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With George Gershwin's "Strike Up

the Band," Don Rice and the Bobby

Jones Trio kicked off a concert long

on up-tempo standards and smooth-

playing ballads drawn from the

Great American Songbook.

In many ways, this was the perfect

song to herald the other songs in

Rice's concert, not necessarily

because of the actual tune but

because of the era in which it was

born. Music from the middle of the

20th century dominated the set list

and that made for an afternoon of

musical comfort that blended well

with the pleasant weather, the

relatively clear skies and the large,

appreciative audience, which was

scattered, for the most part,

wherever there was shade outside

Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

While Rice and his tenor saxophone

were the focus of the program, the

support crew was there to make

sure that things went smoothly.

Bassist Wayne Moose and drummer

Dan Hull provided the backbone for

the gig, while keyboard legend

Bobby Jones was an alternate lead

voice for the ensemble when he

wasn't feeding chords for Rice to

take off on.

The second song of the set was a

great example of what was to

come. While the sax solo on

"When You're Smiling" was a

textbook example of mid-tempo

swing, the long, gorgeous solo

from Jones, sprinkled with a few

gospel- inspired measures, was a

great complement to the steady

pacing of the Moose and Hull

rhythm section.

Luiz Bonfa's "Manha de Carnival"

(aka "A Day in the Life of a Fool")

brought a bossa nova element to

the mix of chestnuts before Rice

stepped aside to allow the trio a


This spotlight came courtesy of

Miles Davis' "All Blues," with Jones

dipping into the gospel bag one

more time for his piano intro

before leading the rhythm

keepers through an inventive set

of riffs that highlighted, to some

extent, the different eras

influencing the trio when

compared to the leader.

Rice, trio ably represent eras of

Great American Songbook

After the intermission, Rice

reached into the hard bop

repertoire for an interesting riff

on Hank Mobley's "This I Dig of

You" that showed he could move

in those circles too before calling

his bandmates to join him in

earlier decades

for 'Touch of Your Lips" and

"Smile." In the midst of that set,

Rice stepped aside once again and

turned over the proceedings to

the trio, who wound their way

through a worthy take on "Autumn


The quartet's version of "Canadian

Sunset" came about because the

saxophon-ist was inspired by a

Gene Ammons arrangement from

1960. This may have been Rice's

finest moment of the afternoon,

the point where his playing rose

above musical pleasantry to

something more than spinning

well worn, audience-pleasing

phrases. The notes danced from

his horn and were met with

complementary offerings from

Jones, Moose, and Hull. There

were actually a couple of

audience members dancing to the

resulting art.

All things must end, however, and

Rice kicked off "That's All" as a

suitable concert closer. The group

was applauded and the

equipment was packed up, but

not before an announcement was

made of the season's final concert

next Sunday, a date with Three

Brothers and a Distant Cousin, an

ad hoc outfit comprising some

amazing local jazz musicians.

Rice, trio ably represent eras

of Great American Songbook