Last Tuesday, Aug. 5 at Owl Studios Jazz at the Point presented by the Eagle Creek Park Foundation, Take Note and WICR, the Steve Allee Trio provided the throng on hand a spirited performance with the all-Indy rhythm section of Frank Smith, bass, and Kenny Phelps, drums. They opened with a rousing version of “Village Masters” that showcased Allee’s swinging lyrical improvisations and Smith’s melodic solo matching the leader. Allee delivered a mood-changing beautiful and sensitive rendition of “Somewhere” that drew the loudest round of applause that evening. Saxophonist Rob Dixon was a guest, providing a sheets-of-sound jaunt on “Yesterdays.”
Stasia’s Supper Club, at 2441 Lafayette Road, weekend jazz policy has been turning out some exceptional performances. Last Friday, I caught a cooking trio led by Steve Weakley’s Wes-oriented guitar, Johnathan Woods’ awesome electric bass and the tasty but hard-swinging drums of Harry Goodloe. This trio cooked the night away in all tempos and delivered a keen sense of interplay from ballads to blues and bop. Weakley and Woods were absolutely mesmerizing in their solo journeys but they were blazing when they challenged each other on four- and eight-bar breaks. This trio needs to be heard more. Weakley’s guitar playing is at a new level and Woods’ massive bass chops are his perfect foil.
The Jazz Kitchen’s two-night reunion Friday, Aug. 8 and Saturday, Aug. 9 of electric violinist Cathy Morris and Collage was exciting and emotional for Morris. She has been dividing her time between here and California, serving as a grandmother for her daughter and performing out there. It was fun hearing the Collage group Saturday in the last set with Royce Campbell’s guitar (he came in from the East Coast), Gary Walters, keyboards, Steve Dokken, bass, Kevin Kaiser, percussion, and the only non-original member of the band, Gregg Autry, drums. Morris concentrated more on her instrument and no vocals, delving into a passionate approach to the Collage repertoire covering 15 years. She admitted to me that it had been some time since she had played those songs and that she has been playing straight-ahead on standard tunes and enjoying it. Collage’s performance was peerless. It was apparent that the band members were peaked for this final set and all were on the money. Cathy Morris stated that she would be returning to California at the end of September.