The big question of this process turned up during Phase 3. A friend of mine works at a local Italian restaurant (Zza’s) and it’s connected winebar. They were starting up a weekly Thursday musicnight. It was most definitely NOT the right venue for my funk-jazz vamp quartet. But I missed the straight-ahead fix that I had been getting from Sonic. So I started a 6-month run of shows, every other week. The first show per month would feature Dave Casini on vibes, and the second show featured John Gordon on guitar. Carl Herder held down the acoustic bass. This was a nice balance, I had asked Carl to focus on electric bass with my vamp band. And Casini had played several of the CVK gigs plus the gigs at Park Avenue Grill on drums.
My basic question was whether this straight-ahead trio (“The Colin Gleason Trio”) was indeed the same band. I still don’t know, there are arguments for and against. But in the end, it certainly continues to play it’s part in my music equation. The run at Zza’s ended in early October, essentially due to the economic collapse, and the lack of customers willing to come out and drop ducats on wine, candlelight and actual atmosphere. In the month or so since, I’ve realized that I really do value, and in fact need, playing straight-ahead. Even with the ego-gratifying headrush that composition brings, it isn’t as immediate an impression as when I’m leading a group through a standard like “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” or a blues, or even a fairly obscure tune transcribed from a personal fave such as “Thembi” by Pharoah or “Le Coiffeur” by Dex.