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The Sheryl Bailey 3: Live @ The Fat Cat

The Fat Cat, an intimate subterranean room located in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village, just a few blocks away from the Village Vanguard, has been a haven for a new generation of rising stars and assorted up-and-comers. Sheryl Bailey, an accomplished guitarist with a warm, pleasing tone and serious chops, documented her working trio of Hammond B3 organist Gary Versace and drummer Ian Fromann at the Fat Cat over two nights in November last year. Their interaction is crisp and fiery on uptempo burners like “Cedar’s Mood,” her ode to pianist-composer Cedar Walton, while the mood is more introspective and probing on her lyrical waltz-time vehicle “A Soft Green Light,” dedicated to John Abercrombie.

Elsewhere, Bailey reveals her fondness for Pat Martino-style precision burn on the surging “Starbrite” and delves into some deep waters on “Elvin People,” a midtempo tribute to Elvin Jones. She swings with rhythmic assuredness on “Tune Down” and salutes klezmer clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer on the moody ballad “The Wishing Well” (Bailey is also a member of Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness group).

The trio closes on a funky note with a raucous N’awlins-flavored offering called “Swamp Thang,” during which the guitarist kicks on the distortion pedal and wails with rock abandon. Move over, Mike Stern.

Originally Published