The beauty of having my blog is the ability to put out there things that have impacted me, or influenced me personally and professionally. In this case, I have to share some about the back to back to back jazz I saw last week -- each performer fabulous and distinct. So, in my humble opinion, do your ears and your brain a favor by checking out the following, if you haven't already...and again, if you are already wise enough to be familiar with these artists:
Sachal Vasandani: Last week there was no way I was going to miss my favorite new jazz singer -- -- at his album release celebration at Dizzy's. I can't stand how much I love this guys tones. And it's not just me.
While his self-penned "Royal Eyes" has stayed in my head for days, a stranger who wanted to catch some jazz while in town was seated at our table. At the end of the gig I asked him what he thought of Sachal and he said, "That's the best version of "In my Solitude" I ever heard." I'd been thinking the same thing. And while Sachal worked it on "Old Black Magic," he's just so smooth that after only a couple of listens his original songs start to sound like old standards. The first time I heard Sachal was also the first time I heard Gerald Clayton, maybe two or three years back at a showcase at the Steinway Store during the days of IAJE. I was stunned. I think he was maybe 23 then. Gerald performed again at the teeny but serious listening space, Jazz Gallery on Halloween. I saw him there with Roy Hargrove a while back. Now Gerald, with his new debut album, Two Shade, can be the headliner too.
Right now, though, he's off in Europe for a couple of weeks with Gretchen Perlato. The second he's back, go see this wunderkind. And he's a nice guy on top of it.
Maybe that's because he takes after one of the dearest people I know -- his dad, world-class jazz bassist John Clayton. If you want to weep, listen to him bow Jobim's "How Insensitive." If you want to laugh, my old favorite is his classic version of Keter Betts' "Walkin' Bass." But his Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra did it again. Stunned first timers, and confirmed the smarts of people who already follow CHJO, at this week's Champions of Jazz Benefit from WBGO. Not only did John's orchestra co-leaders Jeff Hamilton on drums and brother Jeff Clayton on sax do what they do so well, but they were in more amazing company. First they brought out the evening's honoree, Paquito D'Rivera, who was completely charming. I'd never heard him -- that I know of. But I'm sure his clarinet was on tracks of some of the albums I've heard, since he has 9 Grammys! Then, they brought out more of the old geniuses: singers Ernie Andrews,
He made us ALL feel like "Lucky So and So"s when he did that song...and Freddy Cole (yes as in Nat's brother) was class incarnate.
(Backstage after WBGO concert with Jon Hendricks, Freddy Cole, John Clayton. Nikki and Sachal. Everyone seems to know each other in the jazz world.)
And the new talent that sat it blew us all away, too. Stefon Harris on vibes with Milt Jackson flair, and unbelievably, the scatting and sound that came out of 15 year old Nikki Yanofsky was like she was channeling Ella. And I don't say that lightly.
But, all I can do is lead you to the music. You have to drink it in yourselves if you want. But thanks to this post, I can put it out there, and imagine you listening, and sharing IMHO.