Vic Juris @ Trumpets Jazz Club

I finally had the opportunity to get out and hear some live music this weekend, last night at Trumpet’s Jazz Club.  Even though the club is only a few blocks from my apartment, it took the encouragement of my friend Sean to finally make it out there to see a show.

It was also the first time that I heard Vic Juris perform live, I only knew that he was one of the legends of the New Jersey jazz scene and a professor at Mason Gross in New Brunswick.  Knowing nothing about the venue, the group, or even much about Juris, I was prepared to be surprised.

Juris was there with an organ trio playing original compositions and arrangements for an upcoming recording date on the SteepleChase label.  Unfortunately, SteepleChase records are notoriously difficult to track down in the United States, so Juris joked that this performance might be our only chance to hear his music.

Sadly, the internet has failed to elucidate the names of his sidemen, an organist and an especially fine drummer whose names I don’t remember.  If you know their names, let me know in an e-mail or leave a comment.  Juris, though, was clearly the star of the show. His improvisations kept me listening closely, always throwing in musical moments whose flawless execution made my jaw drop, or whose subtle inflection resonated throughout my body.

I’m a big fan of the organ trio sound, and really dug the way Juris stretched its boundaries over the course of his set.  The songs ranged in style from wacky-distorted free jazz moments to straight-ahead swing to Soulive-esque rocking out.  My personal favorite was a Vic Juris original written as a tribute to Eddie Harris, in 11/4 time.  The drummer had big ears, and tastefully set up and followed along with the various musical twists and turns Juris had laid out for the evening.

All in all, a great set — I’m glad that I got out of the house to hear it.  The venue was a little disappointing — the fake plants and strange lighting reminded me of a Shari’s — but the music was certainly worthwhile.  So keep an eye out for Vic Juris — if he’s coming your way, check him out.  And if you figure out how to buy a record from SteepleChase, this one might be worth checking out!

About arodjazz

Writer, trombonist, and PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology exploring the complexity of today's jazz world
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3 Responses to Vic Juris @ Trumpets Jazz Club

  1. Ryan says:

    Shari’s. HA. Most east coasters won’t get it, but so true.

    • arodjazz says:

      Good point — for those of you who have never been to Shari’s, think of a cross between IHOP and Olive Garden.

  2. Kristine says:

    I appreciate your having come out to hear Vic Juris. He is a great player. I’ll find out the sidemen for you from him and post them.

    Sorry you were disappointed in our venue. I can’t understand how you can compare us to a mid-west fast food restaurant. All of our food is prepared fresh. Did you even try it?

    Yes, we have silk flowers, because we have to decorate around the poles and without any windows, there is no sunlight and I’m not about to put in plant lights… and risk bugs in the dirt, when there is food being served at the tables. We have recessed lighting.. Nothing wrong with that.. and LED lighting on stage.. Were you here before or after we extended our stage?

    We have GREAT and internationally renowned, as well as local (who are also well-known all over the world) musicians perform here regularly. Ted Curson, Bucky Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Marlene Verplanck, Angela Bofill, Dave Valentin, Dave Samuels, Chuck Loeb, Ronny Jordan, Stanley Jordan, Marion Meadows, Michael Lington, Harry Allen… and many, many more.

    Our customers love our room, because it is small and intimate and they can sit close to the musicians and meet them afterwards.

    It is OK to put the club down, but you really don’t know anything about it.. and if it were to close.. you’d just have one more restaurant in a town of 38,000 that already has 135… Trumpets is recognized as a premiere jazz club. We have great talent, good food and lots of camaraderie. Perhaps you need to come back and hear some more good talent.

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