By Lynn DiMenna . . .

After a long and challenging covid-related hiatus, The Treasure Coast Jazz Society in Vero Beach, Florida is back this season and off to a very good start at The Vero Beach Yacht Club. Mark Green from the Ft. Pierce Jazz Society opened the season in January with his “Benny Goodman Salute” featuring his Rowdy Rooster Dixieland Band with clarinetist, Bill Shine, on some of Goodman’s most memorable hits of the 30’s and 40’s. An appreciative, record-breaking crowd responded with a standing ovation for their program.

As a post Valentine’s Day special attraction, The Ed Metz Trio returned for the 5th straight year and proceeded once again to dazzle the sold out crowd of fans, friends and family to what has become a TCJAZZ seasonal highlight. Eddie Metz Jr., hails from north Florida but has performed extensively around the world at jazz festivals and with megastars including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis, Jr and Rosemary Clooney as well as touring with both The Count Basie and Les Brown Orchestras. In fact, collectively, pianist, Rossano Sportiello and Nicki Parrott on bass and vocals have also shared the stage with many of the greatest jazz luminaries including Les Paul, Scott Hamilton, Houston Person, Bucky Pizzarelli and Harry Allen to name but a few.

How these three virtuoso musicians found each other, given each of their countries of origin, remains a good question for a more extensive interview but suffice to say, their long collaboration has resulted in a tight, joy-filled demonstration of masterful technique, improvisation, crowd pleasing solos and top notch entertainment.

Sportiello, with his charming Italian accent, sense of humor and spectacular command of the keys, maintains an ongoing musical conversation with Parrott, the equally delightful Aussie, who not only pleases the eye but also produces a full-bodied tone on the bass with a light, coquettish quality on her vocals. Metz, a transplanted Michigander now living in Orlando, keeps it all moving, balanced and imaginative with his impeccable sense of time and swing.

Highlights included Sportiello’s superb take on the song “Misty” with all it’s colors and variations in tempo and dynamics, Parrott’s nod to Peggy Lee with an incredibly soothing “I Love The Way You’re Breaking My Heart” and Metz’s unique and totally mesmerizing brush playing on Neal Hefti’s “Cute” on an old cardboard CD box. That all three individually play with such talent and passion is thrilling enough but that they have such fun making music together puts them in a very special league all their own.

Three concerts to go…March 5th will feature The Hot Club of SRQ, The Larry Brown Quintet on March 26th and John Skilliman’s “Memories of Louis Armstrong” on April 16th.