Live review

Ethan Iverson, Joe Sanders, Jorge Rossy at Porgy & Bess Club in Vienna

Ethan Iverson, Joe Sanders, Jorge Rossy
(Porgy & Bess Club, Vienna, 17 September 2019. Review by Oliver Weindling)

This gig somehow seemed to reverberate with a city that spawned some of the most intriguing music of the last century, from Mahler through Schoenberg and then to the Hollywood film noir composers. Whereas we have heard Iverson recently burning through standards with imagination and verve, and he is the most well known of the three in this trio, especially for his work as part of the Bad Plus, this was very much the interplay of three equals. Indeed many of the introductions were given with the dry stream-of-consciousness humour of Sanders, the youngster of the group, as he expressed gratitude to his peers for inviting him to join with them. Meanwhile, it was great to hear Jorge Rossy back on the drums, rather than the vibes he has favoured of late, and a sonic and melodic awareness was very much his trademark for the night.

Ethan Iverson, Joe Sanders and Jorge Rossy (iPhone Snap by Oliver Weindling)

The connection of classical Europe was shown several times, such as in the trio’s version of David Raskin’s Laura and Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss. In this version they really created a story, building a sense of anticipation and climaxing as appropriate. Throughout, all pieces really had a sense of completeness and unity, whether it be the wild bass solo introduction to Con Alma into a Bach chorale-like piano continuation, or the playful deconstruction of If I Were A Bell. Standards, though, were the exception with mostly originals, by all members of the band. Book-ended by two pieces of Jorge Rossy, Iverson’s tribute to Mark Turner (Turner’s Chamber of Unlikely Delights) at the end of the first set captured the saxophonist’s love of the unexpected.

Even though they played in a venue which is relatively large for a jazz club, they created an interplay with their audience which communicated well. Perhaps this is to do with the whole background of Porgy & Bess, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, 19 of those in its present venue. Musician-driven, it remains one of the few really imaginative larger clubs in Europe, and bringing together this trio into such a venue was a joy in every way.

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