Oct 11, 2011 News
If you’re in the New York metro area this week I can recommend a very interesting jazz-themed play for you to see called Central Avenue Breakdown. The play is a musical and it is affiliated with the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2011 and is only playing through Sunday at the Signature Theater on West 42nd Street. The story is centered on two jazz-playing brothers in Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, around the time of the birth of bebop. The older brother is a swing-oriented player, on tenor, and the younger brother plays alto and is influenced by the new music. The story touches on many themes and the jazz backdrop and the very strong playing by the band will make it a natural for the Jazz Collector audience. The music is all original by Kevin Ray, who is clearly quite talented, and, to my extreme pleasure, the depiction of the bebop sound was spot-on. They could have used real bop numbers such as Groovin’ High or Hot House but instead chose to use original music that accurately captured the sound. A special tip of the hat to the alto player, Mike Migliore, who was quite Bird-like while also being quite original within the bop medium. Most of the music is not bop, but is a cross section of sounds, from R+B to bop to scat to straight-ahead blues, with a couple of nice ballads thrown in as well. But when it bops, it really bops.