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.