I had dinner this evening at the Fly Bar with Donna. We ate early so that we could catch “Mr. Holmes” at Tampa Theatre (FIVE stars). Donna needed to go home, so I headed back to the Fly Bar to hear the Serotonic Trio.
Wednesday nights at the Fly Bar belong to Andrew Kilmartin, drums, Jordan Garno, guitar, and Bryan Lewis, keyboards. (They represent three-fifths of the full group Serotonic.) They told me that their entire first set was popular tunes. I made it just into the second set. And this one was all about me. Must have been.
They were just finishing a song as I arrived. Then out came the opening notes of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” (about his bass player Paul Chambers). All three members of the group were in perfect sync, and it was a marvelous reading. Next? “Nardis” (Miles Davis), with a great bass intro by Lewis (playing bass on the keyboard with his left hand). That is such a beautiful, lyrical tune. Sublime.
As they were trying to decide what to play next, I pointed out that if you went from Trane to Miles, it would then be logical to go from Miles to Bird. There was agreement, as they knocked out a deliciously uptempo “Au Privave” (Charlie Parker) with Kilmartin trading fours with Garno. Their timing was deluxe. “Cold Duck Time,” the Eddie Harris composition made famous on the live Montreux album with Les McCann, was a delight. The band has only recently added this to their repertoire, and it is a perfect bouncy tune for Serotonic.
Next, I said, “Horace (Silver).” They played a tender version of “Song for My Father.” Time for set break. Kilmartin said that their new album is largely complete and needs a few tweaks before it can be released. They also talked about their good fortune in getting the call to open for The Motet in St. Petersburg on August 20 at the State Theatre. Good fortune and a lot of hard work, I’d say.
The short third set started with an airy reading of “Pure Imagination” from the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie. Lewis plays this with great joy. Then Lewis played a familiar bass intro (used in a number of songs) that he explained easily transitions in its 4/4 time to “All Blues,” another Miles composition. The set closed with “Eleanor Rigby.” The Serotonic Trio started this one as a samba, but it quickly shot up in tempo as Garno delivered a great solo.
No notes for this review! This set was all covers (and wonderful covers they were), but Serotonic has a boatload of great originals which are featured in their quintet performances. And I was truly impressed by the depth of understanding the trio had for these critically important jazz standards. Kilmartin, Garno and Lewis delivered inspired performances, even on occasion when only one guy was really listening!
You can see Serotonic this Friday at Skipper’s Smokehouse. They open for The Legendary JCs, a brilliant soul revue.
[SEROTONIC TRIO SET 2: Mr. P.C., Nardis, Au Privave, Cold Duck Time, Song for My Father; SET 3: Pure Imagination, All Blues, Eleanor Rigby]