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Reviews
Night of the Cookers Revisited 2
Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Let me start off by saying this was not just another "Sunday Serenade". August 16Th marked one year that "Very Truly Yours Consultants Inc" has been doing concerts at the Bassline in Mount Vernon, N.Y. and this was one hell of a celebration. October 26th 2008 was the first "Night of the Cookers Revisited" and that was a take no prisoners concert. It took ten months for "Very Truly Yours" to bring back the exact same band to see if they could duplicate what had happened last October. "Night of the Cookers Revisited 2" as the concert was billed, left everyone at the Bassline out for the count. Patience Higgins, Bruce Harris, Kenyatta Beasley along with Marcus Persiani, Dezron Douglas and Chuck McPherson might not be your household names of this music, but collectively they left no doubt that they can deliver the message as well as any of the bigger names of this music.

With a very close to capacity crowd on hand, the afternoon started off with the Lee Morgan original "Something Cute". It took no time before you realized that this was going to be one heck of an afternoon at the Bassline. The amazing thing is that this is not a working band and they had forty-five minutes to get the tunes down before they hit the bandstand. Now that is what Jazz is all about. This tune featured some interesting bass lines by Dezron Douglas and a killer solo by Kenyatta. Each soloist sounded like they were going to frolic there way with each and every solo taken. The next tune was another Lee Morgan original the beautiful "Ceora". This featured Kenyatta Beasley on flugelhorn. The young man from New Orleans definitely has some chops. Talking about chops, Bruce Harris though I hear Clifford Brown in his playing, you can hear that he has all the tools and slowly but surely is fast becoming a voice on the trumpet that will have to be reckoned with. I'd also like to mention Marcus Persiani's beautiful intro as well as a solo that was a thing of beauty. The group followed "Ceora" with a Wayne Shorter composition "United" and this featured Patience on soprano saxophone. I loved Patience's intro on this tune and his solo was very direct and to the point before Kenyatta and Bruce followed with some fantastic solos of their own. The bass solo by Dezron Douglas was one that had Bruce and Kenyatta smiling with their approval. Chuck McPherson then took an amazing solo with the brushes that was right on the money before the group took it out.

Bruce Harris was featured with the rhythm section on the beautiful standard by Richard Whiting & Newell Chase "My Ideal". Marcus was so tasteful with his work on piano playing behind Bruce on this piece. Dezron has this big fat sound that lends itself so nicely no matter what the situation. As I stated earlier you can see Bruce coming of age with each concert and make no mistake about it he can play a ballad. The first set closed with the rarely heard Freddie Hubbard original "Bob's Place". From the first solo by Kenyatta you knew that they were going to have you wishing that the first set would never end. Patience followed Kenyatta with one of his best solos of the afternoon. Bruce tore into his solo like a lion that hadn't eaten in a while. I have to tell you with the bombs being dropped by Chuck McPherson on drums no soloist was safe. The front line traded fours while Chuck let them know that he was up for anything they wanted to do. I might add that had to be one of the most spirited and enthusiastic trading of fours that I have ever heard. At one point Kenyatta was up on his toe nails while Chuck was throwing down everything he had to keep him right there. You had to see all the band members looking at Chuck smiling and grinning and wondering what else was he going to drop on them. A packed house was on their feet yelling and screaming with the way in which they brought the first set to a close.

It didn't take long before we all saw that this band didn't leave everything they had at the break, when they opened up with the Kenny Dorham composition "Lotus Flower". They were all back and ready to start where they left off. They swung though "Lotus Flower" before getting into another rarely heard Freddie Hubbard original "The 7th Day". This had Kenyatta back on flugelhorn. Patience's solo was amazing as he started on the upper registers of the tenor before working his way through the rest of the horn. This reminded this listener of tenor saxophonist John Gilmore who was with Freddie on the original recording. Make no mistake about it, there was a young man standing off to the side that was ready to take the solo of the afternoon. Bruce Harris's solo was chorus after chorus of brilliant imagination while Chuck was yelling all kinds of encouragement while dropping everything he had in the drum kit on the young man. I'm sure Freddie would have loved what they did with the "7th Day". The next tune featured Kenyatta Beasley on flugelhorn doing "What's New". It was a beautiful piece for Mr. Beasley and the rhythm section. Next up was the Kenny Dorham classic "Una Mas". You could see they had a ball playing this piece. The final tune of the afternoon was Clifford Brown's "Sweet Clifford". This piece featured Kenyatta and Bruce trading licks while Chuck was yelling encouragement and bombing away. These two Lions were at their best and had the crowd hollering and screaming for more. It got so hot that Patience turned to me with this big smile on his face and said "they sure don't need any saxophone here". What a way to conclude one amazing afternoon of music. Special mention goes out to Marcus Persiani for putting together all the music along with Bruce Harris.

These concerts are like nothing I have ever experienced. Musicians having a ball while their adoring fans are crying for more and mobbing a stage to shake hands with their heroes of the afternoon. You have to wonder if it can possibly get better than this, but we have been saying this for one year now and it has never failed. This music needs to be caught live because words could never express what is taking place at these "Sunday Serenades". After each and every concert VTY has you looking forward to their next presentation and hopefully you'll be part of all the fun.
- Arnie Perez
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