Jeff Berman – vibraphone
Erik Lawrence – saxophones
Jeff Grubbs – bass
Dave Throckmorton – drums
The Reservoir of Jazz series takes place in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park every Sunday evening in the month of August. As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I really dig these free, family friendly jazz events held by the city throughout the summer at places like Riverview and Highland Parks. Even if the music is not always (and in fact rarely is) my favorite kind of jazz, they are always in the back of my mind as a possible activity on a nice Saturday or Sunday night whether alone or with the family. But, rarely, do I consider any of these shows as a MUST like I did on Sunday night.
I first saw Jeff Berman‘s quartet, entitled Blink, at James Street last year and loved every minute of it. That set, as well as this one, was full of original and mostly unfamiliar material that fell right into that perfect zone between traditional and adventurous. The lineup featured normal saxophonist Erik Lawrence, whereas at James Street, Ben Opie had filled in. So, I guess this was really my first time seeing the actual Blink perform. I would have loved to have sat in the grass right up in front of the stage alone with a cold drink and really truly absorbed the music uninterrupted, but as is the norm at things like this, I ran into some great friends who I don’t get to see often enough and had fun catching up. But that’s not to say that I didn’t pay attention to most of the set. One of the tunes that I actually did go up to the front for was entitled “Broken Ankle Variations” (at least I think that was the title). I believe it was a Berman composition and it was great. Check out the video above.
It had been a few weeks since I’d seen some great live jazz or any music for that matter. So overall between the tunes and the friends this was an incredible night. I’m looking forward to this week’s show by the Pittsburgh trio (occasional quintet) Elevations featuring pianist Brett Williams. I’m tempted to go all out and be one of those people with the pop up tent, cooler and a grill! But I’m not sure that I have it in me. Here are a few pics from the show.