By Edward Kliszus
Swinging big band music was hot in Manhattan this week with the Tony Kadleck Big Band at Birdland! When the Band began their set at the Birdland Jazz Club, we tapped our toes and jumped to a tasteful, tight, polished sound, solid rhythm section, cats burnin’ solos, and superb sophisticated arrangements by trumpeter and band leader Kadleck. The soul of jazz touched listeners through improvisation. Balance and sound were excellent, and the world-class musicians took care to listen and interact artistically. It’s a wonder the packed house could remain seated with the drive of the inspired rhythm and power of the Band.
One imagined the days of floors crowded with dancers swinging to the sounds of The Wolverines at the old Cinderella ballroom at 1500 Broadway with trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. There was also Reisenweber’s with its Crystal Room and Paradise Supper Club at Columbus Circle, or the King of Swing Bennie Goodman in Chicago at the Joseph Urban Room at the Congress Hotel before his renowned 1938 Carnegie Hall concert.
We shared high expectations for jazz at Birdland and got what we needed on a cool winter night. There’s hardly a better venue for jazz than Birdland, with its fantastic seating, dining, drinks, and staff. With an astounding provenance, Birdland remains the home of Charlie “Bird” Parker. You may recall that Birdland, formerly known as The Clique, renamed the club in Parker’s honor.
Kadleck began the evening playing in the trumpet section. It wasn’t long before he moved up front, leading the ensemble and thrilling everyone with his solid upper-range chops – reminders of Doc Severinsen, Bill Chase, and Lou Soloff. He announced the tunes and graciously introduced his band members with lavish praise and recognition. He thanked his audience and Birdland staff.
The tunes performed tonight were from Kadleck’s new Album “Sides.” We heard Herbie Hancock’s Driftin’, Bill Withers’s Use Me, Joe Henderson’s Recorda-Me and Caribbean Fire Dance, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, Paul McCartney’s Can’t Buy Me Love and Antônio Carlos Jobim’s Desifinado featuring guest trumpeter Marvin Stamm on Flugelhorn.
Tonight was indeed a celebration of great music and Kadleck’s new album, “Sides.” Here are the album’s musicians:
SAXES: Jon Gordon, Aaron Heick, David Mann, Jason Rigby, Charles Pillow, Andy Snitzer, Ada Rovatti, Dave Riekenberg, Greg Riley, TRUMPETS: Tony Kadleck, Greg Gisbert, Jon Owens, Mike Rodriguez, Marvin Stamm, Dylan Schwab, TROMBONES: Michael Davis, Keith O’Quinn, Alan Ferber, Marshall Gilkes, John Wheeler, Bruce Eidem, Randy Andos, Jennifer Wharton, GUITAR: Pete McCann, PIANO: Henry Hey, Mike Holober, BASS: David Finck, DRUMS: Jared Schonig, PERCUSSION: Meyer Horn, Paul Hannah, VIOLINS: Hiroko Taguchi (concertmaster), Entcho Todorov, Sean Carney, Whitney Lagrange VIOLAS: Monica Davis, Todd Low, CELLOS: Sarah Seiver, Alisa Horn, DOUBLE BASS: Pete Donovan, ALTO FLUTES: Janet Axelrod, Aaron Heick, FRENCH HORN: Shelagh Abate
Birdland Jazz Club
315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
For reservations, call (212) 581-3080
For information or tickets, go to www.BirdlandJazz.com.