Call it swing or bebop, or swinging bebop, but Ernie Krivda said such labels really don t tell the story.
It s safer to call it jazz, because that s a term big enough to cover the diversity of musical styles this tenor saxophonist from Cleveland will perform.
Krivda, who will be in concert tomorrow and Saturday night at Murphy s Place, started studying the clarinet at age 6, switched to alto saxophone at 16, and found his instrument of choice with the tenor sax at age 18.
He was the leader of the house band at Cleveland s famous Smiling Dog Saloon in the early 1970s, where he performed with many of the top names in jazz.
We were playing opposite everybody Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Elvin Jones, Cannonball Adderly, Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, I could just go on naming names, Krivda said in an interview this week.
His playing caught the attention of Miles Davis, who tried to coax Krivda to join his group. It was a heady offer but Krivda turned it down.
It just didn t seem like a good move at the time, he explained.
I was in this incredible situation [at the Smiling Dog] and that s when I also started having a group and writing music for it, and that was, like, heaven, he said. Then Miles comes through and this particular band he had was not my favorite, and he was not in really good shape physically, and so all things being as they were, I declined.
Krivda said that Adderly, a renowned jazz saxophonist who had become his friend and mentor, advised him to keep an eye open for the right opportunity because as good as the gig was at the Smiling Dog, nothing lasts forever especially in jazz.
When Quincy Jones invited Krivda to join his group in the mid-1970s, he accepted and moved to Los Angeles. Krivda later moved to New York City and was quickly signed by Inner City Records.
In 1980, Krivda returned to Cleveland, saying it was a place where I could be myself.
He now leads groups ranging from the Art of the Trio to the 19-piece Fat Tuesday Big Band. He also serves as artistic director of the Cuyahoga Community College Jazz Studies program and is a clinician for Yamaha saxophones.
Although he s not based in the jazz meccas of New York and L.A., living in Cleveland has not slowed Krivda s recording career. He has enjoyed a longtime association with Cadence/CIMP Records and has released a total of 25 albums as a leader since 1977, including eight CDs since 2003.
Among his recordings is a 1984 live album taped at the former Rusty s Jazz Cafe in Toledo.
Ernie Krivda will perform with the Murphys Trio at 9 and 11 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday at Murphy s Place, 151 Water St. Admission is $10 and $15, or $6 for students. Information: 419-241-7732 or online at www.murphysplacejazz.com.
Contact David Yonke at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6154.