The Lighthouse Project curated by Gene Perla
Friday, April 21, 2023, 7:30 pm
Miller Symphony Hall is excited to present the first of a series of three concerts curated and programmed by a great friend of Jazz Upstairs, Gene Perla.
Gene Perla | acoustic double bass
George Garzone | sax
Jerry Bergonzi |sax
Adam Nussbaum | drums
50 years ago, “Elvin Jones & Four Men” was the album that swung Jazz into the 70’s. It made a big, bold sound that featured Gene Perla in those historic sessions. Now, Gene is joined by modern jazz masters – a powerful quartet to mark the anniversary of this landmark album.
The Lighthouse Project is a very new group that is playing the repertoire that Gene Perla and I did with Elvin Jones in the early 70s. People really want to hear intense burning, taking no prisoners, play with balls music. We (and myself very included) think complexity is a necessity. But playing on an A minor chord with some swinging quarter notes from the bass and a ride beat that lifts off the ground does go right to the heart of the matter. And the heart is basic swinging, burning solo statements from everyone for the entire set with music that is conducive to that kind of attitude. The specter of Trane and the Classic Quartet does rise in this regard and after all Elvin was the caboose that drove that engine. What a privilege to have had a minute with Jones back then. It formed the rhythmical basis of my playing for sure. My appreciation to Adam Nussbaum who plays more like Elvin than anyone else on the planet, knowing when to rise, fall, all towards telling the story; to Gates (Gene Perla) for his commitment to every beat and the spirit of this music; and to Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone who absolutely burn every solo. Great band!
Saxophonist George Garzone is a member of The Fringe, a jazz trio founded in 1972 that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti, that performs regularly in the Boston area and has toured Portugal. The group has released three albums. A veteran jazzman, George Garzone has appeared on over 20 recordings. He began on the tenor when he was six, played in a family band and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In addition, George Garzone has guested in many situations, touring Europe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and performing with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Rachel Z and John Patitucci among others.
Garzone is well-known as a sought-after jazz educator, currently teaching at the Berklee College of Music. He has also previously taught at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Northeastern University and the New School University. He has pioneered the Triadic Chromatic Approach, an improvisation concept which has his own signature in the jazz improvisation vocabulary.
The first edition of the Triadic Chromatic Approach was released in DVD format. In 2020 George Garzone is releasing the second part of the Triadic Chromatic Approach and other educational books related with his concept and his music.
In his never ending teaching career, great musicians of the actual scene have been students of George Garzone, like Joshua Redman, Teadross Avery, Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek, Luciana Souza, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Doug Yates, Danilo Perez and the Grammy-Winning Drummer Antonio Sanchez, to name a few.
In 1995 he recorded a fine tribute to Stan Getz on NYC called Alone; Four’s and Two’s followed a year later with compatriot Joe Lovano which earned him four stars in Downbeat magazine, and in 1999 Garzone returned with Moodiology. Fringe in New York was released in summer 2000. He is a member of the Grammy-winning Joe Lovano Nonet, and performed and recorded with this group On This Day … Live At The Vanguard in September 2002.
In January 2019 George Garzone with Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua and Darek Oles had a three night concert-recording session which became a Three CD recording called Three Nights in L.A., which became a favorite of many critics like Downbeat Magazine and All about jazz.
Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author, and educator.
Bergonzi has performed throughout the world at all the major jazz festivals and jazz venues, with his own ensembles as well as with numerous jazz greats. His music is renowned for its innovation, mastery, and integrity. His discography includes more than 60 recordings, notably Standard Gonz with the Jerry
Bergonzi Quartet on the Blue Note label; he also has 60 recorded song titles registered with ASCAP.
As a clinician Bergonzi has taught at conservatories and music schools throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is the author of a series of instructional books with play-along CDs and videos, entitled Inside Improvisation, published by Advance Music (seven volumes: Melodic Structures, Pentatonics, Jazz Line, Melodic Rhythms, Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies, Developing a Jazz Language, and Hexatonics), as well as the book/CD set Sound Advice. The Inside Improvisation series is now available in French, German, and Italian translations.
Bergonzi is a three-time NEA grant recipient.
Gene Perla grew up in northeastern New Jersey attending public school grades 1-12. After one year of post graduate study at New York Militarjgvzy Academy he entered the University of Toledo majoring in civil engineering and business. He then attended Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory before heading to New York City.
At age five Gene’s musical studies began with classical piano. Upon entering high school he was given a trombone which he played for five years culminating in marching on Fifth Avenue in New York City as part of the Memorial Day Parade. During high school he became aware of jazz and was thrilled to attend the first New York performance of Ted Heath’s big band at Carnegie Hall. It wasn’t until his last year at TU that his interest in music became primary.
After struggling with too many notes, and thanks to Charlie Haden’s performance on Ornette Coleman’s "The Shape Of Jazz To Come,” Perla, at 24, switched to the bass as his main instrument. Not long after arriving in the City his talents became in demand and he found joy in performing with artists such as Willie
As an educator Mr. Perla has taught at William Paterson University, New School University, Center for the Media Arts and is currently at Lehigh University. Sound design has been a significant endeavor yielding credits on Broadway shows, theme parks and custom installations.
Having a business sense, Gene has continuously expanded his activities to include music publishing, record labels, recording studios, promotional firms, Internet design and hosting and computer networking businesses as vehicles for his ideas.
Adam Nussbaum is considered one of the finest drummers working today. He's played with a virtual "Who's Who" in the jazz world. Longtime associates have included: John Abercrombie, Michael & Randy Brecker, Eliane Elias, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Vic Juris, James Moody, John Scofield, Joe Sample, Ohad Talmor, ‘Toots' Thielemans, Kenny Wheeler & NHØP, as well as freelancing with prominent artists of every generation, being a major asset no matter where he appears.
Nussbaum has recently formed the Lead Belly Project. He has also joined forces with other musicians to form such groups as “BANN” w/Seamus Blake, Jay Anderson & Oz Noy, “We3” w/Dave Liebman & Steve Swallow, "The Impossible Gentlemen" w/Gwilym Simcock, Steve Rodby & Mike Walker, “The Nuttree Quartet" w/John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi & Gary Versace and "The ZZ Quartet w/Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini & Martin Gjakanovski. He's been on hundreds of recordings, including the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home” recorded with Michael Brecker.
In addition, Nussbaum reaches out to the next generation. He is an in-demand educator doing Clinics and Master Classes, teaching at such institutions as Berklee, NYU, State University of New York, the New School, and at numerous Conservatories around the world.
His abilities have brought opportunities for him to work with the finest makers of all things drum-related. Working with Sonor drums, he helped design a line in the “HiLite” series. In conjunction with Zildjian cymbals, Nussbaum helped developed the “Renaissance” & "Pre-Aged” K. Zildjian cymbals. He also coproduced with Hudson Music, "The Art of Playing Brushes."
He was born in New York City and grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for five years; he also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. He eventually focused on drums.