Section Jazz Debuts at the Chubby Pickle
Our member venue Chubby Pickle hosted this month’s Jazz Café with producer and JSJBF board member Joseph Vincent Riggio at the sound board. Section Jazz may be a relatively new band to the scene but this quartet is made up of four very experienced musicians who have known and worked with each other on many gigs, and with artists ranging from the great Ray Charles to Regina Belle and the Vanguard Orchestra. That chemistry was on full display this evening with the highly nuanced sounds of Mike Hogan, whether playing his ES335 or the seldom seen Gibson Chet Atkins model. Coupled with the expressive piano of Jonathan Benjamin, and the rhythm section of Paul Diloia on upright bass and band leader Mike DeSimone on drums, this quartet of seasoned musicians led us through a musical journey through many styles of jazz with highlights of swing, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban beats.
The evening was comprised of three sets, all of which contained excellent renditions of jazz classics. “Jeannine,” first recorded by Oscar Brown Jr. and written with Duke Pearson was done in an arrangement that allowed the individual band members to display their considerable skills while staying within the framework of the song. This would be displayed throughout the evening, and in my estimation is the hallmark of all good jazz bands. My dear friend, the great guitarist Jerry Topinka, always told me a soloist should never get lost in the moment to where they have trouble finding their way back to the song, and they didn’t. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Children’s Games,” perfectly suited the style of Mike’s Chet Atkins guitar. Tad Dameron’s “Lady Bird” closed out the first set with a flourish.
Hank Mobley’s “This I dig Of You” opened the second set and contained a wonderful piano interlude by Jonathan Benjamin. The architect of “St. Thomas,” Sonny Rollins, would have enjoyed listening to this version of his Virgin Island nursery song, derived from the traditional English song “The Lincolnshire Poacher,” which his mother used to sing to him. “Dreamsville,” a lovely ballad, originally written for the TV detective series “Peter Gunn,” slowed down the pace. After talking about the difficulty of playing Chick Corea’s “Spain,” leader Mike DeSimone and the band launched into an extended tour de force of this composition which received the biggest crowd reaction of the evening.
The final set included another Jobim gem, “Agua De Beber” which could have only sounded better if the recently deceased Astrud Gilberto was on vocals. The song “Unit 7” which Mike played drums on with the great Oscar Peterson was a lesson of swing at its finest. His playing continued to propel the song “Recada” which had a great beat. The night ended with an excellent rendition of the song “Secret Love,” made famous by Doris Day. It was a most enjoyable night of jazz standards.