Linton Garner: "Thanks"


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Linton Garner
When pianist Erroll Garner was growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa., he was overshadowed by his older brother Linton. In 1944, Erroll moved to New York and began his trio and solo career. Linton, meanwhile, played with Fletcher Henderson in the 1940s, followed by Billy Eckstine, Earl Coleman, Babs Gonzales, Fats Navarro and others. He led his own trio from the 1950s to the '70s, touring often in Canada. In 1974, Linton Garner moved to Vancouver. Erroll died in 1977 and Linton died in 2003.

Several months ago, drummer Don Fraser, who played with Linton, alerted me to an album of concert appearances by Linton between 1993 and 2002 recorded by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The album, Thanks, features mostly originals by Linton in tribute to his brother Erroll.

As Don notes: “At the time of the concert, Linton’s health was not at it’s best. He liked Ron Johnston’s playing and wanted him to be part of the concert to play on selected tunes. The final track Lament For Mr. G. was written by saxophonist Stewart Loseby and was dedicated to Linton following the pianist's passing. It was recorded at Carltone Studio on Nov. 5th, 2004."

All the tunes on the album except for Laura and Lament for Mr. G. where written by Linton. Here are the tracks, when they were recorded and who is on piano...

  1. Blues for Jimmy Q. (recorded in 1993)—Linton Garner (p).
  2. Pittsburgh Blue (1993)—Linton Garner (p).
  3. I Never Said Goodbye (2002)—Ron Johnston (p).
  4. Baby Brother (2002)—Linton Garner (p).
  5. Sometimes It's Hard to Convey (2002)—Linton Garner (p).
  6. Won't You Dance With Me (2002)—Linton Garner (p).
  7. His Music Touched the People (2002)—Ron Johnston (p).
  8. Here We Sit With Misty Eyes/Misty (2002)—Ron Johnston (p)/Linton Garner (p).
  9. Closing concert remarks by Linton Garner
  10. Laura (1993)—Linton Garner (p).
  11. Lament for Mr. G.—Miles Black (p).
Tracks include Stewart Loseby on tenor saxophone, Russ Botten or Peter Trill on bass, and Don Fraser on drums. Vocals are by Vocal Java, comprising of Steve Maddock, Siri Olesen, Lane Price and Tia Turner.

The album is a touching and tender musical love letter from one brother to another.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find Thanks (Cellar Live Records) only as a download here. Just click on the Thanks album cover to access the landing page and click “buy download."

I'm told that net proceeds from the sale of the album will go to support the Linton Garner Scholarship fund established in his name at Capilano University in North Vancouver, Canada.

JazzWax clip: Here's “Sometimes It's Hard to Convey," with Linton Garner on piano.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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