JAZZ FEST 2013, Day 6: Ron reviews Goldings-Stewart-Bernstein, Aaron Goldberg Trio, Jacob Karlzon & Viktoria Tolstoy


Goldings-Stewart-Bernstein took the stage to a full house at Montage Wednesday night and proceeded to play a couple of original songs. The band is, of course, B3 organist Larry Goldings, drummer Bill Stewart, and guitarist Peter Bernstein, three top players on the national jazz scene.

The tunes, by Goldings and Bernstein respectively, gave them an opportunity to showcase their prowess on their instruments. Especially Bernstein, who played an excellent solo on “Roach,” Golding’s tune dedicated to the great drummer, Max Roach.

But it wasn’t until they took on Stevie Wonder’s “Big Brother” that the sparks started to fly. There is a tradition for organ trios (like Charles Earland’s) to take pop tunes and make them swing. But “Big Brother” already swings, and it was the perfect vehicle for Goldings and Bernstein to cut loose on.

There’s another way of looking at the Aaron Goldberg Trio, a group that delivered a fine set at Max of Eastman Place: It’s the Joshua Redman Quartet without Joshua Redman. That’s why Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson are such a tight unit.

It even played a tune Goldberg wrote dedicated to Redman. The title, “Shed,” implies that Redman practices a lot. (It’s short for the “woodshed,” where one presumably goes to practice. Who knows where jazz lingo comes from, but this term’s been around a long time.)

The group played two Thelonious Monk tunes, but its most striking composition was one left untitled. It was a beautiful, delicate ballad, featuring some wonderful arco bass playing by Rogers and sensitive drumming by Hutchinson.

I arrived at the Lutheran Church to find that two members of the Jacob Karlzon Trio were stuck at an airport somewhere. The trio is now scheduled to play Thursday night in place of Jacob Karlzon & Viktoria Tolstoy, who took the stage tonight instead.

I’m more attracted to jazz instrumentalists than singers, but I have to admit Tolstoy can put over a song. Her selections ranged from Peter Gabriel to Herbie Hancock. I still found myself appreciating the instrumental solos Karlzon would take in the middle of each song. Maybe it was because he only had a minute or two, but each solo was a tour de force.

My favorite composition it played was by one of my favorite songwriters, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was one of the most beautiful parts of “Swan Lake,” but with new lyrics.

Thursday I’ll start the night with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane at Kilbourn Hall. I’ll then head over to Christ Church to catch pianist Zoe Rahman, and I’m looking forward to hearing Rudresh Mahanthappa’s GAMAK at the Little Theatre.