Review: Harvey Diamond Jazz Series (AMS Loft)


On Friday Nov. 13th, some may have spent their time avoiding creepy hallways and black cats. I, on the other hand, made a b-line straight towards some of the coolest cats I know.

At 8 PM in the Asheville Music School, located in the heart of Downtown Asheville (NC), the last installment of an ongoing jazz series took place.

Performers, Harvey Diamond (piano), Zack Page (bass), and Sonny Thornton (drums), teamed up with Sharon LaMotte (vocals) for a rousing two-hour session.

Harvey started off the night with an instrumental set including “It Had to Be You” and West Side Story’s, “Somewhere,” which he delivered with masterful ease. I first met Harvey through one of his students, who traveled here all the way from Boston to study under him. Let me tell you, his expertise are well worth the trip.

After the instrumental section finished up, the performers headed into the vocal section, lead by Ms. LaMotte, who has a wonderful Diana Krall/Patti Andress vibe to her voice. The music and the vocals balanced well, and she effortlessly floated atop Zack’s sweet and solid bass line. Many of the songs were new to me, but they met me with the warm and tender hug of an old friend. I was grateful for Sharon’s cool and confident presentation of them.

Rounding off this wonderful cast of characters was Sonny Thornton, the most spirited of the group. Time after time, they would give Mr. Thornton ample opportunity to solo. Whether that be with sticks, brushes, or his own bare hands, Sonny took to those solos like a boat takes to water. He definitely rocked out. Max Roach & Buddy Rich would be proud.

Overall, this was definitely a pleasant experience and, at $10 a ticket, definitely a steal. Looking forward to the next series AMS decides to put out.


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