Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On The Road/The Ben Monder, Brian Hurley & Andre White Trio

Things have been a bit busy these days but I've got some time to catch up on my blog here while sitting in the departure lounge of the Vancouver airport on my way to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to adjudicate the Jazz portion of the Moose Jaw International Band & Choral Festival this week with my partner-in-crime, trumpeter Patrick Boyle.

Thanks to all that came out to the Cellar in Vancouver this past weekend to hear my quintet. The band played their tails off both nights, the capacity crowd was very receptive to my music and we spent two action packed days in the recording studio. Look for this album to be released sometime this fall on the Cellar Live record label. More to come on this later...

Here's a couple of really important clips worth checking out:

During the mid 1990s guitarist Ben Monder would frequently come up to Montreal to play with bassist Brian Hurley and drummer Andre White at the Upstairs Jazz Bar. These gigs were always something special and musicians would flock to hear this cutting edge New York guitarist's unique take on standards with two of Montreal's finest sideman & bass/drum team.

Aside from a CBC recording session (which is probably lost in their archives somewhere...) I don't believe that this band ever did any recording together so these two bootlegs are important artifacts.

Andre White is one of my favorite drummers and has a very musical and swinging approach that blends such influences as Billy Higgins, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Jack DeJohnette. He is a superb accompanist and has been the choice of many musicians over the years (including several notable recordings with guitarist Sonny Greenwich). In fact, he is currently touring Canada with alto saxophonist P.J. Perry's band with Kevin Dean on trumpet, Mark Eisenman on piano and Neil Swainson on bass. Don't miss this swinging outfit if they are playing in your town!!!

I've been fortunate to play with Andre quite a bit over the years and played together with bassist Brian Hurley serving as the rhythm section backing up vocalist Johanne Desforges during a series of regular house gigs at Biddle's in Montreal (Andre is also a world-class pianist whose knowledge of Bill Evans is unparalleled).

I also had the opportunity to study the drums with Andre during my graduate work at McGill University. He really schooled me, helping me develop my approach to uptempo comping and working out of the Jim Chapin and Keith Copeland method books. He also really hipped to Frankie Dunlop and had me spent a great deal of time transcribing his comping and solo techniques.

Andre has a great album out entitled "Signal" that features him with Ben Monder, saxophonist Kirk MacDonald and Neil Swainson on bass. This album is a great example of Andre's fine drumming and really worth checking out:

Incidentally, I'm also playing with Kirk MacDonald this coming Friday at the University of Regina.

Don't miss it !

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