Small Town NC… Big Town Jazz

A beauty of staying put for a bit is the chance to get involved in local events. Last night was a real treat as a well known Jazz Quartet played at the Old Town Theater just three blocks from our temporary slip. This event provided an upbeat end to what was for us three full days of steady rain and wind, several books, and numerous games of solitaire below.
The theater, first built in 1945 has been restored to host local civic and cultural events as well as the performing home of the Oriental Repertory Company. The max capacity sign says 170…but that would have to be standing room only. With seats all the way to the rear being just 10-12 paces from the performers it is an intimate venue for the small group, in this case the Gregg Gelb Jazz Quartet.

The music was excellent. Pianist Steve Anderson displayed superb talent from the soft chord progressions supporting the group to fantastic solo improvisation. Gregg Gelb, quartet lead, is masterful on both tenor sax and the clarinet. It is the clarinet however, where true jazz soul came through as he shaped the tone and pitch to match the mood and interplay of the quartet. Gregg’s son Chris Gelb on drums was very impressive as he picked up key riffs and drove every transition forward in a style somewhat like what Buddy Rich did for the big band, but tailored perfectly to the quartet. He is an artist I expect to hear more of down the road. Paul Ingbretsen rounded out the quartet on bass moving so easily through progressions it belied the difficulty and technique required putting down the quartet foundation. Excellent night of Jazz…who’d of thought it would come right to our rail here in Oriental?


Anonymous said...

Oriental looks like a great place to stay for the winter! Enjoy. BTW, we bought a little house in St. Pete. We're keeping the boat in the marina. If you're back this way, you are more than welcome to stay on the boat.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Ellen & Gordon

Anne and Chris said...

Sounds like fun! The closest we've come to culture (at least, music) lately is the tunes blasting off of tour boats that motor near our anchorage. You're in a perfect position to write a Port Guide on Oriental for the SSCA website. We'll certainly look to it when we get to Oriental.

Take care!