The wide-open architecture that is Jazz at Kitano played host to echoes of the Jet Age and the sounds were utterly classic (Jan. 12th). These days, George Shearing is sadly overlooked, though 2019 marks his centenary; in his time, the pianist held international celebrity. His decidedly clean, modern jazz tightly arranged with vibraphone/piano/guitar lead eludes today’s rapid-fire attention span, so bassist John Menegon’s tribute was a refreshing antidote. In a set comprising repertoire of the Shearing Quintet, or similar Menegon originals, the ensemble offered airy versions of “Hallelujah”, “Oh Look at Me Now”, “Born to Be Blue”, “The Nearness of You” and “Lullaby of Birdland”. Propelled by the crisp, prodigious drumming of Yoron Israel (who softly took the music well beyond that of forbearer Denzil Best), the band’s time-warp featured solos by thrilling pianist John DiMartino and the leader. But up front was vibraphonist Steve Nelson, an alumnus of Shearing’s ‘80s band. His brilliant shimmer and dead-on melodic command allowed for a dose of nostalgia, but his forwardlooking approach has always recalled Bobby Hutcherson rather than Margie Hyams or Emil Richards, present during the mid-century glory days. A highlight was “Basso Profundo”, composed for Shearing by then-bassist John Levy: Menegon’s melodic line and masterful improv, as well as the band’s unison stop-time sections—a Shearing hallmark—made for a stunning performance. ” - John Pietaro

— New York City Jazz Record (FEB 2019)

UPRIGHT AND HONEST! According to John Menegon, bassist and bandleader born in Canada but currently living in New York, the blues is neither a dogma nor a defined genre. On his new record Blew By Blues the style of playing isn’t continuous because the influences and cultural imprinting of Menegon’s chosen home are way too colorful. Ultimately, only the personal message from deep within counts.    John Menegon descended from Montreal’s Jazz scene and feels at home in New York since the 1980ies. Among his Canadian companions was guitarist Sonny Greenwich and saxophonist Pat LaBarbera. In New York, Jack DeJohnette, Paul Bley and especially Dewey Redman were leading him in his music career. While being the bass player in Redman’s band for a long time John Menegon was merited as a teacher, too conducting as well classes and workshops as initiating the online course “History of Jazz and Rock”. All these activities are mirrored in his musical wealth of experience which is indisputable on his current album Blew By Blues. Menegon is a very genuine and unsophisticated musician, there have been neither vain gimmicks for the production nor the need for pretentious project ideas or concepts. His way of music is to compose with his whole soul and be present to the fullest while playing. In this regard, he and his band members have a lot to say – and this always emerges from their inner self’s. For this, an extremely agile, enthusiastically practised combo jazz is the ideal medium. As the name refers, the title song has the blues – but the basic mood is deduced to an ageless, swinging, modal piece of jazz. Menegon’s bass play comes along strongly grounded and appears like a reliable, elastic transmission belt. Wonderfully clear, brilliant and in long breathing routes Joel Frahm hooks up on his tenor and soprano saxophone. Wide awake and with cunning syncopes pianist Frank Kimbrough inserts himself who shares the art of omission with percussionist Steve Williams. Such virtues continue in the other eight tracks. Do not think that the album carries on with a straight-ahead jazz style. This would underestimate Menegon’s potential which is inspired by sounds and emotions since well-played jazz can be compared to a sponge absorbing everything. In respect thereof, the band acts wonderfully intuitive. This is expressed within the impressionistic song “First Touch”. A delicate piano play breathes into a soft crescendo – then vocals mix into, which extend to a sensitive spherical choir without distinctive words. After the intro follows a bold harmony change, then the curtain rises for something new: a bossa-figure picks up speed. Throbbing rim shots on Steve Williams’ drums supply the advance for piano interventions and saxophone improvisations. Clever arrangements conjure a propulsive hearing pleasure. It continues with the classically sung ballad “Hymn for Charlie”, which was dedicated to one of Menegon’s idols, Charlie Haden. All the more contemporary is “Lonely Heartache”: smooth vocal soul flows into a rap passage. Or should we describe it as the aesthetic of spoken words? – which never falls into the trap of chumming up to modern pop music. It is apparent from the related video that the piece is focused on the passionate plea to never stop striving for the good and humanness in our fleeting world with all its contradictions. John Menegon refers to a quote from Charlie Haden, who demanded this from upright and honest musicians. Blazing fires at protest marches are shown, later the view of the camera lingers on a symbolic signpost somewhere in the US which informs about a protective shelter in case of weather catastrophes. The sign is a symbol for safety and comfort of a protective community – friends, other musicians or simply people who still can be emphatic. A vibrant, Afro-Cuban number stretches over to eventual Brazilian bossa-rhythms and propels the glorious and effortless musicality of a band which is still considered as an insider tip in this country.  Current album: John Menegon Quartet East: Blew By Blues ” - Stefan Pieper