Saxophonist Ernie Krivda leads a swinging live performance from the Detroit jazz club The Dirty Dog on this well recorded album. Claude Black on piano, Dan Kolton on bass and Renell Gonsalves on drums join Krivda on quite lengthy explorations of four well-known standards and an extemporaneous blues jam that ends the program in a fun and joyful way. Apparently this album was recorded at the end of a long residency, and the empathy these musicians have built is quite palpable. The version of Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight” is particularly poignant, with the band caressing the melody in a thoughtful unhurried manner before breaking out into solos which are quite rich and memorable, Claude Black in particular is fascinating to focus on in this song. They swing mightily on three other standards, “I’ll Remember April,” “You Stepped Out Of a Dream” and “All the Things You Are.” The group lays into these songs with fresh vigor, not cruising at all, but using them as the excellent vehicles of improvisation they are for finely crafted solos and ensemble passages. The concluding performance and the only Krivda original “A Blues By Any Other Name” finishes the set in fine fashion with everybody getting a chance to stretch out and blow with verve and a sense of adventure. This was a very nice example of small club jazz that used to be prevalent across the country, but has waned in the wake of the economic slowdown. The group has a ball jamming on standards and blues and the enthusiasm is palpable to the crowd and the listener. This was a swinging small group session of meat and potatoes modern jazz. The group plays standards and blues with a confident bravado and the ballads with a heart-on-sleeve lushness. Live at the Dirty Dog - CIMP
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