I’ve often enjoyed Pershing Square Café’s wonderful breakfast specials and especially their legendary pancakes. After enjoying an early evening of swinging jazz across town at Birdland Jazz Club, I walked east from 8th Ave through Times Square on 42nd Street, past Bryant Park and Grand Central towards peaceful Tudor City. Nestled next to Grand Central where Park Avenue intersects 42nd Street is the Pershing Square Café. Tonight, it looked like the perfect quiet place for a post-jazz bite.
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Swinging big band music was hot in Manhattan! From the moment the Tony Kadleck Big Band began their set at the Birdland Jazz Club, we tapped our toes and jumped to a tasteful, tight, polished sound, solid rhythm section, cats burnin’ solos, and sophisticated superb arrangements by trumpeter and band leader Kadleck.
Wendel’s songs are strikingly original, expressive, and extraordinarily inventive. His ideas and improvisations are freely chromatic, virtuosic, and organic, and he employed subtle be-bop idioms when it suited him. His facility is so commanding that he regularly reaches into the stratosphere of the tenor saxophone’s extended range. Notably, he can express ideas with the restraint of Lester Young while employing the pyrotechnics of Charlie Parker.
Charlap is a virtuoso with full command of his musical voice on the piano who, with his fellow artists, lifted spirits and touched hearts. Fitting his artistic soul and imagination, Charlap played with passion, rich cinematic grace, and delicacy. His fiery offerings were an elegant, eloquent creative commentary that created energy and excitement.
Amanda Green and Friends opened the show with a monologue of suggestive and comical jokes, which brought the crowd’s enthusiasm to a roar, and she followed with a song from her long list of repertoire. She has a pleasant voice and throws in just enough indecent words to keep you laughing. Green told the audience she had written all the lyrics for the songs that were performed during the evening, so her special talents were on display for over an hour by the various guests who shared her words.