Danny Bacher is an old (hip) soul with particularly great feel for certain eras of music. Opening with Louis Jordan’s “Let The Good Times Roll” places us firmly in his territory. The musician bends and dips with his sax which sings and even growls in his hands. This is also true of Eddie Delange/Louis Alter’s “Do You Know What It Means (to miss New Orleans?)” during which a southern lag adds palpable atmosphere.
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) arrives decidedly Latin. It’s all smooth hips and slide steps, but lyrics are at odds with the arrangement. “At Long Last Love” (Cole Porter) is low key. Eyebrows are up, sax down and swinging. Bacher (thankfully) never quite exits the melody as he weaves in and out (a skill). The song ends with a smidgen of be-bop scat. “Ooh Shoo Bee Doo Bee” (Dizzy Gillespie) swaggers and teases. He’s got the inflection down. Both musicians take a playful approach to a mid-tempo “Just Squeeze Me” (Lee Gaines/Duke Ellington) which is gently pumped up.
“Just a Lucky So and So” (Mack David/Duke Ellington) brings in a blues sound. Bacher rolls phrases around in his mouth; piano comes down harder. The song suddenly acquires moxie. “This Happy Madness” (Gene Lees/Antonio Carlos Jobim) misses the the shuuush of bossa nova. Bacher comes in from the top or vocally dips unexpectedly with brio. Farnham’s piano sounds like an orchestra blending genre riffs. An unfussy “Lucky to Be Me,” dedicated to the artist’s wife, is as close as we come to balladic. A back end hum works well, but we don’t believe he means it. This is not usually true of Bacher ballads.
The instrumental “Cloudy/Nuages” (Bix Beiderbecke/Stephan Grapelli/Django Reinhardt) is a highlight of the evening. It’s unhurried and finely wrought conjuring images. Bacher closes with the tandem “Just a Gigolo”(Leonello Casucci/ Julius Brammer) and “I Ain’t Got Nobody” (Roger Graham/Spencer Williams). Once again the artist is in his element with call-outs, cracks, repetition, and style.
Caveats: Rarely have I seen a professional address friends and relatives in the audience so often. (Bacher could see those who were streaming on screen.) This is not a private show in the living room of an intimate, on top of which one sided conversation lengthened an already long show.
Studio A had technical issues with syncing making this hard to watch. As I’ve viewed other performances from there, I’ll assume this was an exception. The new applause track played after every number is a really bad idea.
Photo Courtesy of the performer
Danny Bacher: Siete De Mayo
Danny Bacher- Vocal/SopranoSax
Video Jonathan Furshpan
Studio A, Metropolitan Zoom