It's all about dazzle when the pianist hits his stride. One of the most entertaining bandleaders around, he has his rhythm sections wax elastic while negotiating charts that goose every aspect of a tune. Splashy ride cymbals evaporate to present wispy brush maneuvers. Two-fisted flourishes disappear; in swagger handfuls of Basie one-notes. Roberts is addicted to the moment-by-moment aspect of improvisation, and that makes New Orleans Meets Harlem, his recent romp through the classic canon, very seductive indeed.
July 21-26, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; July 24-25, 11:30 p.m., 2009