This is a delightful straight-ahead CD by alto saxophonist Julien Hucq. He has assembled an excellent small group that includes veteran performers Claudio Roditi, trumpet, and pianist George Cables. Completing the group are bassist Marcos Varela and drummer Victor Lewis.
At the time of this writing, I was sad to learn of the recent death of Roditi.
There are 44 minutes of delightful music on this CD. Two of the compositions are by Hucq — “Light” and “X,” Two are by familiar composers, “Light Blue” by Thelonious Monk and “Here’s that Rainy Day” by lyricist Johnny Burke and composer Jimmy Van Heusen. And, each performer is adequately show-cased.
Lest one think that this is a “one shot” recording for Hucq, this is indeed his first CD produced in the U.S. but he has six previous CDs in Europe. He’s a Belgian native who has been performing in the States since 2012. In conversation with him, I learned that he and Roditi had a working relationship in that Hucq has performed in Roditi’s group and there was somewhat of mentor-mentee relationship as well. And there was a similar relationship between bassist Marcos Varela and the elder pianist George Cables.
For more information, see Hucq’s several YouTube offerings and also his bio on the internet.
This past week (Jan. 7-10), I was able to attend the Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans! And what a conference!
From the moment you walk in, you are deciding what clinic or concert do I go to? Tom Latenser and I took the Northwest Florida State College Jazz Ensemble to this event. The jazz ensemble played there the last time it was in New Orleans. This time we went to watch.
Here is a list of players we checked out: Dave Stryker, The Brubeck Brothers, Tia Fuller, Sean Jones, Chucho Valdes, Ricky Sebastian, Howard Levy, Victor Wooten, Matt Wilson, Rosana Eckert, Bria Skonberg, Terrell Stafford, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Johnny Vidacovich, Rick Margitza, Tom “Bones” Malone, Dave Liebman, Adam Nussbaum and Gene Perla.
Exhausted yet? Try being there!
Also, we got to see past Pensacola JazzFest artists Mike Pellera and Bob Sheppard. On a very cool note, we got to hear the great Navy Commodores with Pensacola native Steve Williams playing his next-to-last performance before his retirement.
This is a conference not to be missed if you can ever get to one. You will remember it always!
I’m a jazz fan! I love jazz! It’s the best music in the world! I can be part of this! I am part of it!
However … I’m not going to come to this event … because …
That’s not jazz! That’s just loud noise! If I do come … I’m leaving after the giveaways!
Friends, we put the events on for you. The musicians put the programs together for you. Maybe you are not fans of all of the selections. Maybe you just don’t know. Look, I get it, it’s not what they play in town at the other weekly events. We are not trying to be the usual weekly event. We are a monthly experience, trying to give you a different perspective of what jazz is about. Try it with an open mind and ear … find the music in it. It’s there … really.
Pensacola is a happening jazz town … .we can be part of it … really.