Sample, Wilson and Nash at their best on North Side
Joe Sample, Steve Wilson and Lewis Nash have been surrounded by many talented colleagues in their careers.
But in a concert March 16 at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side, they proved the best ways to hear them are in much leaner settings.
Sample, best known for his time with the Crusaders, played solo piano, while Wilson and Nash performed in a duo in sets that were wonderful displays of their talents.
Each performer was able to show off his own skills and Nash and Wilson also displayed great understanding of each other. There were times Nash was hitting his cymbals for accents precisely as Wilson was striking a note.
Sample's set also was filled with bits of chatter between songs in which he would explain his thoughts about a particular piece or its role in music, often with a caustic or sarcastic touch.
While the pianist played three of his own tunes, both sets were filled with well known numbers that were given highly individual approaches. Sample, for instance, opened with a version of Scott Joplin's “The Entertainer” that was far removed form what the ragtime maven wrote. He played it much slower with focus on the rich and full notes of his left hand. It was not the bright, whimsical piece that is often played; it was more dramatic and rousing.
Likewise, Wilson and Nash did Duke Ellington's “The Mooche” in a way that reflected his band styling, but was vastly different because of its size.
Sample displayed a powerful technique at the piano. Hearing him at a grand piano in a concert setting is far different from the soulful work for which he is well known. His version of “Misty,” for instance, was a dramatic exploration of the song he said always played a key role in winning talent shows as a young player.
Wilson and Nash shared their remarkable skills. The saxophonist showed great, fluid technique and a quickness that let him explore demanding passages in Thelonious Monk's “Four in One.” His tone is always pure, avoiding the breathy raspiness that seems a part of some player's styles.
Nash is a phenomenal drummer, explaining why he shows up so often on recordings and in bands. He is particularly adept at his use of cymbals, always finding new ways of using them. At one point in “Jitterbug Waltz,” his use of his brushes lowered the sound level of his percussive exploration, but maintained a high aggressiveness.
These three players really don't need anyone else around them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Marsalis, Greene deliver albums of beauty, depth
- Musical box sets run the gamut this holiday season
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra to hit audience with whole ‘Attic’
- Brickman happily adds to pile of Christmas albums
- A&E notebook: Mandolin Orchestra to play Christmas concert in McCandless