Tag Archives: Artword Artbar

Kite Trio & The Brad Cheeseman Trio October 27th


Montreal’s Kite Trio

One of the highlights for me each year of the Steel City Jazz Festival is hearing music that the artists have composed themselves. Of course like any jazz fan I have my favourite standards that I’m excited to hear played, but I also relish hearing the stories of how a certain composition came to be, who it was inspired by or what it is trying to convey. When artists perform their own music they show a different side of themselves, and the experience becomes just a little bit richer for it. At the 2016 Steel City Jazz Festival I’m excited to welcome two groups of musicians whom I respect greatly as performers and composers: Kite Trio and the Brad Cheeseman Trio, playing at Artword Artbar on October 27th.

Kite Trio, hailing from Montreal, are Eric Couture on guitar, Eric Dew on drums and Paul Van Dyk on upright bass. The band is one of the tightest groups of improvisers I’ve ever heard. I remember the last time I saw them play in Hamilton, they were asked how much of the music was arranged in advance. Based on how in-sync they were throughout their performance, I assumed they must have planned out most of the feel-changes, pauses, and interlocking lines in advance. No, they said, very little of it was mapped out before they began; they have just developed such a strong rapport with one another that they can make even the most exciting and challenging improvisations sound effortless. A musical comparison they hear regularly is with The Bad Plus, a connection that may feel even stronger as they record their new album with Bad Plus drummer Dave King!

Since we have invited a fantastic Montreal group to Hamilton, it somehow seems appropriate to round out the evening with a band led by Brad Cheeseman, one of Hamilton’s best bass players and recent recipient of the prestigious TD Grand Prix de Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. His recent album of original compositions inspired by the David Foster Wallace novel Infinite Jest, Figurants, ranks among the best modern jazz you’ll hear anywhere, and garnered a nomination for a Toronto Independent Music Award. His previous album won this year’s Hamilton Music Award for Best Instrumental Album. Amid all the accolades, Brad has been helping the Steel City Jazz Festival develop a (soon to be announced!) series of talks and clinics. We’re lucky to have him at the festival and we’re lucky to have him as a part of the Hamilton music community. He’ll be joined by Adrean Farrugia on piano and Adam Fielding on drums; don’t miss it!

Tjaderama: The Music of Cal Tjader October 25th

Drummer Carlos Rodriguez is back again this year with Tjaderama!

Drummer Carlos Rodriguez is back again this year with Tjaderama!

One of the most popular performances at the 2014 Steel City Jazz Festival was undoubtedly our Latin Jazz night, featuring vocalist Ashley St-Pierre and a band led by the fantastic drummer Carlos Rodriguez. It’s no surprise to me that so many people were interested in that show; the combination of jazz and Latin music is a time-tested, sure-fire hit! How could it not be? What’s there not to like about combining the improvisation and interplay of jazz with the complex rhythms of music from the Caribbean and Latin America? So when Carlos approached us again this year with the idea to feature a tribute to Cal Tjader, the legendary Latin jazz vibraphonist, we knew we had to make it happen!

If you’re not familiar with Cal Tjader that’s okay, Tjaderama has you covered. The group’s leader, vibraphonist Randy Stirtzinger, has a deep knowledge of the history behind the music and will be sharing it throughout the night. As a big-time jazz history fan myself, this is one of my favourite kinds of performances. I’m a sucker for classic jazz stories, like Charlie Parker playing a plastic saxophone at his famous Massey Hall performance, or Charles Mingus getting fired from Ellington’s band after chasing the trombonist onstage with an axe. Although I’d hardly say knowing the history is necessary to enjoy the music, I think a little background helps connect the listener to the long line of performers and musicians who have played these songs before, and that’s a special thing. It gives each performance a little edge, and I’m thrilled that Randy will be helping us all connect with the music of Cal Tjader!

To get us prepped for the show, I asked Randy to recommend a few of his favourite Cal Tjader tracks. “My favourite albums are Mambo with Tjader, latin Concert, Sona Libre, Soul Sauce, Soul Burst, Guarabe, Cuban Fantasy and Here,” he explained, “As to why I like them, these are the criteria : good chemistry among musicians, good recording quality, good solos. Now not all the records have these factors in equal proportion, but in some cases like Latin Concert for example where the sound quality is not as high as Soul Sauce but the playing and repertoire are outstanding, so it’s a favourite.”

Tjaderama are Randy Stirtzinger on vibraphone, Carlos Rodriguez on drums, Rob McBride on bass, Antonio Perez on congas and John Sherwood on piano. Join them Sunday, October 25h at 7pm to close out our first week of shows at Artword Artbar! Tickets are available now on the Artword Artbar website.

Announcing the 2015 Steel City Jazz Festival

Adrean Farrugia with Sophia Perlman at the 2014 Steel City Jazz Festival

Adrean Farrugia with Sophia Perlman at the 2014 Steel City Jazz Festival

Hello jazz lovers and listeners of Hamilton! If I may, I would like to briefly take your attention away from popsicles, barbeques and sweat to talk about a time not too distant from now, with a whiff of apple pie in the air and a jazz festival happening right here in Hamilton. The 2015 Steel City Jazz Festival will be taking place from October 21st – November 1st. Mark your calendars!

There’s so much great music coming your way at this year’s festival that I could hardly do it all justice in this post, so instead I’ll opt for a quick taste of this year’s festivities. I am very proud to announce that we will once again be calling Artword Artbar and the Pearl Company home. Both of these venues have graciously hosted us in the past and anyone who has been to Artbar or the Pearl can tell you there’s no better place around to listen to jazz. The opening run of shows will take place at the Artbar, and we’ll finish the festival off with a weekend of shows at the Pearl!

Now for the best part: I am very excited to say that we will be featuring an artist-in-residence at this year’s festival, the extraordinary pianist Adrean Farrugia! Adrean has played with an amazing assortment of jazz luminaries, including Chris Potter, Tom Scott, Kenny Wheeler, Darcy James Argue, Don Thompson and more. As a faculty member at Mohawk College he’s a vital member of the Hamilton jazz community and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board for this year’s Steel City Jazz Festival. As artist-in-residence you’ll have the opportunity to hear Adrean play in a variety of settings and with many other fantastic musicians, but you’ll have to check back in at a later date for all of the details!