by W. Kim Heron
Belgrave's new album, a mixture of standards and love-song originals, is Excitable, and it's having its official release with two nights at the Kerrytown Concert House, Friday and Saturday, with shows at 8 p.m. Admission is $25. The crack band is helmed by Belgrave's husband, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, with Charlie Gabriel on sax, Gayelynn McKinney on drums, Jeff Halsey on bass and Simon Fortner on piano.
Followers of the local jazz scene should recognize all of those names, with the exception, likely, of Fortner. Anyone who knows Belgrave should know about his ear for young talent, from Kenny Garrett and Geri Allen, through more recent Belgrave picks, notably Chicago trumpeter Corey Wilkes, now recording as a leader and with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Belgrave came across New Orleans-born Fortner in his teacher duties at Oberlin, and tapped him to play on Joan's disc and now this gig. He's a name to remember. "Swinging Charles," as we call him, was particularly taken with Fortner's way with backing vocals, an art in and of itself.
These two nights of music, btw, are part of the Kerrytown's 25th anniversary celebration. In this economy, seeing a vital institution like Kerrytown mark such an anniversary is cause for celebration.