When Carson Kievman says, “We like to think of this as a ‘hidden gem,'”the emphasize is on “hidden.” If the green dot on my iPhone were not insistently blinking — It’s over there! It’s over there! — I never would have found the SoBe Institute of the Arts, tucked away at the back of the parking lot of the 21st Street Recreation Center on Washington Avenue inside Carl Fisher’s onetime carriage house. “Isn’t this a lovely room?” asked singer Derin Young as she surveyed the intimate space where supports of SoBe Arts sipped drinks (proceeds going to the school) and this listener, anyway, sat draped over pillows on the floor.
The living room vibe was perfect for the opening numbers by the Silvano Monasterios Trio, and the lyrical flights of pianist and composer Monasterios’ fingers. In the flickering half-light, beneath the vaunted white ceilings, the conversation between Monasterios rapid arpeggios, Jon Dadurka’s sinuous bass, and Rodolfo Zuniga‘s pointillist drums sounded very much like the music of my idea of heaven.
Even headliner Young, once at the mike, said she would happily have spent the evening backstage, listening to the trio. Her first song with the band, a medley of standards kept the vibe going. Then the rest of the set took a more pop turn, with some kicky beats and R&B vocal treatment of tunes by U2 and Sting. All well and good, but I was still floating on Monasterios jazz cloud as I made my way home.