Marianne Mangan, “Jazz a la Palazzo, Jersey Jazz, January 2010
Many a terrific hot jazz musician has a smooth side. A sweet tone. A way of
playing that makes you say “Isn't that pretty!” So when inferno-style
clarinetist Joe Licari and one-time incendiary trumpeter and longtime
keyboard stylist Larry Weiss play duets at Palazzo Restaurant the only real
surprise is that subtly swinging is about as far into hot territory as they go.
And you know what? It's far enough!
In fact, the duo is called Swing Time, and what they do is play American
standards beautifully. Gerswhin, Rodgers & Hart-all the classic composers,
movie songs, show songs, some jazz favorites that don't set off any smoke
alarms: these musicians have been in business a boatload of years and they
have absorbed a ton of tunes.
Licari, of the emotive attack, rich color, and flying fingers, has worked
alongside such luminaries as Roy Eldridge, “Wild Bill” Davison, Conrad Janis,
“Big Chief” Russell Moore, Connie Kay, Bob Haggart, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee
Irwin and Doc Cheatham, and with the vocalist Julie Wilson