SFX: Laughter, murmur, clinking glasses). Isn’t that Nat King Cole tending bar? Those two in the corner look like ole barfly Bukowski dropping horse racing tips for Mickey Rourke? Wait, holy moly, isn’t that Johnny Mercer nailing a song on his whisky napkin? Sitting next to the gal who’s a dead ringer for lady-day-and-night, Billy H., hibiscus flower behind the ear and all?
Now, a familiar figure topped by the customary high hat separates from the bar. It’s Howe Gelb. Now you’re in for something, folks. He sits down at the piano lets the ivories fly and tumbling out come selections from his latest solo album «Future Standards» (2016). It’s his work and it builds on and honors the tradition of greats like Sinatra, Monk, Cohen, Bacharach, Porter, Carmichael and Holliday. Adding to the Great American Songbook while doing that Howe thing. Through compositions gratuitously sprinkled and inhabited by cathartic one-liners and malleable melodies. You also get an idea what’s up when he says «Julie London had a lot to do with it.» As the waiter pours another round he goes on to explain «This is my attempt at writing a batch of tunes that could last through the ages with the relative structure of what has become known as standards. The likes of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael done up by Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday. It’s an age-old ponder embedded with a larger palate of piano chords, framed with a subtle swing beat and the hush of an upright bass moan.»
Slow dissolve to our stage (SFX: Laughter, murmur, clinking glasses). The piano’s waiting. Tonight it’s not just the crazy moon that’s gonna get your soul to moan.