Theatre Reviews Limited
Marcus Goldhaber and the Jon Davis Trio slid onto the stage of the Kitano Jazz Club as eager as you’ll ever see a Jazz ensemble. After a racther clinical litany about proper Jazz etiquette from the Kitano’s musical director, the group warmed the crowd with an easy listening number. The performance consisted of mostly cover work with a few songs from Goldhaber’s new album ‘A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening,’ and the show sufficingly lived up to the title.
Goldhaber has an unmistakable allure to him. His encyclopedic knowledge of jazz history might seem pretentious in less charming hands, but his slow-malt wit between numbers is as disarming as it is erudite. His one-sided rapport with the speechless Jon Davis on piano speaks to a playful, historied friendship.
The music delivers just so often. The band threads the line between easy listening and bolder work, all the while losing its battle with predictability. The solos have pangs of virtuosity, but become clinical once it’s clear there will be little conversation between the instruments. Every player gets his chance to shine, but rarely do they risk a musical exchange or instrumental duel. Their originals songs proved less dynamic than the cover work, indicative of a cohesive ensemble with a bit more room to grow.
But the playfulness of the ensemble and the sweet simplicity of subject matter carried the night. The interludes keep us watching, and the music can’t be described as anything less than soothingly pleasant. It was a lovely, if less than memorable, way to spend an evening.