Expect the unusual from Jazz combo The Usual Suspects at Relish
The delightful Jazz combo known as The Usual Suspects (or alternatively as Jordan Glick and The Usual Suspects) is anything but usual.
This tidy outfit, which combines various Jazz stylings in a playful, seemingly random but intellectual and no doubt very studied way, appears about once a month as the feature attraction for a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening at Relish on Danforth a block east of Woodbine. (They also sporadically appear on Sundays for the club’s weekly Brunch show.)
I’ve only seen them once so far, for their April appearance there, but I’m thinking it’s quite likely I’ll pop in again tonight for at least a half hour during their 7-9 return engagement in the room at 2152 Danforth Ave.
Just knowing that they’re performing at this club —which is seemingly constantly enlarging its already formidable reputation as the hotbed of live music east of Pape Ave.— is probably enough of an endorsement without having to go on about their musical prowess at length.
Nevertheless, it’s worth lauding a few of their particular strengths. Keyboard player Steve Koven is well known as a Jazz monster and while I’m not previously familiar with the eponymous skins-tapper Mr. Glick, I was very impressed that he was able to direct the interplays of mood, tempo and vibe between Koven and inventive, captivating guitar player Jeff Hewar —as well as combining with bassist Artie Roth to give the bottom-end some flavour of its own to go along with all the musical hijinks of the other two.
An interesting wrinkle (and I don’t know if this is a regular thing or just a one-off but it’s another good reason to stop in tonight to find out) was introduced when young chanteuse Shira Gellman joined the band for several tunes, some of which she sang in Portugese and others that were familiar Pop Jazz standards —though with musical shadings that made them feel fresh.
One of the songs Gellman did with the band was a slow, sweet but moody, romantic yet menacing number on which Roth played the bass in such a way that, closing your eyes, you could have sworn there was a cello on board.
Remarkably, there’s no cover for this show, but you might want to go there for dinner ahead of time in order to guarantee a good seat –it was pretty well attended the night I was there for this group and I won’t be surprised when they start getting lineups at the door.
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