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Giacomo Gates and the Danny Burger Trio at the Van Dyke Tomorrow

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Giacomo Gates is undoubtedly one the most exciting and articulate male jazz vocalists on the scene right now. He is a cool cat who embodies the eternal swagger of jazz. However, for the first forty years of his life, Giacomo Gates couldn't have been farther from hep life.

As a matter of fact, his bio reads more like a country & western backstory than a jazz one. Gates, a Bridgeport native was blue-collar through and through, driving buses and semis, hauling cattle. And in 1975, he relocated to the Alaskan wilderness where he spent fourteen years involved in oil pipe work and heavy machinery.

Later, stinting as a bouncer in Fairbanks clubs, he was encouraged to pursue music, which would take him back to Connecticut. And it's paid off. His talent is natural and his voice is robust and manly, but he's well-versed in vocalese and he seamlessly translates instrumentation into his range, which can be thick and mellifluous as well as zesty and mischievous.

This former hard-hat-wearer is now a sought-after teacher at Wesleyan University, the Hartford Conservatory of Music, and the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven as well as visiting stints across the USA. Snag the free download below. But remember, Gates is like all true jazz greats -- better taken in live.

Download: Giacomo Gates's "But Not For Me"

Giacomo Gates and the Danny Burger Trio. Thursday, March 24. Van Dyke Café, 846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Call 305-534-3600 or visit thevandykecafe.com.

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