by W. Kim Heron
Smith told us to watch for improvements to come at the club – in keeping with its history, he emphasized. And he hinted at some surprises to come on the marquee. And the entertainment offerings for the weekend had the three legs that you’d expect to be keys to success, two generations of local cats (up-and-coming Dave Sharp on Friday and veteran Johnny Trudell on Saturday) and the national attraction on Sunday of LA pianist Mike Melvoin and vocalist (also actress) Theresa Russell.
We caught Trudell on Saturday, in fine form, with a band including George Benson on sax, Ray Tini on bass and Chuck Chuck Shermetaro on piano. Johnny kept reminding the audience, appropriately, of the club’s history and praise for the new owners poised to continue it. And his band connected to the past – classics by Diz and Bird, Herbie Hancock, the Crusaders – with an interpretive verve that made one optimistic about the future.