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Live Reviews

John Geggie / Vic Juris / John Fraboni: Ottawa, Canada Feb. 28, 2009

By Published: March 10, 2009
Fraboni has recently returned to living in Montreal after spending time in New York, New Orleans and Toronto, also working on the road with Canadian singer Sophie Millman. He's worked with Geggie before, collaborating with local guitarist Roddy Elias. Throughout the two sets he proved himself a dynamic drummer capable of bringing out the nuances of a whisper on "Across the Sky." Kicking harder on an open and hard-edged version of Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
's "Lonely Woman," it's clear why he's quickly re-establishing himself on the Canadian scene where, no doubt, more will be heard from him.

Juris pulled out "Dancing Shadows," the opening tune from his best album to date, Blue Horizon (Zoho, 2004), but to hear it on a single electric guitar rather than layered steel and nylon string acoustic guitars gave it an entirely different complexion, allowing Juris, Geggie and Fraboni to take it in a more open-ended direction. Equally, his radically reharmonized, soft Latin-tinged rework of "All the Things You Are"—again with a single electric guitar replacing layers of acoustics—became ever so slightly more oblique, as Juris' solo intro barely hinted at the familiar melody so that when it came in, even with a reworked set of changes, its references were clear and alluded to both Juris' and Geggie's innate lyricism. Geggie's bowed solo on the tune was a highlight of the evening, along with Juris' ability to combine less-is-more with occasional bursts of more-is-more. Juris has also taken the late Lenny Breau

Lenny Breau
Lenny Breau
1941 - 1984
's mastery of harmonics to an entirely new level, deftly combining them with fundamentals to create a distinctive harp-like effect.

John Geggie / Vic Juris Vic Juris, John Geggie

After closing the evening with Juris' raucous, riff-based "Romulan Ale" there was no way the audience would let the trio go without an encore. A final standard closed the evening on a gentle note. Geggie, Juris and Fraboni proved, with two sets of largely original material, that the modern mainstream is alive and well, especially when there are players this imaginative and capable of integrating tinges of free and chamber jazz into a straight-ahead context that gives the music room to breathe and grow. Geggie's shows rarely, if ever, miss, but for a packed house with no shortage of local guitarists out to watch a modern master at work, this was clearly one of the bassist's best shows of recent vintage.

[Note: The performance was recorded by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) Radio 2, and will be broadcast/streamed at a future date. Go to CBC Radio 2 for more information and for hundreds of hours of additional streaming audio.

Juris will be back in town for a duet gig with Roddy Elias at Café Paradiso.]

Photo Credit

John R. Fowler

Visit Geggie Concert Series and John Geggie; Vic Juris; John Fraboni on the web.

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