Last Friday night, A Place For Jazz presented the fourth of their five annual fall concerts in the First Unitarian Society Whisperdome in Schenectady, and this time there was a twist – a double-bill of trios sharing the same bassist and drummer.
First up was jazz pianist and composer Bruce Barth, playing an impassioned mix of originals and standards. He swung hard by putting his whole upper body into action, coaxing every note needed and more out of the grand piano. One minute he was leaning into the keys, head down and wearing a grimace, and in the next he was leaning back, eyes closed in reverie.
Embracing his upright bass, Schenectady native Gregg August’s fingers nimbly ran up and down the lumbering instrument’s fret board, while drummer Rudy Royston switched between brushes and sticks keeping the beat restrained, but Swiss time-piece accurate. Sheet music was sprawled out on music stands and across the piano. “Blues in F,” “Afternoon in Lleida,” and “Why Not,” among other playful tunes, bounced around the Whisperdome, enthralling the audience.