$15 music charge, $10 minimum, call for reservations 203 792 1500
Saskia Laroo, trumpet Warren Byrd, piano
Steve Bulmer, bass Roger Post, drums
"Her performance was large. It was exactly the kind of thing that keeps jazz alive."—Philip Woolever, AllAboutJazz
"They’re riding on a heatwave."—Jim Santella, Jazz Improv
World-renowned Dutch trumpeter Saskia Laroo makes her Pizzeria Lauretano debut, leading a quartet with her musical partner, pianist Warren Byrd, who recently wowed us with his performance with saxophonist Ray Blue. Dubbed "Lady Miles," Saskia is a force of nature with her "effects box" at her waist, her effervescent playing, and her bold musical adventures across styles and cultures. "I like it when people have a good time and dance while I play!" she says. Born in Amsterdam, Saskia picked up the trumpet at eight years old. She made her name on the Dutch jazz and world-music scenes, and her groove/acid jazz album “It’s Like Jazz” (1994) put her on the world map. Her other CDs include a bebop outing with tenor-sax legend Teddy Edwards and "Jazzkia," her homage to Miles Davis of the 50’s. Saskia is legendary for an international touring schedule having her as far-flung as New York, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, Ukraine, etc, often as headliner and featuring mostly her compositions blending jazz, hip-hop, salsa, funk, reggae, and world.
Saskia's musical partnership with pianist Warren Byrd has charmed audiences from Amsterdam to Rio. Their potent sound includes jazz classics, American songbook gems, hot Afro-Latin grooves, blues, and their own soulful originals. "They thrive on collaborating," said Owen McNally in the Hartford Advocate. "Each player shines while accentuating one another's strengths." Hartford native Warren Byrd is an accomplished pianist with a beautiful tone. He's a founding member of the Afro-Semitic Experience who's worked with jazz greats like Archie Shepp and Eddie Henderson. Saskia and Warren's latest CD is "Two of a Kind: A Tribute to Miles and Monk."
Saskia Laroo & Warren Byrd at the Jazzdag Club in Amsterdam
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Live jazz on menu each Sunday
Robert Miller, The Danbury News-Times
Published 11:17 p.m., Wednesday, March 14, 2012
In California, a legendary jazz club, The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, has been around since 1964.
"They have Sunday concerts,'' said Michael Lauretano, owner of Pizzeria Lauretano on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel. "The performers who played San Francisco on the weekends would go there to play Sundays.''
That is why, in part, Sundays at Pizzeria Lauretano are generally booked solid as its jazz concerts fill the room nearly every week.
"It's part of our identity,'' said Lauretano, who loves the music he brings to his restaurant. "It's part of our value.''
"It enriches the legacy of the music,'' said master vibraphonist Arthur Lipner, of Wilton, who ended a two-week European concert tour by jetting back to Connecticut and playing two enthralling sets Sunday at the pizzeria with his quartet. "And it enriches our community.''
Lauretano said saxophonist Michael Leventhal, of Redding, pushed him to start featuring live music four or five years ago. Leventhal came in to eat one day, heard the recorded jazz Lauretano was playing for customers and urged him to start having live concerts. The Sunday concert series was born.
"It started very organically,'' said Judith Joiner, who handles the restaurant's publicity. "At first, it was 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It was an occasional concert, and it was free. Then we started having music every Sunday. We gradually added a cover charge. Now, you have to call ahead for reservations every week.''
Lauretano said Leventhal and other musicians have helped him book excellent jazz artists who live in the area. By now, he said, he has a regular rotation of repeat performers. "They all want to come back,'' he said.