Monday, April 11, 2016

The Sal Gentile Trio's Sunday Jazz brunch at Bistro Niko in Buckhead

Local Atlanta Guitarist Sal Gentile
We are always in search of a good jazz brunch, that rare combination of great breakfast food that goes beyond scrambling a couple of eggs, a slightly decadent atmosphere that makes it seem like you’re celebrating a special occasion, impeccably attentive service and last but not least great music. Last Sunday we made our way to Bistro Niko in the heart of Buckhead to catch a glimpse of some local jazz talent and have what we were hoping would be a great brunch.

We arrived at the restaurant for a two o’clock sitting and the last set of guitarist Sal Gentile’s trio. Gentile is a former New Yorker who came to Atlanta in 1985 after spending over ten years in New Orleans. Gentile teaches and has been performing for years. Some of his guitar influences are Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and Joe Pass. Gentile’s music has spanned the spectrum of pop, rock, blues and jazz over the years. On this particular Sunday he shared the stage with upright bassist Kevin Smith and featured trumpeter Joe Gransden. These musicians are all local stalwarts of the Atlanta jazz scene and it is a pleasure to be able to enjoy a pleasant meal while being entertained by such accomplished artists.  

Joe Gransden, Sal Gentile and Kevin Smith at Bistro Nikos

The final set included a number of Great American Songbook standards including the Victor Young/ Ed Heyman composition “When I Fall in Love,” a medley of Ray Charles’ ”Georgia on My Mind” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and by special request, one of my favorites the Coots/Gillespie classic  “You Go to My Head.” The trio also did a bebop favorite Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology” and a song from local trumpeter legend Kenny Dorham’s repertoire “Blue Bossa.” The trio features animated vocals by Mr. Gentile on the aforementioned “Georgia on My Mind” and “New York State of Mind” and on a specialty song I couldn’t quite place.  Mr. Gransden’s trumpet was mellifluous but sparse in this subdued trio setting and he instead crooned on some of the standards with great aplomb. Mr. Grandsen is a well know artist who also heads a big seventeen piece orchestra that plays around town. Mr. Smith is an established first call bassist in the area.The overall effect was quite enjoyable and we came away with both first rate entertainment and a tasty brunch.

For anyone looking for a great jazz brunch check out Bistro Niko on Peachtree in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. The food was good, the service great and the music top notch. Mr. Gentile is there every Sunday from 11am through 3pm and he often features other local artists like Mr. Gansden, Mr. Smith in a  trio setting. It's a can't miss destination. 

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