Nick Green Quintet at The Flying Lobster 2/17/18 (by Tom Csatari)

PERSONNEL: Nick Green (alto sax), Ben Rice (Fender Rhodes), Andrew Latona (electric guitar), Cole Davis (bass), Mike Camacho (drums)

SET 1: What’s New? (B.Haggart/J.Burke), Bluesnik (J.McLean), These Foolish Things  (J.Strachey/E.Maschwitz), Fungii Mama (B.Mitchell), Along Came Betty ft. Bruce Barth (B.Golson), The Theme (M.Davis)

SET 2: East of the Sun (B.Bowman), Sophisticated Lady (D.Ellington), Joy Spring ft. Unknown Drummer (C.Brown), The Song Is You (J.Kern/O.Hammerstein), Sax Cadenza (N.Green), Db Blues (N.Green), Ornithology (C.Parker), Hackensack (T.Monk)

HIGHLIGHTS: A duet intro by Latona and Green on “These Foolish Things” was sweet and starry-eyed. Davis’s bass solos were a perfect, unamplified respite from the barrage of Brooklyn bebop.

For some time the Flying Lobster has been hosting teenage bebop proteges down in Red Hook. I finally made it out to hear a group helmed by the bartender/owner Neil Galic’s son Nick Green, alongside the trumpeter Sebastian Gil. They blew my mind.

The next week I showed up again to review for DTG. I missed the West Coast-vibe and the alto/trumpet chordless hookup, but this show was much the same vein: completely fresh, joyful bebop; played from the heart without any gimmicks; and zero bullshit. Overall, the effect of the music was more like hearing really raw, romantic rap than the mod jazz you see in Manhattan, set in a kind of neighborhood-folky environment.

Nick Green has all the bebop language down, he has adapted some Joe Henderson language for the alto, and some Lee Konitz-style freedom occurs when he interprets songbook tunes. He sang a chorus of D-flat blues and led the bandstand with ease, poise, and respect.

The guitarist Andrew Latona seemed to be Nick’s local friend and he sounded great, somewhere between Charlie Christian and Kenny Burrell, playing mostly single note bebop lines, sometimes in tandem with Green. Latona can really keep up on the up-tempo tunes.

Ben Rice was nice on the Rhodes (probably the loudest instrument in the room), especially when he was comping for the guitar, where things really fired up and went into almost organ trio territory. Seasoned shredder Bruce Barth took the cake when he swapped out on Benny Golson’s “Along Came Betty,” but Rice held his own on both sets and has really big ears, coming through with a quirky, post-bop infused solo late in the second set on Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology.”

Cole Davis has outstanding intonation and a great beat. He didn’t really know Monk’s “Hackensack” but he learned it by the end of the tune — hell yeah, that’s the real shit. Mike Camacho was sort-of Elvin-meets-Philly-Joe, or something, and never too loud for the room. He played supportively on the classic “Sophisticated Lady,” and kept us all on the edge of our seats when the band was trading 1s on the set’s last hit.

There was a funny moment when one of the bartenders was Instagramming the show and replaying the videos quite loudly while the band was playing. It’s an urgent scene that’s about offering jazz music to a local crowd from local heroes. They hit every Saturday night.

by Tom Csatari