John Nastos & E4
March 3, 2008
John Nastos –
Alto and tenor saxophones
Giberson – Keyboards
Erskine – Electric bass
worried about the future of jazz, get out to hear
John Nastos and his peers and you’ll be reassured that
it’s in good hands. John
is one of our own, having gone off to
the prestigious Manhattan School of Music and, fortunately for us,
returned to Portland.
He was selected by
Darrell Grant to be this year’s Leroy
Vinnegar Institute’s featured young musician during the
Portland Jazz Festival. For
the LVI concert he brought his musical
colleague, pianist Sam Harris, from Manhattan, to perform with local
luminaries, bassist Dave Captein, with Alan Jones and Drew Shoals
John has been filling in
for Warren Rand since high
he’s leading his own
bands. John is a
poised bandleader, a
skilled straight ahead player and he composes, as well.
It’s truly a breath of fresh air to
compositions and arrangements.
In his E4 band is Clay
Giberson, Drew Shoals and Damian
Erskine. They open
with a delightful Softly as in a Morning
Sunrise with John
on Tenor. It is
full of surprises, which
I like, tender and melodic, then John has something to say, and
playing is initially lush,
then abstract, and John brings the melody back.
Up in the Air
has a great
back-beat which Drew handles with élan.
Then they do a ballad, which Clay begins with
a pretty melody. John
is expressive and Drew and Damien
provide subtle support. John
tells us he
wrote the next tune a few years ago and that it has a funny name, Weasel Socks.
It’s super fun and funky,
with John on
alto and Clay on electric keyboard.
lovely, with John on tenor. Next
is Drew’s tune, Equal To or Greater
Than and they invite Ben Darwish to sit
on the electric keyboard and
Damian keeps the baseline funky. John’s
alto is beautiful on Prism.
takes a powerful solo on The Last Chief and
John soars. It
doesn’t get much better than this; fresh
arrangements and original tunes.
There’s a whole
cadre of young talent in Portland, right
now. I hope
you’ll get out and support these
outstanding, young musicians and make them feel rewarded for carrying
John’s jazz website. It’s
the best one for what’s going on in Portland! www.jazzpdx.org