LA Jazz Scene – May 2014



by Scott Yanow

A new group in its early stages debuted recently at Vibrato’s. Bassist Pat Senatore, trumpeter and flugelhornist Steve Huffsteter (who does the writing for the band), tenor-saxophonist Chuck Manning and drummer Kendall Kay performed as an appealing pianoless quartet. They played such songs as “It Could Happen To You,” “Tenderly,” “Walkin,’” “Emily,” “”Autumn Leaves,” and “Body And Soul” plus originals based on the chord changes of “Stella By Starlight,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and “On Green Dolphin Street.”

The interplay between the musicians was consistently enjoyable, with Huffsteter excelling in this setting while Manning mixed together aspects of 1950s Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Pat Senatore took many fine solos and enjoyed varying and breaking up the rhythm behind the other players. For the future, I would suggest having briefer solos and more group ensembles along with more harmonizing behind the solos (a la the Gerry Mulligan Quartet). But even at this early stage, this group is well worth hearing and has lots of potential.