Pianist Joe Delaney's Wednesday night trio gig at Brew Babies in Cape Coral FL had some added firepower on May 7 when two very fine Boston-area musicians sat in. Delaney invited saxophonist Bob Bowlby to join the merriment, since he was in the Tampa area to visit his daughter. And trumpeter Trent Austin was in town visiting family. Fortunately, he brought his horn when dining at the restaurant with his parents.
Bowlby is a versatile and mega-talented jazz player who is in great demand in southern New England. The jazz world first took note of his talents when he joined Buddy Rich's big band in 1984. He was lead alto player and remained with the band as a featured soloist until Rich's death in 1987. He keeps busy these days in show bands, with a wide variety of jazz gigs, the Boston Pops and backing many top artists visiting the Boston area. The younger Austin has had similar success in the jazz and classical arenas. Both have worked with Delaney up north. (The pianist summers in southeastern Massachusetts).
Bowlby sat in for most of the night with the Delaney trio, with drummer Patricia Dean and bassist Vince Evans, shifting from his main axe, alto sax, to soprano sax or flute as best fit the song.
They dug into a playful version of Cherokee" when Austin joined the band, then he soloed on a spirited and stylistically wide-ranging take on Stardust," with Delaney seamlessly adding quotes from several other tunes. (Delaney has a knack for turning one tune into five or six other melodies before resolving back into the original.) Another evening highlight: the pianist's second-set opener: a lush exploration of “You Look Good To Me,” the Seymour Lefco-Clement Wells ballad that Oscar Peterson single-handedly turned into a jazz standard, much like Ahmad Jamal did with “Poinciana.”
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