Northampton Jazz Workshop hosts Steve Cardenas November 12 2019 by David Boatwright
The guitar has blessed us with a lot of great players over the years. Pat Martino in Jazz, Jerry Garcia in Rock, BB King in Blues…the list goes on and on. Keep digging and you’ll find incredibly accomplished players in every genre, especially Jazz, which traditionally draws a smaller audience than at your average Santana show.
I had the pleasure of hearing Steve Cardenas at the Northampton Jazz workshop on November 12. Like a lot of “kids” his age, Cardenas started playing rock in the 70’s but evolved into the Jazz world and has established himself as a first rate leader and sideman with the likes of Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow, and Joey Barron. This Tuesday night of course, he was backed up by the stellar trio of Paul Arslanian (keyboard), George Kaye (double bass), and Jon Fisher (drums).
Playing an orange colored Gibson 335 (hollow body), Cardenas opened with the latin flavored “You Stepped out of A Dream,” followed by the slow shuffle of Thelonious Monk’s “Light Blue.” A medium tempo 6/8 “All the Things You Are” followed before a beautiful arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood.”
Next up was the swing/shuffle of “Invitation” before the set closed with a fast take on Monk’s classic “Straight, No Chaser.” Playing through a small Powtone amplifier, Cardenas proved once again that the improvising possibilities on the humble six-string guitar are endless!
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