I had been trying to catch bandleader, clarinetist, singer Rick Bogart and his Trio for months. Finally I had a night I could arrange to head to L’Ybane, at 709 Eighth Avenue (between 44th and 45th Streets). Rick has a jazz tone that when added to his clarinet playing and his interaction with the audience, brings back an old world charm. Bogart’s smooth style keeps it on an even keel and with the extensive wine list from L’Ybane, seeing the Rick Bogart Trio is a relaxing musical treat.
Backing up was a star in his own right, guitarist Larry Luger, one of New York City’s most renowned jazz guitarists. His masterful guitar stylings are impeccable. He has played and recorded with many notable jazz performers throughout his career, including Lionel Hampton, Jonah Jones, Bobby Forrester, Gloria Coleman, Al Hibbler, Lou Donaldson, Bill Doggett, Freddie Cole, John Hicks and Jack McDuff, to mention a few. At L’Ybane he backed up Craig Pomranz, Joan Jaffe, Louisa Poster and Professor Ron Soltis. John Dentato, who worked with Judy Garland, Maurice Chevalier and Howard Hughes in Hollywood, sang, showing an old world style. Mr. Fred Riley, the Earl of Kilkenny sang a delightful “Lambeth Walk.”
The Trio lets guest singers perform during their sets.
The guest star was Mitch Winehouse, Amy Winehouse’s father, who sings with the Trio every time he comes into town. He is a friend of Rick’s. I had heard Mitch sing once before and had not been impressed with his vocals. This time he sounded much as his daughter described him – as a “karaoke Sinatra.” Vocally, Mr. Winehouse has a nice tone to his voice and an instrument that if there was some kind of emotional connection it could be powerful. When watching Mr. Winehouse, he does not connect with his audience at all, at least not on the two occasions I’ve seen him sing. Some form of eye contact would help. Good singing is having the chops; great singing is the giving of one’s soul. It is the essence of a good performer. I do wish him much success with Amy’s Foundation.
Last but not least, I wanted to sing along with Mike Weatherly, the last member of the Trio. His soulful notes reached into my heart. He is also a great singer and one of only a handful of highly skilled luthiers (one who repairs stringed instruments like Stradivarius and Amatis for symphony orchestras).
I will definitely be coming back to see this Trio and to eat some more of L’Ybane’s scrumptious food.
Rick will be playing at L’Ybane 709 Eighth Avenue (between 44 & 45th Streets), Tuesdays from 9pm to 12am and Friday from 10pm to 1am