Jazz fans can take heart that Monday Night Jazz will return to Bushnell Park in a mere forty-five weeks. In the meantime, we’re all on the lookout for new jazz venues around Hartford and beyond. A relatively recent addition to the Connecticut jazz scene and a surprising – at least to this listener – venue is The SideDoor jazz club in Old Lyme. Tucked off of the Old Lyme Inn’s front entrance, The SideDoor offers an intimate, up-close-and-personal musical experience, in an unassuming space with a bar and a dozen or so tables surrounding a modest stage. While picnics are definitely not encouraged, listeners experience the musicality of Monday Night Jazz with an audiophile-worthy sound system.
On August 26th the incomparable Brazilian jazz artist Joyce Moreno and her trio captivated the audience with two sets of her original compositions. Moreno was joined by Helio Alves at the piano, Tutty Moreno on drums and Rodolfo Stroeter (who has also produced Moreno’s work) on bass guitar. The band’s opening “Woman Samba” showcased Moreno’s Afro-Brazilian musical influences and the band’s tight, spot-on rhythms led by Tutty Moreno’s drumming. “That Woman” opened with Alves’ sensual minor chords and Moreno’s vocals, before Stroeter’s forward bass line joined in with Tutty Moreno’s bossa nova-inspired drum work. The band’s melding of Brazilian traditional and popular music with traditional “American” jazz was on vivid display with “Mingus, Miles and Coltrane,” which Moreno characterized as emblematic of the love affair between Brazilian rhythms and North American jazz. Continuing that musical melting pot, “Love For Sale,” Moreno’s reimagining of Cole Porter in Bahia, featured Tutty Moreno’s delicate cymbal work. Moreno closed out with a series of compositions dedicated to Afro-Brazilian women, including “Forces of the Soul,” again featuring Tutty Moreno’s intense yet nuanced drumming, overlaid with Stroeter’s prominent bass line and Alves’ expressive fingers on the keys. The effect was a distinctively Brazilian blend that found an enthusiastic audience in Old Lyme.
The SideDoor features a rich line-up of music Fridays and Saturdays, including Dave Stryker on September 23rd, who Monday Night Jazz listeners will remember from his July performance with Sylvia Cuenca. The full schedule and tickets are available at http://thesidedoorjazz.com/.