All That JAZZ

September 21, 2018

It was Thursday night and I knew that Chip Herrington and his jazz ensemble of 5 would be playing at The Listening Room in Mobile. I needed to find a way to go..this would be fun!


I agreed to meet my son, Eric there (he planned to go to another, earlier show which featured Abe Partridge…then he would join me at The Listening Room).


There was a time not so long ago that I thought I really did not like jazz. It was just “OK”, but not my thing. I had gone to a couple of “jazz” shows and it left me unenthused. It left me “not wanting more.” For me, music should inspire you to think, to feel, to yearn for a little more. This jazz that I saw did none of this for me. 


So last year, when I first heard Chip was doing a jazz show at The Listening Room; for just a  moment I hesitated. Then I thought its Chip, when he does something he does it right. I came to that show and my eyes were opened for the first time to REAL Jazz. WOW! I am a fan. I understand it and I can feel it all the way to my toes. Chip is a genius…(Don’t tell him I said that, he could get a Big head and think he is ALL THAT).


Last night Chip was joined by Lizz Hough on bass. She is perfect for jazz, not only is she a great musician, she stands so stoic, yet she feels the music as she plays, I love to watch her expressions when she gets into the groove.


Pete Wehner, who I have known for years, was on drums. He is one of the great ones. He knows when to be powerful and use force for the sounds and when to be gentle and softly bring out the sounds needed for each song. Looks like he might be having fun while he does it too.


Shane Philen is the best saxophonist I have heard. He knows exactly how to step right in and claim the stage with his sax. There is such a difference between someone who took lessons and learned a structured method of playing…and someone who feels the notes as he plays and puts all of himself into his music. I have never seen Shane have an “off” night….he is always lit up when he is playing.


It was my first time to hear and see Gino Rosaria on keyboards. It is just second nature to him as he “tickles the ivories” in his own special way. He is probably the very best I have ever seen or heard. I have seen lots of keyboard players, none compared to Gino. Suddenly you found yourself holding your breath, anticipating his turn for a solo. He is absolute perfection.


Then there is the multi-talented Chip Herrington. He is the band leader in The Mobile Big Band Society and in addition to that and has a full time job; also Chip plays at least once a month at The Listening Room with this 5 piece jazz ensemble of Top-Of-The-Line jazz musicians. I have learned there are musicians…and then there are JAZZ musicians…when you have seen and heard the best, you don’t want to go back to anything less.


I suggest if you love jazz, or even if you think you may not love it…check the listings and find the date when Chip Herrington and his Jazz Ensemble of 5 will play again…go and decide for yourself. I never would have thought it could be so good!


Thank you Jim Pennington for insisting that Chip Herrington create this jazz ensemble

Thank you Chip Herrington for creating such a special, talented ensemble that blows my mind

Thank you Lizz Houg, Pete Wehner, Shane Philen and Gino Rosaria for being fabulous jazz musicians!

Thank you The Listening Room of Mobile for a place to actually HEAR wonderful music.

Juanita Smith

Music Mom



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