Went to Piropos up in Briarcliff Village for their weekly jam on Saturday afternoon. Michael Pagan had invited me several weeks ago, but I’ve been so busy gigging on the weekends that this was the first opportunity I had to go. I saw that Bob Bowman was playing bass with him, and figured this would be a great chance to play with him.
When I got to the Piropos, it turned out that both Michael and Bob were gone this week. I was surprised, but not disappointed. Steve Rigazzi was subbing for Bob Bowman on upright bass. I hadn’t seen Steve for awhile. I knew Steve very well, as Steve and I had performed together with Rod Fleeman at Bristol Bar and Grill every Sunday for over 3 years. We’d kind of lost contact with each other when that gig ended, as Steve was very busy playing with Kim Sivils and other Kansas City jazz vocalists. We got to catch up and exchange cards again. I got to play with him as well, and of course he sounded fantastic as always. In addition to being a great soloist, Steve flat out knows how to lay down a groove. That’s probably why he’s always been in such demand by Kansas City jazz vocalists.
Joe Miquelon was subbing on piano for Michael Pagan. In addition to being an excellent jazz pianist, Joe currently performs with Irish Folk Rock Band, The Elders. I’d met Joe years ago when I performed at the Lee’s Summit Jazz and Blues Festival with my trio. It was great to get a chance to sit in with him.
I can’t say enough about drummer Brian Steever. What a great player. You can tell by the smile on his face that he’s absolutely having the time of his life when he’s drumming. Reminds me of the smile I always saw on Louie Bellson’s face. Brian is a very tasteful and imaginative soloist. I especially like his use of space and silence in his solos. I was also very impressed with his brush work. Like most of the young talented jazz musicians I’ve met in Kansas City, Brian was welcoming and seemed amazingly humble. I talked to him for just a few minutes and felt like I’d known him for years.
When it was my time to sit in, I felt like I played better than usual, no doubt having been inspired by Brian’s great playing. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.