Review and photographs by J Hunter
Sometimes you do get more than you paid for. Tom Dempsey and Tim Ferguson had been set to play as a duo at the latest “Jazz one2one Series” show at Athens Cultural Center – no big whoop, since the guitarist and bassist have been working that format on-and-off for the last 25 years. However, the Greene County Council on the Arts was nice enough to throw a little more money Thom Bellino’s way, so the Planet Arts impresario was able to bring in reedman Joel Frahm and drummer Eliot Zigmund, the other half of Dempsey and Ferguson’s latest disc “Beautiful Friendship.”
Who says government can’t create jobs?
What’s more, the initial shipment of “Friendship” discs had arrived that afternoon (“The ink’s still drying on them,” Bellino told us in his introduction to the pre-show Q&A), so the evening became an impromptu drop party. While Bellino did move some product by the end of the night, the late-arriving crowd came in looking for what one2one shows usually provide: A wide-ranging, informative and (usually) funny discussion of jazz in general and the players’ experience in particular. And the people who made cracks on Dempsey’s Facebook page about the remoteness of the gig (“The L Train doesn’t go up there,” one wag typed) missed out big time!