Jazz legend Jon Mayer kicks off tour and packs Saville Theatre

Evonne Ermey

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Evonne Ermey
City Times

The Saville Theatre opened to a full house Feb. 12 as jazz fans stood chocked up against the sidewalk and ticket window for a chance to listen to the Jon Mayer Trio.

The ensemble, which consists of veteran jazz pianist Jon Mayer, bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Roy McCurdy satiated the audience with a 90 minute set that included everything from emotive ballads to schizophrenic bop beats with a little bit of bossa nova wedged in.

Jon Mayer emerged on the jazz scene in the late 1950’s and has performed with some of Jazz’s most celebrated artists including Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, and Sarah Vaughn. Originally from New York, Mayer took a 13-year hiatus from the music scene in the late 70’s when he relocated to California, then reemerged as a force on the Jazz circuit once again in 1991.

Many of the compositions performed were chosen from Jon Mayer’s most recent album, “So Many Stars” and his 2006 release, “My Romance.” The trio showed off their technical prowess, deftly maneuvering from complicated, barely-contained rhythms into smooth, perfectly synced melodies with ease.

Their opening song, “Never Never Land,” began with what Jon Mayer is renowned for, a piano solo. Much like its’ title, the song was playful and catchy with drums and bass building onto a breezy piano riff. “Jeanine,” another song from the “So Many Stars” album was a perfect example of the classic bebop that Mayer played in the beginning of his career, while the closing number “Azul Zarape” was a Latin flavored bossa nova arrangement spattered with intricate drum and bass solos. A standing ovation was rewarded to the trio as they exited the Saville Theatre stage.

The Jon Mayer Trio will be performing at various venues in southern California throughout Feb. and March. More information on The Jon Mayer Trio, including the tour schedule, can be found at www.jonmayer.com.

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