Last weekend’s gig at Kitano with pianist Mark Soskin’s quartet (Jay Anderson on bass, Matt Wilson on drums) covered a lot of creative ground. The cats played their behinds off, and of course Kitano’s manager Gino, and the whole staff, welcomed us warmly into their jazz living room. Playing here reminds me a little of the jam sessions that took place in my family’s home when I was growing up - the audience is very close, and really engaged. Even if you don’t know many of the people out there, it still feels like a bunch of friends.
This club is a bit unusual in that it is situated on the second floor of an upscale Park Avenue hotel, an open-plan room overlooking the lobby below. The band is always acoustic, which makes for a very intimate and warm experience for the audience.
Mark’s choice of music - from obscure standards to his own harmonically rich originals - was challenging, yet natural and balanced. I love playing with Mark, Jay and Matt. I have played with each of them many times in different settings, but never together as a quartet. It felt comfortable and warm, like slipping back into the bathtub after getting out to answer the phone.
A friend, Shelley, caught a little of the set on video, which can be seen here.