It was my first experience visiting the Beahive a wonderful collaborative workspace for professionals in a renovated 1907 Bell Telephone building where Producer, Nelson Conde supported by Creative Director, Crystal Anderson and Nathan Garcia used the first-floor loft as the stage for the return of “Fluidic Duo” to Beacon.
The contemporary realism works of artist Penny Dell added a richness to the loft’s exposed brick walls. The controlled charcoal drawings flowed with the music and offered a framework of deep texture balanced by soft muted lines.
I was leaning back into the couch with my eyes half closed. Ross Pederson had just taken the duos lead setting the path on drums. The guy is a composer, arranger and one the hottest drummers in New York. But he gets this killer grin like he is setting the last pitch on Everest for all of us to tie into. Tap, tap, and tap the last titanium pinion is going into the ice.
I open my eyes and there is that evil grin and he has now incorporated the vertical metal pipe on the brick wall as part of his drum kit. Chris Crocco just holds the neck of his jazz guitar a little tighter but does not open his eyes. He’s been there before and knows that his partner never takes the easy way to the top.
It was the second journey in the second set and my eyes grew tighter, I could hear Crocco’s guitar speaking just to me like all good jazz does. It’s personal; the voice is never soothing but thoughtful. Never mind the other forty people who filled the intimate room at the Beacon Beahive some looking up to the heavens; some, eyes closed looking down; hands and feet lightly taping. They’re on their own.
Looking at Crocco’s face, eyes closed, he is lost. Not on the musical path set by his friend, but deep in the depths of the music.
I’ve seen it before while covering the performances of B.B. King while he coaxed Lucille along for a ride. There was Charlie Daniels on the fiddle with “Carolina Dreams” some where under that hat, with eyes closed, the bow caressed the strings. My favorite was Willie Nelson lost in a deep “Georgia on my Mind” trance helping Trigger, his guitar, find a solo voice.
Many have called Crocco’s music organic in nature, something that takes on a life of its own, a living entity. When playing with Pederson, it’s also something that can’t be duplicated; there is no arrangement; no written notes; only searching a path for a musical summit.