Last Friday night one of the area’s premier jazz clubs was converted into a makeshift recording studio – complete with a Grammy-winning sound engineer behind the huge mixing board that straddled at least two tables at Justin’s Savoy Room.
Bandleader David Calarco sat patiently behind the drum kit, holding his sticks and eager to launch into the first number. Recording engineer Malcolm Cecil and the two video camera operators were exchanging last minute words with session-leader Ron Petrides, his electric hollow-body guitar hanging around his neck. The third member of the ensemble John Menegon stood nearby holding his upright acoustic bass and listening intently.
Within minutes, the trio exploded with fluid guitar runs, swinging beats and running bass lines. No originals were played all night, but the mix of modern jazz standards – including a up-tempo version of Monk’s “Rhythm-a-ning” – showed everyone there that the group really knew their stuff.
Calarco and Menegon are no strangers to the Nippertown jazz scene or Justin’s, for that matter. Both have played in the region with some top jazz names throughout the years. (Calarco recently collaborated with trumpet legend Randy Brecker for two sold-out shows at the Van Dyck.) But Petrides was new to the club and the area. His fingers effortlessly owned the fret-board with every note he played. His style evoked the memory of jazz guitar greats Jim Hall, Joe Pass and Herb Ellis.
Smiles kept shooting between the three band members as the evening closed with a rousing version of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance.”
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
NOTE: Guitarist Ron Petrides will be performing as a member of the trio SuperStringz at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts in Averill Park at 8pm Saturday, while drummer David Calarco and bassist John Menegon will join saxman Brian Patneaude at Justin’s in Albany at 9pm on Sunday.