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New York, NY
Thereʼs little sexier than virtuoso talent suited-up like gentlemen, erupting into sumptuous, sensual, gut-wrenching jazz. Charismatic Gregory Generet and his band make the kind of joyful noise that soars. Every artist on stage is a source of power, invention and juice.
Generetʼs husky croon slip-slides though octaves in “Embraceable You” (George & Ira Gershwin). Stage-whispered scat gets under oneʼs skin and tickles. Piano accompaniment (Mike Renzi) is delicately beautiful. Later in the set, Renzi excels at hard-charging, up-tempo interpretation. “Get It Straight” (Thelonius Monk/Sally Swisher based on Monkʼs instrumental “Straight, No Chaser” features Gerald Cannonʼs impeccably finessed bass. The song is mellow and oh so cool.
“Remember when 42nd Street wasnʼt Disneyland?” A brief, poetic (not rosy) description prefaces the bandʼs dark, suggestive rendition of Cole Porterʼs “Love for Sale.” Generetʼs superb phrasing and lustrous baritone are perfect foil for the haunting, back alley saxophone of Mark Gross. The singerʼs laugh and gesture after the word “appetizing” seem satanic. Choruses bounce off the rafters. “How ʻbout you?” he invites a female member of the audience, reeling her in.
“Moondance” (Van Morrison) begins a cappella. The arrangement is borne aloft on unexpected, musical crosscurrents, including nuanced percussion from the extraordinary Willie Jones, III, who appears serene while his hands fly across drums with the speed and grace of beefed-up hummingbirds. The vocalistʼs hypnotic voice is in command.
One two, ONE, TWO, THREE: Blam! Itʼs a deeply funky, down and dirty “(Iʼm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” (Willie Dixon). Generet howls, growls, dips and executes insinuating, though never vulgar, grind as the band detonates the ineffable tune. Itʼs a full frontal knockout, infectiously entertaining.
Patter is kept to a minimum. Solos are given reign. Unconditional commitment and balance of skill create an authenticity that is a privilege to experience.