Mark Heard It First

Betty From the Bar – My Happy Place

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Sunday night at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato, as I sipped a Manhattan at the bar, the gorgeous sounds of the Betty Bryant Quartet floated through the room. It was a good turnout, and Betty had them in the palm of her hand. The sound at Vibrato has always been good, but since Herb’s touring bassist Hussain Jiffrey took over the reigns, it is turning into a listening room with an upgrade to the PA and savvy programming from Hussain. The dinner crowd was buzzy, as they always are, but when Betty launched into “Try A Little Tenderness,” the room got silent as she drew them in. It was perfection, like a Manhattan made with a dash of orange bitters and shaken with authority so there is a bit of foam at the top….frothy and sweet with a bite and a kick, like Cool Miss B herself. (Hat tip to Anastasia Mann, who has educated us on the perfect way to make a Manhattan.)

Betty Bryant performed two sublime sets with Richard Simon on bass, Donald Dean on drums, and  Robert Kyle on reeds.

Music in the Air Session

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Kevin Winard, drums;  Danny Janklow, alto sax; Mike Gurrola, bass; Jamison Trotter, piano.

We had a great session last month at Paul Tavener’s Big City Recording Studio in Chatsworth, recording three fresh Jamieson Trotter arrangements, as well as one of my all time favorite Ellington ballads. It was fun to record these beautifully crafted charts. No arrangements are needed for an Ellington ballad, just solid musicianship, feeling, and respect for Ellington, the master craftsman. Danny’s solo on it is beautiful. I’m currently rehearsing four additional arrangements and we will be laying those down soon. Paul Tavener is a great engineer, lightening fast, with a great ear and a real knack for recording singers.