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About The Great Concert
Back in the 1970's, Dutch keyboard wizard Jasper van't Hof was the leader of Europe's foremost jazz-rock ensemble, Pork Pie. When this band was dissolved, three of its members stayed together to form an incredible trio without bass or drums: Jasper van't Hof, Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine. On their album Sleep My Love (1979 on CMP) the three of them showed a way of melodic interaction that thrilled their fans and impressed the critics. It was a record of timeless beauty by a trio of leaders who turned out to be a complete band. You never missed bass or drums.
Around 2006 Mariano, Catherine und van't Hof, by now legends in the history of European jazz, came together again and were booked as a trio for several concerts. One of these rare events took place in May 2008 at the Theaterhaus in Stuttgart, Germany, where Charlie Mariano had been a frequently featured artist over the years. Although he had to cancel several other concerts for health reasons in early 2008, Mariano played with all his power on that Stuttgart evening. On a double bill with Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, Charlie Mariano treated his saxophone like he had not done for a long time: with a strong, nearly furious intensity - eruptive, unrestricted, unrestrictable. His sound and expression were almost shattering. Philip Catherine's highly dynamic, melodically rounded, Django-colored singing on the guitar strings was a perfect counterpart. And last but not least there was Jasper van't Hof, the piano master: not just the third man on stage, but the orchestral bond that made this trio a full band - always surprising and original.
The concert on the 2nd of May, 2008 turned out to be a magic night - and by lucky chance it was recorded and now makes a perfect album. Sadly, Charlie Mariano left this world in June 2009 at the age of 85, yet The Great Concert catches that gorgeous alto sax player and great human being one last time at the height of his power and intuition. This release is dedicated to his memory.
You can also read AAJ Managing Editor John Kelman's Review of The Great Concert, published today at AAJ.