Song - Artist - Album
Expressway to Your Heart - Amen Corner - The Mod Scene
This one caught me by surprise. It's just been one of those days/weeks/months/years, I guess (for all of us!).
In any event, the November calendar of events for The Buttonwood Tree, in Middletown, Connecticut was waiting in my inbox, yesterday. A quick perusal and one name, in particular, caught my eye (and ear): John Funkhouser Trio... this Saturday?!
If you missed them at the Jazz Underground last fall/winter/spring (I just remember it was cold), here's your chance to catch them in a great, intimate room.
You've probably heard or read my rantings to the effect that The Buttonwood is this great little community-arts-center-used-book-store-performance-space and many of you may have actually heeded those words. But if you have not, here's your chance to atone.
In case you've missed it, The Buttonwood somehow manages this great balancing act; showcasing up-and-comers or underrated local artists, while also attracting world-class acts.
Recently, for instance, "Mr. Isaac Allen" hosted a CD Release Party there for his debut CD "Don't Smoke" to an SRO crowd. Having heard about the upcoming show, yours truly hosted them on WHUS's "Fiat Flux". Isaac and company are a hybrid; up-and-comers with a world-class-in-the-making trajectory. If you missed them, you're rightly kicking yourself.
So that neither one of us has to endure such punishment in the future, please heed these words: Go see the John Funkhouser Trio at the Buttonwood, this Saturday.
I interviewed John on "Gravity & Chaos" prior to the Jazz Underground show. He's a soft-spoken, serious musician with an interesting background. He studied jazz piano, bass, and composition at the New England Conservatory; the famous, musician-as-artiste institution in Boston; but he now teaches at Berklee; a more musician-as-practitioner sort of place.
So... he can do it all: straight-ahead; avant-garde/free-improvisation; New Orleans; Afro-Cuban... And he does it with grace and style and taste. He, too, strikes this balance between lyricism and improvisational exploration; between in-your-head and in-your-heart. His most recent CD, "Time" is a great example of this balancing act. Not since (yeah) Brubeck's "Time Out", have I been struck by the achievment. "Time" has something for everyone: intricacies and complex forays for the insatiable abstractionists among us; beautiful melodies for the more romantically inclined; and a subtlety that still manages to satisfy the spirit.
The trio is beautifully rounded out by Mike Connors on drums and Greg Loughman on bass; though calling them 'sidemen' this late in my diatribe is a grave injustice. The extent to which they, again, subtly, complement John's piano and composition is something you'll just have to see and hear in person... and you can do this at The Buttonwood Tree this Saturday... from "this close".
See you there!