Valentine’s Day may be a thing of the recent past — or very, very far future — but the romance will still be oozing throughout the Iron Room at Atlantic City Bottle Company Friday evening when Howard Isaacson brings his saxophone into town.
The local musician has spread his influence far beyond the confines of the Garden State, including work in the film and commercial industries, as well as with some giants of the music field.
“I’ve been playing in the area for more than 15 years,” says Isaacson, who has performed alongside some star-studded acts including Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and Peter Cetera. “You try to prepare yourself for whatever’s put in front of you.”
For his solo performances, Isaacson draws from the rich history of American Jazz.
“I’m inspired by everything — the bebop of Charlie Parker, to John Coltrane and Grover Washington, as well as contemporary artists such as Gerald Albright and David Sanborn,” he says.
His gig at the Iron Room will find him accompanied by Bob Coulon on piano, and he’s planning on stripping his normal set down to accommodate for the cozy confines of the small venue.
“I usually perform with a five-piece,” Isaacson says. “So I’ll be doing a more laid-back set, with more standards and my own material.”
In addition to teaching music in an area public school, the talented multi-instrumentalist has also been releasing several CDs of original material. For these, Isaacson tries to capture the energy of his performances.
“We do everything right in the studio, live,” he says. “But the hardest part is trying to get all the guys together in the studio at the same time. For one song, I had a keyboardist record his part while he was in Japan and send it to me through the Internet.”
Currently, Isaacson is working on his fourth release, a follow-up to his well-received “Blue Skies” from three years ago.
Performing in the quiet, comforting intimacy of the Iron Room is a rare treat, one Isaacson is especially looking forward to. He’ll be playing both originals and covers, with a setlist that runs through the years. One thing is a certainty, though: With the gig falling just a week after the holiday, “You know I’m going to play ‘My Funny Valentine.’ I just have to!” Isaacson laughs.
Coming up: 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at A.C. Bottle Company’s Iron Room. No charge.
Lineup: Howard Isaacson: sax (soprano, alto, tenor) and flute; and Bob Coulon: piano.
How to get more info.: HowardIsax.com