, as famed bassist and TWINZ recording artist, Eddie Gómez (a former collaborator with Chick Corea and Bill Evans), formally introduced “three pianists of the next generation”. As it happens, this magazine has more than once reviewed two of the pianists, Vana Gierig, from Germany, and Fernando Otero, from Argentina, both of whom are also represented by TWINZ. Gómez began the evening with Troubled Times, accompanied by the very seasoned Mark Kramer on piano, Gene Jackson on drums, and Chris Lightcap on bass. They followed with an unusual interpretation of Ravel’s Pavane, with its melancholia and mesmerizing theme. The bass bow was used to provide a heart-rending refrain.

When Vana Gierig, a vibrant new piano presence in the international jazz scene, took the stage, he continued Gómez’ concept of reaching the Iridium crowd with anecdotes. Vana Gierig has the ability to compose music that’s memorable, melodic, and momentous. He asked the audience to participate with percussive handclaps, as a Brazilian samba sizzled with tambourine, shakers, and steel drums. Gierig has a powerful presence, and the echoing themes were electrified by Adriano Santos’ and Gene Jackson’s percussive flourishes. Gierig took steel drums at the piano and added a long, three-drum riff with Santos and Jackson.

Low Features, from the CD A New Day, with dynamic, steady piano rhythms and long, luscious riffs, was followed by another CD track, Healing in Foreign Lands, soothing, mellow, and nurturing, transforming itself into a mellifluous mambo. Gómez and Kramer soon presented an unusual rendition of Sunrise, Sunset from their new TWINZ recording, Jazz Fiddler on the Roof. I Love Paris with five musicians, including Gierig on electric keyboard and Mark Kramer on piano, was abstract and unleashed.

When Gómez, Kramer, and Jackson opened the second set once again, they exuded a calm and comfortable demeanor, with a more daring and driven bass, as the crowd stayed on. Gómez’ bass overflowed with poignancy and daring dissonance. Fernando Otero, a serious and intense performer, warmly introduced himself, and his music fused classical and jazz with Argentinean motifs, a Buenos Aires Bartók/Brubeck. Otero reclaimed his intensity and tore through themes of mesmerizing, percussive jazz that hint at the roots of torrid tango. This music takes the listener on a wild, imaginary ride, with occasional sightings of scintillating dance.

Otero’s music moved from melancholy to frenetic to mournful with a highly sophisticated edge. This was not glitz, but genuine jazz, as Di Cesare on bass and Koessel on cello provided undulating, elongated passages on strings, plus surprise solos on Vinson’s soaring saxophone. One piece, called Contradiction, led by Koessel’s very resonant cello, was developed by Vinson with an atonality that blended with Otero’s steady piano and Koessel’s and Di Cesare’s cello and bass. Otero’s repertoire for this set also included Sublevados, Prayer, In Appearance, From Now On, Bill Evans’ Time Remembered, and other pieces from his album and piano portfolio.

Once again, the team of Gómez, Kramer, and Jackson re-appeared, and the audience was drawn into a contrasting mood with a deliberately slow version of Sabbath Prayer, also from Fiddler. Kramer and Gómez took turns with the theme, with jazz-infused images from the show’s impressionistic scene. When Otero returned, at the electric piano, with Jackson, Gómez, Kramer, Di Cesare, Lightcap, and Vinson, Iridium was in for a rare treat, with duo pianos and duo basses. Vinson has the ability to enhance the ensemble with his clear, soothing sax, without overwhelming the ongoing themes. You Must Believe in Spring and Missing You both featured Gómez’ bass and Vinson’s saxophone in rapturous, late night style.

The third set began quickly, and Andy Ezrin played Silly Little Jazz to a skipping, swinging beat. Meandering, echoing themes energized this challenging, three-set event. Other songs, such as Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking and Stolen Moments featured Gómez and Kramer in improvisational riffs. To hear much of tonight’s music from all featured musicians, click here to order their latest recordings: I look forward to re-listening to my copies of these engaging TWINZ CD’s.

Heike Bachmann, TWINZ Records, Chris Lightcap, Vana Gierig, Gene Jackson, Adriano Santos
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Heike Bachmann, Fernando Otero, Vana Gierig
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Fernando Otero and Birgit Knoop, TWINZ Records
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Eddie Gomez, Birgit Knoop, Mark Kramer
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at