LIVE: Joe Finn Quintet @ Jazz on Jay, 09/02/2021

It’s now September and the nip of autumn is in the air. There was no threat of rain. Skies were sunny and temperatures were comfortable after a summer of high humidity and the constant threat of rain. In many ways, jazz is the music that celebrates autumn (Autumn in NY) and spring (April in Paris). The Jazz on Jay series has been extended into September so it could not be more appropriate than to start the month with guitarist Joe Finn and his band.

The swinging Joe Finn quintet plays jazz in a melodic swinging manner as in days of yore. Joe Finn and Michael Benedict take the lead in these melodies. Joe with the ringing full-bodied tone of his hollow-body electric frequently joined by Mike on vibes. Wayne Hawkins piano added to the fullness of the sound, with Mike Lawrence and Pete Sweeney on drums giving the band the drive and the steadiness. Most of the tunes are from Joe’s latest self-released CD “As Luck Would Have It”.

Opening with “Asymmetrical Reflections”, the harmonies of the vibes easily blended together as the header followed by a Mike Lawrence bass solo.

“Born Yesterday” reflected the influence of Dexter Gordon with its steady groove.

“Purity of Essence” swung like crazy.

The influence of the wide dynamics and pounding rhythms of the late McCoy Tyner’s compositions were obviously stated and easily heard with the composition “As Luck Would Have It”. Wayne Hawkins was more than equal to the task of showing the essence with the Tyner Sound on piano with Pete Sweeney adding swing to the sound. The band all but took off from the ground.

One standard was performed, Dizzy Gillespie’s “Birks Works”.

The set ended with a tribute to the late Jim Ullom, a stalwart jazz fan in Albany, who was a constant at the scene’s nightspots until he passed “Blue Ullom”.

The series continues next week with vocalist Maggie MacDougall performing the music of Brazil. She has reported she has been brushing up on her Portuguese in preparing for this gig. Hope to see you there.


Asymmetrical Reflections
Born Yesterday
Purity of Essence
Come What May
As Luck Would Have It
As Though I Had Wings
The Good Word
Birks Works

Photo Gallery by Rudy Lu

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