There aren’t too many pianists performing in a virtuoso setting in both the classical and jazz genres. Ironically, the 1995 American Pianist Association Fellow Anthony Molinaro is making a name for himself in the world of jazz in collaboration with the Grammy-nominated harmonica performer Howard Levy. Levy, who was an original member of Bela Fleck’s Flecktones, has recorded an exceptional live CD with Molinaro. Both men will be appearing at the Jazz Kitchen for shows Friday, Sept.19 at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. I caught up with Molinaro at his home in Chicago where he gave us his views on his musical duality. NUVO: How did this alliance between you and Levy come about for jazz, considering your extensive classical backgound? Molinaro: To be honest, I never really saw the two fields as being as different as they have proven to be. When I was studying music as a child I was always improvising. I actually studied trumpet pretty seriously — it was through that instrument that I got into jazz more and was influenced by Wynton Marsalis in the ’80s. It was in college I had to choose one or the other as a career, so I went with the classical angle. It was at a concert in Chicago that it was suggested I include a guest and was introduced to Howard Levy. We played together at the concert and it was a huge success. NUVO: Would you consider adding a rhythm section to the musical setting that you and Levy are doing? Molinaro: I am definitely excited about venturing into the trio world. In terms of with Howard, one of the unique things about us is there is an amazing virtuosity that takes place without bass and drums. I think that’s a big appeal of what we do and I think that would take away what’s unique about the duo. This dynamic duo definitely has to be experienced.
Jazz happenings Downtown
The Chatterbox, 435 Mass. Ave., will be sizzling with the Afro/Cuban sounds of Urbanos Friday, Sept. 19. Returning will be the exciting young pianist/composer/arranger Mina Keohane Group with some of this town’s best players performing her fresh jazz originals. Sessions both nights are from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Illinois Street at the Circle Centre, “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz” has the hard-swinging alto saxophonist Jason Curry’s Quartet Sept. 21, playing 7 to 10 p.m. Agio, 635 Mass. Ave., features the soft jazz sounds of Bill Lancton on guitar and Dave Murray on bass every Thursday performing 6 to 10 p.m. Nicky Blaine’s downstairs in the King Cole Building presents Cozy and Her Fellas on Mondays, The Four Sexes perform on Tuesdays and Tom Mullinix Quartet plays Wednesdays and Thursdays. The music goes from 9 p.m. to midnight. Ruth Ellen’s Restaurant & Lounge, 825 N. Pennsylvania, has the classy vocal sound of Mary Moss Friday, Sept. 19 performing 8 to 11 p.m. At St. Elmo Steakhouse, Illinois Street at Circle Centre, Rob Dixon’s Quartet plays Thursday, Sept. 25, 7 to 10 p.m. Cynthia Layne’s sultry vocal style can be heard Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27, 7 to 10 p.m. both nights. Northside
At the Jazz Kitchen, the dynamic jazz duo of APA fellow Anthony Molinaro on piano and former Flecktone and Grammy nominee harmonica artist Howard Levy perform two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19. Don’t forget the midnight “Jazz Aftersets” every Friday. The popular “Lady With a Song,” Mary Moss & Friends, returns Saturday, Sept. 20 for some partying jazz. Sullivan’s Steakhouse at 3316 E. 86th St. at Keystone at the Crossing has Claude Sifferlen on piano, Joe Deal on bass and Kevin Johnson on drums playing Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The House Cafe + Music, 6101 Keystone Ave. at the Glendale Mall, features smooth Christian jazz every Thursday with the Fred Sights Project playing 8 to 10 p.m. At Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse North, 96th and Keystone, Wednesday jazz offers Rob Dixon’s Quartet Sept. 17 followed by the Jason Curry Quartet Sept. 24. Music runs 7 to 10 p.m. The Melody Inn, 38th Street and Illinois, features the Keni Washington Quintet every Thursday for its “Jazz Very Happy Hour” playing 6 to 8:30 p.m. The New Fountain Lounge, corner of 30th Street & MLK Drive, has trumpeter Mike Rodman Wednesday, Sept. 17 with the Jason Curry Quartet. Sept. 24 is The Art of Musiq. Music times are 8 p.m. to midnight. Eastside
Sangiovese, 4110 E. 82nd St., presents solo jazz piano by Frank Puzzullo on Tuesdays; diva Brenda Williams with David Meeks on keyboards and Frank Smith on bass perform Wednesdays. Shannon Forsell’s vocals with Ray Larman on keyboards are on Thursdays. Music all nights goes 7 to 10 p.m. Lulu’s, 8487 Union Chapel Road at Fashion Mall Commons, has the classy jazz/blues sound of Mary Moss with Carl Hines on keyboards and Mingo Jones on bass playing 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18. Eddie Merlot’s Steakhouse, 3645 E. 96th St., has the smooth jazz vocals/keyboards of Lisa Baldwin and Steve Kenley playing 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19. Club Isis, 6378 E. 82nd St. (behind Steak & Shake), welcomes the Rob Dixon Quartet Thursday, Sept. 18 performing 8 p.m. to midnight. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.