Mike Melvoin plays so beautifully! I had a great time hangin with him, Tony Dumas and Ralph Penland at the gig that I MC at the Westin. I got to spend some nice time hangin’ with these cats before and after the show. Mike is a super guy and plays some wonderfully intriguing melodies. We talked about jazz music, jazz radio and one of my old cohorts, “The King of Jazz Radio”, Mr. Chuck Niles. Chuck had a local television show on Channel 36 here in Los Angeles and that is where I first saw Mike Melvoin perform. You could tell that he and Chuck had been good buddies for a long time.
Mike’s playing was just as superb as on the show with Chuck. He came up playing piano in the television industry for various television shows but, has always remained a great jazz pianist. Tonight he employs some of the more outstanding talents that this town has to offer. Ralph Penland, leader of his own group, the Penland Polygon Quintet, has such supple qualities to his playing. He is right there in a dynamic way making confident statements without overpowering the beauty of the trio. A quality the Mike appreciates very much.
On bass is Mr. Tony Dumas who has played with everyone from Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs, Cedar Walton, George Cables, Art Pepper and more. Before the show, Tony was warming up and playing a bass line that I was quite familiar with. It was from one of my favorite tunes by Joe Henderson called, “Y Todavia la Quiero” from an album called “Relaxin’ in Camarillo”. I was so excited because this particular tune was one I played quite often on my overnight program at KKJZ. The bass line is so strong and is such a powerful signature for that tune; I did not even realize that Tony was the bass player on that date. It was like finding a long lost cousin!