Bright, Glad, They're Al Blues
L-R: Charlie McCarthy, Al Molina, Al Bent, Peter Barshay, Larry Chinn (Photo by Jessica Levant)
The stage lighting could have been brighter, and probably it will be made so, but the mainstream jazz was made to sparkle off the brass sass of Al Molina's band on Election Night, with trumpeter Al partnered by Charlie McCarthy on tenor sax, Al Bent on trombone, and second set guest trumpeter Dave Bendigkeit. Together with the luminous rhythm section of pianist Larry Chinn, bassist Peter Barshay, and drummer Vince Lateano, it made for "Seven Steps to Heaven", a much easier ascent than had been Hilary Clinton's to Democratic candidacy. The horns traded solos handsomely, with the bandleader interpolating a surprise quote from Lohengrin ("Here comes the bride") in Miles Davis's "All Blues", and later taking out his handkerchief to fan Charlie's hot swing session on the same tune. In an extended solo on "Out of Nowhere", Charlie showcased his sassy but suave downtown tone, to be followed by Larry's pretty keyboard tickle and Peter's vigorous humming stroll. Folks must have voted early, because they'd packed the place for the first set, with others waiting outside the door. Al Molina graces the 7 Mile with his presence and participation often, and by the next time he gets his own Tuesday, on July 5th, the nation will be done with its primaries and another year older.