Amazon.com Widgets

John Taylor and John Geggie: Ottawa, Canada October 9, 2010

John Taylor and John Geggie: Ottawa, Canada October 9, 2010
By Published: | 9,753 views
John Taylor/John Geggie
National Arts Centre Fourth Stage
Ottawa, Canada
October 9, 2010
After an impressive start to its 2010 Fall/Winter Series, the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival kept the momentum up by bringing another of modern jazz's finest pianists to town, less than a week after Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
and his latest trio, with bassist Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
and drummer Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
, delivered a well-received show at Dominion Chalmers Church the previous Sunday. John Taylor so rarely makes it to North America that husband and wife Josh and Min Rager
Min Rager
Min Rager
b.1975
piano
—both fine pianists in their own rights—not only caught Taylor in their hometown of Montreal the past three days for workshops at McGill University, but drove 200 kilometer to Ottawa, to hear the renowned British pianist in an intimate duet with John Geggie
John Geggie
John Geggie
b.1960
bass
. Josh Rager performed with Geggie nearly a year ago, as part of the local bassist's annual Geggie Concert Series, and so he knows Geggie's playing well, and was consequently as astute a judge of the show as any.
And he was clearly enjoying the show, which focused heavily on music by Taylor and his longtime musical collaborator, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
1930 - 2014
trumpet
, with a couple of standards and one Geggie composition thrown in for good measure. It was, in fact, Wheeler who was supposed to be in Canada, to work with Canadian saxophonist Phil Dwyer. But circumstances prevented the iconic expat Canadian trumpeter from making the trek to Canada this time around, and so Taylor came in his place (I'll be Kenny for a short bit, then," said Taylor when he explained the genesis of the show to an appreciative audience). When Dwyer, a friend of Geggie's, suggested Taylor also make a stop in Ottawa, the bassist contacted the Ottawa Jazz Festival's Executive Producer, Catherine O'Grady, and she moved quickly to add the show to the festival's Fall/Winter series, the whole event coming together in a matter of a couple weeks.

It was a good call on O'Grady's part, since Geggie—a fixture (and treasure) on the Ottawa scene for many years, between his own series and running the jam sessions during the festival—was truly the only bassist in town with the chops, reading skills and sheer confidence to jump into a situation where the only rehearsal took place at the sound check. Improvisationally open-minded and, even more critically, open-eared, perhaps the most impressive example of how well-suited Geggie was for the gig came in the encore, where he navigated a medley of two Taylor tunes from the pianist's recent solo album, Phases (Cam Jazz, 2009): the dark-hued "Ritual"; and similarly brooding, but thematically knotty "Frolics." "Ritual" can also be heard on Blissful Ignorance (Hecca, 2010), a Norwegian release featuring the new collaborative trio Meadow—with Taylor, saxophonist Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
b.1960
saxophone
and percussionist Thomas Stronen—scheduled for international release by Edition Records in 2011. Geggie managed the medley's serpentine melody with aplomb; Taylor sending an encouraging smile his way at the medley's end.



But more than mere reading skills, Geggie—whose past couple years have represented a period of artistic growth and increased confidence, with the almost back-to-back releases of Across the Sky (Plunge, 2010) and Geggie Project (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2010)—displayed an important ability to communicate with Taylor at a deep level from the get-go, not to mention turning in some fine solos, both pizzicato and arco, that drew rounds of appreciative applause. An early arco solo, during the second tune of the first of two sets—Taylor's indigo and lyrical "Windfall," dating back to Départ (ECM, 1980), where the pianist's regular Azimuth trio (with Wheeler and vocalist Norma Winstone
Norma Winstone
Norma Winstone
b.1941
vocalist
) was augmented by guitarist Ralph Towner
Ralph Towner
Ralph Towner
b.1940
guitar
—was as impressive for what the bassist didn't play as for what he did. It was only after Geggie mined the harmonic range of a single note—through meticulous bowing and creating delicate tension—that he moved on, for a gentle release that showed his strength at combining lithe dexterity with a firm sense of construction.

Taylor was, as ever, eminently creative, and harmonically sophisticated, while remaining approachable with motifs that seemed to flow endlessly, each one explored and expanded upon, before using it as a bridge to the next. Opening the first set with an often-played Wheeler tune, "Everybody's Song But My Own" (or, as Taylor humorously quipped in his introduction towards the end of the set with respect to publishing nightmares, "Everybody Owns the Song But Me"), Taylor quickly demonstrated why he is, perhaps, the most important torch-bearer for the late Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
' tradition, even while forwarding a voice that, over the past 50 years, has become nobody's but his own.

comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search