Friday May 11, 2012
Benefit Concerts at Blue Note, Dizzy’s Fund Jazz Causes
By: Russ Musto
“Nobody said it was going to be easy, and nobody was right,” declared Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Programming Director Todd Barkan, quoting the witty insight of the late pianist John Hicks into the life of a jazz musician. Barkan was introducing the Playing Our Parts concert benefiting the Jazz Foundation of America, which for more than 20 years has made the lives of countless jazz artists easier in times of need. The annual show, which has earned tens of thousands of dollars for the foundation’s Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund during the past five years, was instituted to raise money for the medical care of ailing bassist Dennis Irwin, who passed away on March 10, 2008, only hours before that evening’s poignant affair. Since then, saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist John Scofield, close friends of Irwin, have joined forces in a yearly event at Jazz at Lincoln Center that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to a foundation program that provides free cancer screening for musicians.
This year’s April 24 event got off to a scorching start with Lovano and Scofield, along with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Lewis Nash, firing on all four cylinders for the guitarist’s funky “Wabash III” and the tenorist’s gritty “Big Ben.” Playing with a tight, unified sound, the quartet set the tone for the artfully assembled evening. The music flowed on beautifully with the addition of trumpeter/flugelhornist Eddie Henderson to the foursome on a stirring rendition of “Jitterbug Waltz” that danced with grace and strength.
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