The Show: Wednesday, October 3, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Bertha Coolidge

By Jim Mulvihill

Bertha Coolidge gigs in Fort Worth are like Cowboys wins on the road — if there are three or more between now and the end of the year we should feel pretty lucky. Since original drummer Rich Stitzel moved to Chicago last year, this groove-oriented modern jazz quartet has graced local stages with disturbing infrequency. But Stitzel sneaks back to town for a few shows this weekend, including one Friday at Ridglea Theater and another Sunday at the Black Dog Tavern, the band’s old stomping grounds.

The Black Dog, specifically during the Sunday-night jams led by Michael Pellecchia, is where Bertha honed its sound, playing progressive, contemporary jazz that proudly wanders in unforeseen directions. The vibes and guitar take the fore on improvised odysseys, but the bass and, particularly, Stitzel’s drums are equally as bold in their looseness. When it all clicks, this can be a deliriously heady enhancement or alternative to your usual weekend means of mind-alteration.

With the original lineup back together, Sunday’s show should feel like old times. As bassist Aden Bubeck explained, there’s a comfort level among this crew that allows the music to reach places it can’t without Stitzel. “He was always a huge part of the grooves and the feels,” Bubeck said. “We’ve played with other drummers, and they’re all great, but it’s not the same without Rich. When he’s there, you just play and let the music happen.”

Fri Oct 4 at Ridglea Theatre, 6025 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. $6. 817-738-9500. Sun Oct. 6 at Black Dog Tavern, 903 Throckmorton St, FW. No cover. 817-332-8190.


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