Planet D Nonet at KCH

RJ Spangler and James O’Donnell’s Planet D Nonet played Kerrytown Concert House for an enthusiastic audience on May 19. Their program was totally from their recent CD Blues to Be There reviewed in our March issue, and they even included a printed program of what was played, which seldom happens at jazz concerts but is standard practice in European classical music.

There were many notable solos this evening, but what really stood out was the collective group feeling (esprit de corps) of the Nonet. Maybe this was particularly notable for a group that celebrated the achievements of the work of Duke Ellington and his orchestra. Spangler served as the affable front man for the group seated right front of the group but he gladly acknowledged the contributions of his co-leader. O’Donnell delivered some powerful solos in the upper stratosphere but was balanced this night by Charlie Miller’s carefully crafted and full-toned solos, for instance on “Juniflip.” Christopher Tabaczynski was impressive throughout on tenor sax and clarinet; at times he reminded me of Paul Gonsalves. Alex Colista’s alto and Goode Wyche III’s baritone also stood out. Trombonist John “T-Bone” Paxton got some competition in the vocal department from O’Donnell who did some did some gravely Louis Armstrong-inspired numbers with great aplomb. Michael Zaporski contributed several appropriate solos on the piano.

It was gratifying to hear from Spangler how the Nonet has been climbing on the jazz charts in recent months. They deserve applause from audiences everywhere. We are lucky we have them in our backyard!

ABOVE: Congero and bandleader RJ Spangler using his beret in an attempt to cool tenorist Chris Tabaczynski, whose fiery solos were one of the highlights of the evening at Kerrytown Concert House.