Thursday 21st February 8pm
Review by By Joe Egan
Jonathan Gee (piano) Joseph Lepore (bass) Gene Calderazzo (drums)
Many composers take inspiration from abstract ideas and concepts but very few can translate them into as solid and tangible a musical experience as pianist Jonathan Gee. Last Thursday saw him bring his ‘New York’ trio to the Bonnington Theatre as part of their current UK tour to promote recent album ‘Dragonfly’. The music they performed consisted equally of insightfully reinterpreted covers and expressive compositions. Every tune had a story to go with it, enthusiastically delivered by Gee who is quite the opposite of the introverted caricature of the contemporary jazz musician. One that particularly caught my attention was ‘Yellow Ball’, from Gee’s snooker based concept album ‘View From the Pocket’. I didn’t think it possible for music to convey such a specific idea as the two point ball you never want to get stuck behind but Gee managed it and with the help of drummer Gene Calderazzo and bassist Joseph Lepore developed it beyond a concept into a tangible feeling and sound.
The bright sound of drummer Gene Calderazzo (who is replacing Nasheet Waits on this tour) complimented Gee’s persona and the mood of the night well. Never did it get heavy, the energy of their playing was always lyrical and exciting rather than intense or uncomfortable. This was particularly evident in the two Monk compositions they performed, the opener ‘We See’ had feeling of a band who couldn’t wait to get playing and their interpretation of ‘Round Midnight’ was originally positive and bright.
Called back at the end by the ever enthusiastic Bonnington audience, Gee presented a fine vocal number, ‘My One and Only Love’ with a fluid and expressive solo by bassist Joseph Lepore breaking up Gee’s confident vocal delivery. Yet another way in which they proved they are much more than you'd expect of a piano trio.