• T. Ballard Lesemann
  • The Pulse Trio

Last night (Thurs. May 27), an elegant, invite-only cocktail party in the Long Room kicked off the Jazz Artist’s of Charleston’s new jazz series on the second floor at McCrady’s.

Produced and presented by the JAC, the Upstairs at McCrady’s jazz series is part of Piccolo Spoleto. Each night offers two shows, one at 7 p.m. and the other at 10 p.m. The 11-night run looks to be a festival highlight.

Organizer Leah Suárez, president of JAC, was on hand on Thursday evening, as were JAC exec Jack McCray, staffer Erin Fornadel, various local media folks, and local and visiting musicians participating in the series.

The ever-evolving Pulse Trio — with Sam Sfirri on the Fender Rhodes, Ben Wells on upright bass, and Stuart White on drum kits — provided several sets of instrumental swing, funk, and modern reworkings. Sfirri’s vintage keyboard added some beautiful rattle and hum to the overall sound of the trio. Well’s anchored the progressions, while White made his delicately muscular drum solos and fills look effortless.

The Upstairs at McCrady’s series continues tonight with two performances from Station NY/CHS, featuring guitarist Lee Barbour of Gradual Lean. Special guests include John Ellis (saxophone), Gerald Gregory (piano), Jake Holwegner (bass), and Quentin Baxter (drums). Station NY/CHS performs at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Leah Suárez & Friends perform two sets on Sun. May 30 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Advance tickets for the other Upstairs at McCrady’s events are available for $20/set. Call the JAC box office at (843) 641-0011 for info.

See piccolospoleto.com and jazzartistsofcharleston.org for more