LIVE: Sounds of the Hall @ Universal Preservation Hall, 3/4/2020

To follow the grand opening of the Universal Preservation Hall on February 29th, it was appropriate to have two local musical performers that played the venue before it was transformed to the 670 plus seat showcase it now is to be the second performance.

The Dylan Perrillo Orchestra played here back in 2015 with David Amram. LIVE: David Amram & the Dylan Perrillo Orchestra @ Universal Preservation Hall, 7/17/15

Chuck Lamb has played here on several occasions with his own bands and as a member of the Brubeck Brothers. LIVE: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet @ Universal Preservation Hall, 8/1/14 & LIVE: The Chuck Lamb Band @ Universal Preservation Hall, 10/1/16.

To convey the feeling of viewing the performance at a jazz club, the seating on the first floor was configured with tables and chairs with the rear seats left vacant. On the other hand, those seated on the balcony got a better view of the performance as they could see the performers better.

Chuck Lamb opened with his trio featuring his longtime musical partner from the Brubeck Brothers guitarist Mike DeMicco with the unique Brian Melick, a drummer that performs without a standard trap set but with a cajon, brushes, hands, assorted cymbals and percussion. The interplay between the members of the trio was intricate. The group played a mix of standards and original compositions by Chuck and Mike. Dylan Perrillo sat on bass and Jeff Nania played saxophone on the closing number, Chuck’s Star Trek inspired composition “Prime Directive”.

The mood turned from futurism to kitschy nostalgia with Dylan Perrillo opening with the easy listening Percy Faith classic “Theme from a Summer Place”. Nick Manzella’s vocals were prominently featured with Louie Armstrong’s “Buddy’s Boogie” with the entire band singing the chorus. Popeye the Sailor’s “Barnacle Bill” per Dylan presented “sing-along” possibilities, but the audience was content enough to let Nick sing both Olive Oil and Brutus’ parts.

Chuck, Mike and Brian then joined the Orchestra for a wild version of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” that was as avant-garde as it was exotic. The final number Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow” gave solo room to everybody. Nick Manzella brought the house down with that line “Love is like a faucet, it turns off and on. Sometimes when you think its on baby, its turned off and gone”.

An unusual pairing of bands that worked, as everybody appeared to be truly having fun.

Photo Gallery by Rudy Lu

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