Experienced Paul Winter Sextet plays with maturity
Jazz bands often get better with age, but the Paul Winter Sextet accomplishes that feat with maturity.
The sextet began a two-night stay at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side Nov. 8 with a concert that was a tribute to the Winter group of 1962.
But that tribute is being offered by a band that is far better than the original one. It only makes sense. The 1962 group was made up of college kids that did a State Department tour and became the first jazz band to play at the White House.
This band is made up of a Winter, with 50 years experience behind him, and jazz veterans such as trumpeter Marvin Stamm and baritone saxophone giant Howard Johnson.
They played much if the same music as 50 years ago, but played it with more skill. It is easy to compare the two. Winter recently released “Count Me In,” a recording of the band from 1962 and ‘63. When the band played “Bells and Horns” at the guild, Stamm's trumpet and Johnson's sax gave the piece a sharper edge than did the sax of Les Rout and trumpet of Dick Whitsell in 1962.
The concert at the guild was a pleasant show, but the strictly defined numbers gave it an almost too-planned feeling. Rather than being built around songs that encouraged great forays into improvisation, this concert was focused more on short, nicely structured numbers.The arrangements on tunes such as “Them Nasty Hurtin' Blues” were inventive and well done, but they also kept the songs from having too much freedom. Solos were well played, but rather restrained.
In some ways, the tunes were mindful of the days of the short recordings that filled vinyl albums: generally aimed at radio play.
But this band featured such good players that the numbers always were good to listen to. The program ranged from Brazilian numbers such as “Insensantez” and a ”Longing for Bahia,” which were indicative of the ‘62 band discovering this South American music on their tour.
One of the best tunes of the evening was “New York 19,” which Winter explained referred to a culturally busy part of the city and its postal area before ZIP codes gave it a 10019 billing. It is a gorgeous ballad by pianist John Lewis that featured a nice arrangement and a great Johnson solo.
Winter played the first half entirely on alto sax, but brought out his more familiar soprano for the second and songs sucd as “With Malice Toward None.”
The concert did not create the most intriguing evening, but its quality kept it from being disappointing.
(The concert will be repeated 8 p.m. Nov. 9. Admission is $45. Details: 412-322-0800 or www.mcgjazz.org.)
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
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.
- Review: Comedy team of Igudesman and Joo brings wit, slapstick to symphony
- DVD reviews: ‘The Giver,’ ‘The Expendables 3’ and ‘What If’
- North Hills native survives another week on ‘The Voice’
- Pittsburgh band The Gathering Field celebrates 20 years with new album
- Bluegrass jam sessions bring out all types of musicians, fans
- James Taylor coming to Consol on Nov. 29
- Pittsburgh Symphony performance gives new meaning to ‘comedy classic(al)’
- Jane Monheit swings in tribute to Judy Garland