There is a definite tribute streak through this year’s Steel City Jazz Festival. I think the jazz impulse towards ‘tributes’ is an acknowledgment that your musical history matters; just like how chops are verified by who you played with (Coltrane played with Miles who played with Bird), exploring and incorporating the music of the greats gives you a solid foundation for moving forward. At this year’s festival, Tjaderama are going to dig deep into the repertoire of Latin jazz vibraphonist Cal Tjader; the Chris Bruder Quintet will pay homage to Wayne Shorter by playing one of his most famous albums, Speak No Evil, in its entirety (more on both those shows coming up soon). And to close out the festival on November 1st, Intercurrents, an exploration of the music of Jim Hall and Bill Evans by two veterans of the Canadian jazz scene, Roy Patterson and Brian Dickinson.
Bill Evans and Jim Hall might not be household names like Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong but if you haven’t heard them before now is a great time to learn about two true jazz masters. In fact, Bill Evans was pianist in Miles Davis’ First Great Quintet, the unit that recorded Kind of Blue, and Bill’s fingerprints are all over the album. Jim Hall, who passed away about two years ago, was a hugely influential jazz guitarist, and played with a who’s who of the jazz world including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond and more (including Terry Clarke, who is the final guest in our Smordin Law Artist-in-Residence Series this year!) Together, Bill and Jim recorded two albums: Undercurrent, and Intermodulation (combined, Intercurrents!) Check Intermodulation below:
Roy Patterson and Brian Dickinson are a perfect fit to explore and interpret this music. Roy has been a professional guitarist for decades: he has released seven records as a leader, and he has toured all over the world playing music, from Italy to Turkey to Taiwan. He has taught at McGill, the University of Toronto and is currently a faculty member in the department of music at York University. Roy recently made the move to Hamilton and we’re lucky to have him! Brian Dickinson is a highly sought-after pianist, having recorded on over 60 albums, including ten as leader, two of which won the Juno Award for Best Jazz Album. Brian has played with some of the absolute best musicians in the world, including Lee Konitz, Jerry Bergonzi, John Abercrombie, Maria Schneider and many, many more (there’s that whole history thing again).
It’s a real honour to have both Roy and Brian at this year’s Steel City Jazz Festival, and I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate the end of the festival’s third year with this very special performance! Check out Roy’s website for more info on his musical projects, including a recording of Roy and Brian playing together. See you November 1st at the Pearl Company!