One night at Sweet Basil in the mid-1990’s (it was Art’s main jazz club of residence in NYC) we were playing a slow Mal Waldron ballad, “Soul Eyes” that Art played often. When it came time for Art to solo, he chose to play only ONE NOTE per measure (it was a 32-bar form), playing a whole note on beat one of each bar. Every note he picked was exquisite – he chose the “prettiest” note in each chord. It felt like he was giving a lesson to the young guys in his band, that you don’t have to play a zillion notes all the time. It created so much anticipation in the room that the audience was literally hanging on his every note, as if they were thinking “which one is he going to play next?”. He did this for the entire 32-bar form of the song, and at the very end of the 32nd bar he suddenly released a lovely string of notes which dovetailed into the top of his next chorus. There was a palpable sigh, smiles and even applause from the audience – what an incredible moment of tension and release. I’ll never forget that.
Geoffrey Keezer, May 23, 2018