Raney, Collins and Roberts Jazz It Up at Bellarmine

By Karen Miller

In conjunction with a two-day guitar clinic, Bellarmine College hosted a concert Monday night featuring three of jazz's greatest guitarists.

Jimmy Raney, Cal Collins and Howard Roberts showed their stuff in the Fourth Annual Bellarmine Guitar Clinic Concert. After playing a set apiece, they ended the evening with a jazz jam session.

The rhythm section for the concert was Steve Crews on piano, Tyrone Wheeler on bass, and Bruce Morrow on drums. All three did an excellent job, adding greatly to the evening's enjoyment.

Collins opened the concert and his set with a tune called "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me" by Duke Ellington. One could immediately tell that Collins is a straightforward guitar player who likes his music relaxed. His first song set the mood for the rest of Collins' set.

Collins'second song was entitled "Triste." Although it was more up-tempo, the mood was much the same. The third selection, a ballad called "Lover Man," provided a nice switch from the beginning two songs.

The last tune of Collins' set was a standard by Charlie Parker called "Billie's Bounce." It was a fun treat that left the audience enthralled.

Next on the stage was Roberts who immediately got the audience moving with his upbeat songs. He opened with an interesting treatment of "Angel Eyes," slowing down the introduction, then bringing the rhythm section in on the head of the song, turning it into swing.

Roberts then played "Sara Nova," a song made popular by Sarah Vaughan in the late '50s. This was a very enjoyable piece with a few twists. During Crews' solo, Roberts decided without warning to take the tempo double-time. It was interesting to see how well Crews handled it, and the piece was made all the more exciting.

The third piece -- "Queen Bee" -- was up-beat and fun. Roberts' last song was the aggressive "Apache Nightmare," which he made especially exciting by having the rhythm section play the head simultaneously.

After a short break, Raney came onstage. The legendary jazz guitarist was really incredible and so smooth. It was truly amazing to listen to this talented musician who suffers from a progressive hearing loss.

"I'm Old Fashioned" was the first song of his set. The smooth swing tune fit him perfectly. He followed up with "This Is New," a relaxed ballad. Starting slowly and then picking up the tempo, Raney played "He Loves and She Loves," from the movie "Strike Up the Band."

Other nice selections included "You Are Too Beautiful" and "Just the Way You Look Tonight.

Raney finished his set with a self-penned tribute to his friend Ray Parker, who recently passed away. The closeness of their friendship came through in the song.

The last set of the evening was fantastic. Raney, Collins and Roberts on the same stage. One might think they would step on each other. But these guys are "greats," and no one got in the way of the other.

The esteemed trio played only two selections: "Stella By Starlight" and "Just Friends."

What an evening it was. Three great jazz guitarists in the same concert. It was wonderful. It is hoped that those who missed the concert will get a second chance next year.