Jazz pianist Charles Gigliotti pounded on the ivories to accompany alto crooner Carolyn Hartsfield on Nov. 20 at Quinnipiac’s Clarice L. Buckman Theatre.
Gigliotti and Hartsfield, who performed as part of the 2002-2003 Sonny Costanzo concert series, were accompanied by Gigliotti’s son John on drums and bassist Lou Bacarelli.
Featured as a soloist for the Hartford Jazz Society, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Wesleyan University-based, classic “Big Band” group, the New World Consort, Gigliotti has also graved the stage with several jazz legends including Ruby Braff, Bobby Hackett, James Moody and Mel Torme
Gigliotti played solo for the opening act in tribute to ballad pianist Bill Evans’ melody, “Waltz for Debbie,” and was then joined by the rest of the trio.
The group opened up with the skip-along, walking bass line tune, “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” for the full house of foot-tapping, 60-somethings.
The trio continued to play five more waltzes including the Cuban, bossanova influenced “Happylipso,” saxist Sonny Rawlins’ loose rewrite of “Dixie” and fast-fingered pianist Art Tatum’s “Stompin’ at the Savoy.”
After the trio finished its set, Gigliotti took over as emcee and introduced the robust Hartsfield, who pushed her way on stage and jumped in with the Bobby Troup written, Nat King Cole-made-famous tune “Route 66.”
Hartfield’s performance repertoire includes several venues throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts including the historic Lighthouse Inn and the Gilson Theatre in Winsted.
The North Carolina-bred singer’s musical style curves around healthy and variated personal interpretations of Latin, blues and rhythm and blues inspired pieces.
Throwing in several footnotes of history and side-cut jokes throughout the performance, Gigliotti and Hartsfield worked well together, emanating a traditional and charismatic atmosphere, characteristic of an old-time blues bar.
Overhead lights struck down on Hartsfield as she perched on a tall stool and sang a deep-voiced version of “Young and Foolish” followed by a loud and jovial belting out of “Bobbles, Bangles and Beads.”
Hartfield’s rendition of “Black Coffee,” reminiscent of Sarah Vaughn-types, and last song on the set, soft ballad, “Some Other Time,” brought the audience to an eruption of applause.
After Hartsfield and her trio took a bow, the jazz bunch took their place again and performed a three-song encore which featured upbeat jazz-pop songs, “Falling in Love with Love” and “Until I Met You.”
Upcoming Sonny Costanzo Concert Series performances include Dixieland-based Preservation Hall Jazz Band and jazz crooner Steve Tyrell.
These shows will be held March 26 and April 30, 2003. The concerts are free and open to the public. For information, call 582-8652. For tickets, call 582-8937.