|Pianist Benny Green|
When jazz pianist Benny Green plays New York jazz clubs word has it getting a ticket is nearly impossible. Those who caught Green’s concert Saturday evening at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI experienced firsthand why he’s such a major draw. The concert was his first time performing at the venue. Green performed with his trio bassist Dave Wong and drummer Rodney Green, two jazz geniuses in the making. Before the trio played the set-list that included compositions by jazz royalty Horace Silver, Cedar Walton, and Kenny Barron, Green gave his sidemen one of the most touching introductions I’ve ever heard. To paraphrase Green, he was thrilled to reunite with them. He genuinely loves them. He thinks about them daily, and they inspired him to keep practicing and striving. Then Green turned his attention to the Kerrytown piano and put it through a workout surely it has never been subjected to before. The concert had many stunning moments. On “Pittsburgh Brethren,” “Clockwise, “and “St. Vitus Dance,” Green had the piano sweating and gasping for air during his solos. Green gave the piano a breather when the trio played the ballad “Theme for Ernie,” which Green infused with some blues licks. The only downside was Wong and Green only had a few solos. After “Theme for Ernie,” Green called two tunes by Kenny Barron “Seascape,” and “Golden Lotus”. Green can play lines just as fast as bop immortal Bud Powell could during his heyday. Most of Saturday evening, Green was playing the piano so fast I believed his fingers were going to explode.