• 1.11.9 Abercrombie Organ Quartet – Jazz Bakery

    John AbercrombieJohn Abercrombie

    By a lucky chance I came across the Jazz Bakery’s January calendar. I haven’t kept up much on who’s playing where and when other than a handful of familiar friend. The calendar caught my eyes because the name Gary Versace. I met Gary last year in New Orleans when he played with my friend John Ellis and his Double Wide quartet. We fast befriended because he didn’t mind my being obnoxious towards him. I was interested to get to see him play again with another group — with John Abercrombie no less.

    I finally got a hold of him then headed out to their Friday show of Wed-Sun run. I, of course, showed up minutes before they stepped on stage. I got a quick introduction and was assured that all were in that good touring spirit… the kind that is light-hearted and on the silly side. From what I saw, Nussbaum was the king of it, cracking jokes, making endless teases and funnies. 

    The show soon started. I’d never heard them before, and was open fully to hear. During the breaks, there was a guy coming up to me and offered his opinion on Abercrombie’s playing, how he didn’t play as much as he used to. I inquired about this later to find that he was just one of many who came with an expectation for some fusion, of which Abercrombie was known for from an era passed.

    I couldn’t believe Gary, of his playing… fucking amazing this guy. Actually I was so floored by the whole quartet that I later insisted Nels to come with me on the last day of their Jazz Bakery run. Nels knows Abercrombie from long ago… the 70s or so? He also knows Nussbaum relating to his drummer brother Alex. Nels and I barely got back from a trip to SF (Sat>Sun) but managed to get to the venue in time for the show. This was a “palette cleansing” music. The soft and delicate crafted sound was the most enriching since I can remember. I was floored. We were floored. I love it when my puny mind aligns itself and able to receive something amazing as this. 

    Adam Nussbaum

    Adam Nussbaum

    Jerry Bergonzi

    Jerry Bergonzi

    Gary Versace

    Gary Versace

    Abercrombie and Nussbaum

    Abercrombie and Nussbaum

    Bergonzi before show

    Bergonzi before show

    Abercrombie Organ Quartet

    Abercrombie Organ Quartet


  • 3.7-10.8 New Orleans bound : John Ellis & Double Wide first gig here

    Snug Harbor's signSnug Harbor’s sign

    How excited I was to have a perfect reason to be in New Orleans. One of my most favorite friends John Ellis was playing with his band for the first time at the Snug Harbor. John used lived here some years ago. His personal relationship with the city was the crucial reason why it was important to make the trip. I wanted him to introduce me to the city that he loves. I want to get a better idea, also intellectually as he offers, of what was next for this place.

    After getting a rental car from the airport, I went directly to meet up with John. We got to stay at his friend’s place who was out of town. The apartment was in an old brewery in the warehouse district. There was a convenient little adorable coffee shop across the street. I’d been by New Orleans before some 15 or so years ago taking a ground detour heading to Jackson, MS. but I never got a chance to look around. This time I was constantly reminded of the possible burglaries and robberies, another cost from the Katrina catastrophe.

    Both of John’s parents were in town from North Carolina. I was excited to meet them. I heard a little bit about them before from John’s childhood references, growing up in a huge tobacco farm. As I expected, they were incredibly nice. His dad was a pastor, and his mother was a teacher. We also met up with John’s friend Judy. I quickly became fans of all of them.

    Since my flight was delayed, I missed their gig in Baton Rouge on Friday night. It turned out to be okay,… all things considered. I tagged along John and drove around a little bit, meeting some of his friends. The show at Snug Harbor well attended (if not sold out?) The venue has a bar in the front and a separate room in the back. They played 2 sets…. some people actually danced. I supposed it’s appropriate, since this album is named “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” after all. I love these guys.

    John Ellis, his parents, and Jody

    John Ellis, his parents, and Judy

    John Ellis

    John Ellis

    New Orleans resident Jody

    New Orleans resident Judy

    John Ellis, his parents, and his friend Judy waiting for the best food

    John Ellis, his parents, and his friend Judy waiting for the best food

    John Ellis & Double Wide instruments

    John Ellis & Double Wide instruments

    John Ellis preparing music

    John Ellis preparing music

    John's right hand

    John's right hand

    Matt Perrine - New Orleans sousaphonist

    Matt Perrine - New Orleans sousaphonist

    Jason Marsalis - New Orleans Drummer

    Jason Marsalis - New Orleans Drummer

    John introducing music

    John introducing music

    Gary Versace - New York organist/accordionist

    Gary Versace - New York organist/accordionist

    John talking

    John talking

    resting saxophone

    resting saxophone