Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Johannes Enders

Where: The Kitano
Who: Johannes Enders (saxophone), Don Friedman (piano), Martin Wind (bass), Tony Jefferson (drums)

I didn't know these musicians before tonight, but I'll use almost any excuse to go to the jazz club at the Kitano New York Hotel. Stroll through the lobby, past the plump Botero sculpture (what's with Boteros and jazz? There are several Boteros in Time Warner Center, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center), up the stairs to the left, down the walkway, and you're in a jewelbox of a venue: low ceilings, comfy chairs, wood paneling, lighted glass cabinets with crystal on the shelves, and a corner with floor to ceiling windows.

It's like hearing jazz in your living room, if your living room overlooks Park Avenue.

The schedule online said that Billy Hart would be the drummer, and that's a name I do know; I've seen Hart play several times, most recently in August last year at the Vanguard with Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, and Mark Turner. Turns out Hart was sick and Tony Jefferson stepped up, which may have caused some anxiety for Enders, who was doing a live CD recording (and who had played with Hart before; we're not sure about Jefferson). But everything sounded fine from where we sat at the bar drinking bourbon and sharing crepe cake (layers and layers of crepes with something sweet and creamy in between).

Born in Bavaria, Enders was billed as the "German sensation," and he played a good horn, surprisingly straight-ahead given his most recent CD, Ender's Room, a far more pop/electronic outing. The room was full, which I wasn't expecting given the night (Thursday) and the temperature (cold). Gino Moratti, who does the booking, told me that Kitano is finally catching on and you have to arrive early to get a table. That's good news. The other times I've been there (to see Tom Harrell, for example, and Lewis Nash) the crowd has been thin.

Photos: Anders and Wind. The band and the room.

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