Monday, April 12, 2010

In Lieu of 1000 Words: Junior Mance at The Blue Room

It’s not every day you see a drummer in high heels.

And how does that drummer work the drum pedals? Why, by removing her shoes and drumming barefoot, of course.

At least, that’s how pianist Junior Mance’s drummer kept time during his wonderful show at The Blue Room on April 4th.

I’ve heard Junior Mance on numerous recordings (he’s on my iPod backing Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Witherspoon, for starters) but this was my first chance to catch him live. And what a joyous night it was, a mix of ballads, blues and swing. You can find the Kansas City Star's review here.

Junior even came with midwest connections. His tenor saxophonist, Ryan Anselmi, is from KC and played while in high school with Jay McShann. And that high-heeled drummer, Kim Garey, hails from Hutchinson, Kansas.

In the photos below you’re going to see smiles. Because that night, everyone – musicians and audience – left The Blue Room with a wide one on their face.

Here’s a visual sampling of what we enjoyed (clicking on a photo should open a larger version of it):

Junior Mance playing piano

Junior and the saxes

Ryan Anselmi on tenor sax

Junior Mance on piano

Andrew Hadro on baritone sax

Junior Mance, enjoying a solo

The rhythm section

Hide Tanaka on bass

Junior Mance, more great piano

Kim Garey on drums

Junior Mance

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Comments are welcome. If you prefer, you can reach me directly at kcjazzlark(at)gmail(dot)com.