Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, November 20, 2006

To Cyrus Chestnut and Kevin Mahogany last night, at Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox. We've seen Chestnut before, and you pretty much know what you are going to get with a pairing like this anyway-- the Joe Williams songbook, more or less, but that's a fine thing when it is done this well. The show was pretty off the cuff-- they'd played a set the night before, and there was very little overlap from what I can tell. Chestnut uses all the notes, baby, and Mahogany joked about how he didn't leave him anything, which prompted a story: a few years ago he was backstage at a festival in Europe where Kenny Barron and Brad Meldhu were playing a duet set. Barron came off, looking impeccable, and Mehldau followed, wet through. Someone said, "What happened to you?" and Mehldau said,"Man, Kenny Barron is kicking my ass."

Late in the set they asked if there were any requests, and got some sophisticated suggestions ("Ruby, My Dear" was one I'd have liked to have heard; they'd done "Lush Life" the night before, and I was hoping for that, as was, I'm sure, LCA). Someone suggested "Miss Otis Regrets", and then, from left field, someone else called out, "Me and Mrs. Jones". That cracked them both up. "'Me and Mrs. Jones'," Mahogany said, "Is that why Miss Otis regrets?" Then he rumbled right into it. It took Chestnut a moment to catch up, but he was right there by the time Mahogany got to "...we got a thing...". I reckon they were about halfway through it before he ran out of lyrics he remembered, and they broke up in laughter. "A lot of people don't know that my R&B runs a lot deeper than my jazz," Mahogany said, before they finished off with "Here's That Rainy Day" and "Centerpiece". It was mighty fine.

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