Friday, January 9, 2015

Bill Saitta Opens the 2015 Tuesday Jazz Series At Backstreet Bistro




Jay Lewis, Tom Keenlyside, Bill Saitta and Joe Azarello
Tuesday night, January 6, 2015 was opening night for Jazz at Backstreet Bistro in Palm Desert, California.  Bill Saitta, the great bassist, singer, arranger creates a different group of outstanding musicians every Tuesday night throughout the winter season.  Tonight Bill selected his go-to-Drummer and everyone's favorite, Jay Lewis along with Joe Azarello on Keyboard. The star of tonight's program was Tom Keenlyside who thrilled the group with his solos on Flute and Tenor Sax. Tom only moved to Palm Desert from Canada a few years ago and has already established his reputation as a sterling Jazz player.  Tom is amazing in his ability to improvise, yet, always retains the essence of the melody.  Tom can do it all, and he does it all whenever he performs.  Tom always plays with excitement, and he transmits his joy of music to his audience.  He also lifts his fellow players to higher levels because of his outstanding musical skills.  Tom never plays safe, he always pushes himself to higher levels of performance.  He is loved by his audience!

I had not heard Bill Saitta play Bass for over 8 months but tonight he continued to prove he is a student of the Bass and his music.  Every year he seems to improve the level of his playing and this night proved that he has taken his musical game to an even higher level.  Bill's approach to music including Jazz is far from casualty.  He continues to be a student of music and takes nothing for granted.  His solos tonight were thoughtful and perfectively constructed.  It's no wonder that Bill is one of the most sought after Bassists in California!

Jay Lewis as usual was sparkling on Drums tonight. Jay is at the top of the list of skilled Drummers playing in Southern California and for good reasons.  Jay never tries to over-shadow any members of the groups he plays with.  He is supportive, and yet can hold his own with any Drummer when it is his time to solo.  Besides his musical talents,  Jay is a really good person and loved by all.

Joe Azarello was on Keyboard tonight and it was my first experience with him.  He supported the

Jay Lewis and Tom Keenlyside
group perfectly and has a very unique playing style especially on his solos.  Seems Joe believes that the structure of his playing is much more important than just playing a lot of background notes.  He was well received by the enthusiastic Backstreet audience.  Tonight was a wonderful start to the season, and I recommend that you put Tuesday night Jazz at Backstreet Bistro on your "To Do" list.
Joe Azarello

Jay Lewis, Tom Keenlyside and Bill Saitta


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