Friday, April 11, 2014

Jim DeJulio & Josh Nelson Produce Marvelous Jazz At The Merc

Josh Nelson & Jim DeJulio
Jazz At The Merc
Jim DeJulio & Josh Nelson
Jim DeJulio
Photo by Cam Miller

Josh Nelson
Photo by Cam Miller

On Thursday April 3 Bassist Jim DeJulio and Pianist Josh Nelson joined forces to put on a magnificent program of Jazz at the Merc. "The Jazz at The Merc" is a Jazz series that spotlights what Sherry Williams, the creator and manager of this series calls "Chamber Jazz". This Jazz series hosted by the wonderful Jazz singer, Sherry Williams lights up every Thursday at 7:30pm in one of the most intimate Jazz venues you will ever experience. "The Merc" is at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater (42051 Main Street).  The acoustics inside the small theater that seats only 48 are hard to explain.  Think about going to hear your favorite Jazz players in a recording studio with 50 of your closest friends. The sound is so good, so intimate that you almost become one with the music. I have been told by my musician friends that they make their way to "The Merc" just to enjoy playing in this wonderful acoustical space filled with appreciative Jazz fans. 

Tonight was no exception. Performing tonight was one of the most respected Bass players in the country, Jim DeJulio who was joined by one of the most talented and sought after young Jazz pianists, Josh Nelson

Jim DeJulio, well-known and respected by Jazz musicians from coast to coast is one of only a handful of Bassists that understands the beauty and simplicity of playing melody. When Jim played melody on his Bass like he did Thursday night for "How High The Moon", the listener visualized the lyrics and felt the emotion the composer put into the song. Technically trained, he is exceptional when playing all genres of music. He played for Sinatra and the Pittsburgh Symphony for years. No wonder Jim was Sinatra's Bassist of choice for his Vegas concerts and his Palm Springs house parties. In addition to his magnificent Bass playing, Jim has also written some outstanding songs, several of which he performed Thursday to the delight of the audience. The list of world-class musicians Jim has played with could easily make up the "Who's Who" of Jazz: Sinatra, June Christy, Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Sammy Davis, Jr, Carmen McCrae, Lannie Kazan, Vic Damone and Nancy Wilson to name just a few. In addition, normally when a Bassist is playing with a most-talented Pianist, the Pianist would be leading the charge for most of the concert. But not tonight!  Jim carried the lead many times during the evening but by the end of the performance, these two talented musicians shared the lead equally.

Josh Nelson is only in his early 30's but has already established himself as one of the most upcoming Pianists and Songwriters on the West Coast. His approach to Jazz on the piano is fresh and inventive, and his touch is so light and beautiful one wonders how he is able to generate the sounds he does. Josh has already won many awards including being a semi-finalist in the prestigious International Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to his ongoing songwriting pursuits, Josh has also been busy touring with Jazz vocalist Natalie Cole for the past two years. He is also devoted to maintaining a private studio of Jazz students and teaching Adjunct Faculty at Soka University. Josh's influences are from Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett. Quite a trio of brilliant talents to emulate! Josh Nelson may be young but he is already an accomplished Jazz musician. Don't miss any chance to hear him.

By the way, the piano at "The Marc" is a beautiful-sounding Steinway that makes any Pianist want to play.
                                                    UPCOMING SCHEDULE AT THE MARC

April 17: Dick Weller Trio featuring Ty Ballie, Organ and John Tendy, Sax

April 24: Eric Reed Quartet featuring Danny Janklow, Sax Hamilton Price, Bass and Wesley Anderson, Drums

May 1: Doug MacDonald, Guitar/Organ quartet

May 8: Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet 

May 15: Jon Mayer, Piano with vocalist Mark Winkler

May 22: Frank Potenza, Guitarist with Luther Hughes, Bass

May 29: Debbie Voltura Quartet

June 5: Bruce Lett Bass, Hank Mancini Vibes, and Brad Dutz Perc

June 12: Bill Saitta Bass, Jeff Olsen Drums

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