A foggy night
Veteran local jazz musician Charlie Haynes leads his group playfully through some classics
Having just asked me whether I’d noticed the blanket of fog covering Chico lately, Charlie Haynes walked over to his little bandstand tucked into a front corner of the 5th Street Steakhouse, picked up his flute and launched his trio into a lovely, bouncy version of the familiar Gershwin number, “A Foggy Day.” Cute, I thought! This playfulness of thinking set the tone for a lively, entertaining evening.
Haynes and crew (Charlie on mostly flute and also clarinet and alto sax; Eric Peter on seven-string Ibañez electric guitar; Richard Gibson on a very scaled-down drum kit) cover the standards—"On Green Dolphin Street,” “Bluesette,” “All the Things You Are,” “Black Orpheus"…the list goes on. The band covers the standards and covers them with expertise, inventiveness and pizzazz, as only a group of seasoned jazzers such as these three can.
“Fly Me to the Moon” burst out of the starting gate with Haynes on flute and Gibson tastefully using brushes on his tiny kit consisting of snare, hi-hat and ride cymbal. Peter joined the fast-tempo action after their first time through the song with his well-honed (from accompanying his wife, singer Holly Taylor) rhythm/chord playing, where he is performing the function of both bass player and guitarist. At one point in the soloing, Haynes quoted a little section from “All the Things You Are,” one of the earlier tunes of the evening—a nice touch, and something he seemed to like to do all evening: quote snippets of other tunes. It became a bit of a game trying to identify the different songs he was quickly throwing in there. I heard bits of “My Favorite Things,” “Tenor Madness,” Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” even the theme from “Mission Impossible"!
The trio closed the three-hour show with a very peppy "Straight, No Chaser," the well-known Thelonius Monk tune, which prompted one little boy to jump onto the floor in front of the group and start dancing! Haynes blew everyone away on alto sax; Peter—really warmed up by this time—tore through flawless guitar runs; Gibson—in this final number and throughout the entire night—was delightful to hear and watch playing his oh-so-appropriate licks. Overall, this talented jazz group provided great dinner music for the Sunday-night crowd chowing down and whooping it up at the Steakhouse.