Material: Already an established artist on the classical circuit, Ireland native Gregory Harrington has never shied away from venturing into uncharted territory. In his latest project, “Without You,” which he showcased with his trio, Harrington explores the jazz and pop world, performing heavy-hitting classics like the Gershwins’ “Summertime,” “Autumn Leaves” and Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo À La Turk.” It’s often tricky when a musician transitions to a new genre; however, Harrington puts his own spin on the material while capturing the songs’ essence. Targeting selections to have broad appeal, he still performs them from a fresh perspective.
Musicianship: The command he has over the instrument gives Harrington the freedom to focus on the finer points of the performance. Backed by three talented sidemen, the trio, together with Harrington, seamlessly merge with precision, timing and phrasing. Each player gets their moment in the spotlight at the appropriate juncture.
Performance: Harrington’s presentation struck a delicate balance between the artist as central and maintaining the integrity of the music. Dazzling as his playing was, with humility intact, Harrington credited the great authors of the material along with a brief backstory of what the songs meant to him and why he chose them. For those craving something from the Irish repertoire, Harrington delivered with his final number, “Parting Glass,” a bittersweet but still uplifting song of farewell—a perfect way to close the set—and his timely parting words: “Meet me at the bar!”
Summary: If this was your first time hearing Harrington, you would never suspect that this repertoire was new to him. His level of musicality, masterful technique and hunger for experimenting with new styles will cast a wider net, bringing in more fans who have varied tastes. The only downside of the show was that it had to end!
Players: Gregory Harrington, violin; Ehud Asherie, piano; Dustin Kaufman, drums; Dan Montgomery, bass