Two of the finest voices and a number of other strong artists in jazz lent their support last night to the Parker-Coltrane PAC benefit at Charlie's.
Ballad master Johnny Hartman, who recorded with Coltrane, fitted his smooth baritone and gentle way of swing to "Sweet Lorraine" and then got bouncing with "On a Clear Day." He was as at ease with reflective tone poems as he was with the up-tempo burners.
Clea Bradford made personal messages of several leisurely standards and when she stepped up the time, she lifted the room en masse on every beat. Her supple and elastic voice was cucumber cool on "All Blues" and her initial whispers of "Over the Rainbow" soon became hothouse hornbursts. Pianist Stef Scaggiari, bassist Lou Hines and drummer Keith Kilgo were strong in support of both singers.
Alto saxophonist Gary Bartz, filling in for a canceling Freddie Hubbard, opened with a gizelle-paced stair-climber on Trane's "Impressions" and then bopped the changes on Bird's "Confirmation." He was moved along by a hard-working trio of pianist Bob Butta, bassist James Glenn and drummer Billy Murphy. Saxists Ron Holloway and Carl Grubbs nicely augmented the group for several numbers, vocalist Eve Cornelious got mean on "Ain't Nobody's Business" (with pianist Yusef Saaleem accompanying) and Billy Taylor improvised with one hand (his left) on Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."