Joel Frahm at Jazz At The Joint article @ All About Jazz

Live Review

Courtesy Joel Frahm Music

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Joel Frahm
Jazz At The Joint
North Little Rock, AR
July 11, 2022

Synergy. The word was first used in 1600, derived from the Greek συνεργός (“synergos”), which means “to work together” or “to cooperate,” with the corollary that the results of this “cooperation” afford an output greater than the sum of its individual parts. When jazz musicians of a certain shared caliber come together, synergy is a given, achieved and evidenced in their performance.

Synergy is what guitarist

Ted Ludwig

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Ted Ludwigthe sweet and merry host of Jazz At The Jointshares with his crack rhythm section of bassist

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Joe Vick and drummer

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Brian Brown, together as a group sneaking up on 20 years. The Trio has played house band for Jazz At the Joint since its inauguration in 2018. In that capacity, the band has combined its collective talent with that the likes of: guitarist Tom Guarna bassist Nat ReevesArkansas, native and vocalist extraordinaire Rosanna Vitrobassist Peter Slavov… and, that is just so far this year!

In jazz performance, synergy is not a luxury, it is a requirement. So, what can elevate an already superb product? Rapport. And that is something Ludwig shared with tenor saxophonist

Joel Frahm
Joel Frahm

saxophone, tenor

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Joel Frahm by the bushel basket. A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Frahm began his saxophone studies early, continuing them after his family moved to West Hartford, Connecticut, where the saxophone met pianist

Brad Mehldau

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Brad Mehldau while attending high school together. After graduating the Manhattan School Of Music and interning with

Betty Carter
Betty Carter

voice / vocals
1929 – 1998

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Betty Carter‘s Jazz Ahead workshop, Frahm made is debut as a recording leader on 1998’s Sorry, No Decaf (Palmetto) and for the next 25 years has been a sought out saxophonist for a variety of artists, including:

Carol Morgan
Carol Morgan

trumpet
b.1968

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Carol Morgan (Post Cool Vol. 1 The Night Shift (Self Produced, 2017), Blue Glass Music (Blue Bamboo Music, 2011)));

Beat Kaestli
Beat Kaestli

voice / vocals

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Beat Kaestli ( Invitation (Chesky Records, 2010); and

Irene Atman
Irene Atman

voice / vocals
b.1968

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Irene Atman and

Daniela Schachter
Daniela Schachter

piano
b.1972

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Daniela Schachter (Meet At The Intersection Of Joel Frahm (2009)).

Frahm’s rapport with Ludwig necessarily extended to Ludwig’s near Bill-Evans-Trio level band, a fact apparent from the opening “Jeannine,” Duke Pearson’s durable standard (also used to kick off the Nat Reeves show). There was no gradual warming to the occasion, the band hit the ground running, hotter than a two dollar pistol. Frahm brought the fire from the beginning. Typical of a classic blowing session, Frahm presented the “head,” the opening melody before soloing for several chorus and then taking a seat and allowing Ludwig to have his turn, rising to the occasion. Vick followed with his typically erudite statement before the band traded eights with drummer brown. The coda reprised the head and the quartet wrapped it up. This is what jazz on the bandstand is all about.

Following “Jeannine,” the ballad “How Deep Is The Ocean” rather than reducing the momentum, consolidated it, establishing a dramatic and progressive tempo. It was Ludwig who showed out, peppering his solo with 32nd and 64th-note runs, quoting “Softly, As In The Morning Sunrise” during the eights, turning over the bar-walking coda to Frahm, who waxes funk and blues.

Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck

piano
1920 – 2012

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Dave Brubeck‘s “In Your Own Sweet Way” and the tenor warhorse “The Girl From Ipanema” followed this successful formula, leading to

Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter

saxophone
b.1933

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Wayne Shorter‘s angular “Yes And No” and the intermission.

The typical Jazz At The Joint performance consists of a long opening set, followed by a brief intermission and then an abbreviated closing set. The band returned to open with

Horace Silver
Horace Silver

piano
1928 – 2014

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Horace Silver‘s “The Jodie Grind,” picking up where they left off in the opening set. Then things slowed way down and Frahm delivered his best playing of the evening on

Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn

piano
1915 – 1967

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Billy Strayhorn‘s “Chelsea Bridge” where the saxophonist summoned both

Stan Getz
Stan Getz

saxophone, tenor
1927 – 1991

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Stan Getz and

Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon

saxophone, tenor
1923 – 1990

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Dexter Gordon through the smokey lens of

Ben Webster
Ben Webster

saxophone, tenor
1909 – 1973

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Ben Webster. Sumptuous and plush, Frahm brought his “A” game, setting the stage for an reading of

Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton

piano
1934 – 2013

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Cedar Walton“”Bolivia,” the fastest and most complex piece of the night. Using

Miles Davis
Miles Davis

trumpet
1926 – 1991

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Miles Davis‘s “Freddie Freeloader” and the theme, Ludwig introduced the band, ending the concert on a cool note.

The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse, located in North Little Rock’s historic Argenta Arts District is a cabaret performance space helmed by Sarah and Adam Farrell. It plays home to Jazz At the Joint (every second Monday) and on this evening experienced the best crowd of the year so far. Ludwig welcomes New York guitarist

Peter Bernstein
Peter Bernstein

guitar
b.1967

” data-original-title=”” title=””>Peter Bernstein next as we begin to bring an end to a frightfully hot Arkansas summer.

Setlist

Jeannine (Duke Pearson); How Deep Is The Ocean (Irving Berlin); In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck); The Girl From Ipanema (Antônio Carlos Jobim); Yes And No (Wayne Shorter); Intermission; The Jodie Grind (Horace Silver); Chelsea Bridge (Billy Strayhorn); Bolivia (Cedar Walton); Freddie The Freeloader (Miles Davis).

Musicians

Featured Artist: Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Ted Ludwig: guitar; Joe Vick: bass; Brian Brown: drums.

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