I was excited to hear that tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith was going to appear at The Joyce Theater. I had seen him on stage during the 90s when he was a teenager - eons ago it seems - in Broadway's Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.
I was pretty much obsessed with tap in those days. I saw Bring in 'Da Noise/Funk umpteen times, and I also traveled to Manhattan jazz venue Swing 46 in the days when tap legend Buster Brown hosted tap jam sessions. There was a live jazz band and anyone who wanted to - from young children to elderly folks - could put on their tap shoes, tell the band what song to play, and hit the dance floor. Sometimes, cast from Bring in 'Da Noise would show up, and that's when things would get really exciting.
Coming off of choreographing and starring in Bring in 'Da Noise, tap pioneer Savion Glover performed in both solo shows and with his troupe - NYOT (Not Your Ordinary Tappers), of which Jason was a member.
After the 90s, I did not track the tap scene as carefully. So it was great to have this opportunity to be pulled back into the tap world vis-a-vis a tap production choreographed by Mr. Smith. I liked that he included three women lead dancers, plus another former Bring in' Da Noise/Funk cast member, Bakari Wilder.
Mr. Smith formulated the idea for the show back in 2006 when he performed in the world premiere production of Imagine Tap! At that time, he developed the idea to "transpose the music of Charlie Parker into tap dance" (Program Note). Out of this idea, he choreographed Charlie's Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker and Chasing the Bird, both of which were showcased at the recent evening at The Joyce.
For more information about the extremely accomplished Jason Samuels Smith, click HERE.