Should one wish to immerse oneself in Boston's thriving live-music scene – and should one attempt to do so on a Monday night – one could do much, much worse than to hit the Lilypad, a modest, cozy storefont space in Inman Square, where two incredibly proficient, stylistically diverse bands are in regular residence. The early set features master saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi with his working quintet – tonight, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, pianist Chris McCarthy, bassist Will Slater and drummer Luther Gray – while the late set showcases fiery saxman George Garzone with his long-running trio, the Fringe, featuring bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti.
I won't presume to offer anything so formal as a "review," not least because I arrived late due to confusing directions, and left early to be sure mass transit was still running. (That might be the hardest thing for a New Yorker to get used to.) Even so, I got a good 40 minutes worth of each set, soaking up a healthy dose of Bergonzi's magisterial, brawny postbop (with Garzone sitting in for the finale, "42nd Parallel," a piquant Bergonzi original) and the Fringe's melodically heady, texturally intricate freebop.
Thanks to Claire Daly – a terrific NYC saxophonist and a longtime friend – for urging me to take the plunge, not least because Garzone's going to be on the road for much of the summer. Factor in good sound, a friendly cover charge ($10 per set) and a relaxed vibe, and I can already tell this is a spot I'll be revisiting.
I'd close with a photo of the Fringe, but can't, because the band played in complete darkness – unexpected, but very cool. So here's one more of Bergonzi's band, with Garzone along for the ride.