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Sept 4–5, 2018
Larry Fuller World-class pianist Larry Fuller is deeply rooted in the hard-swinging tradition of classical jazz. A concert of his is like a master class in the history of jazz. (Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $16)
The 2016 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival has blown its last note, plucked its last string and struck its last key.
It’s time to recap the 10 concert moments that took our breaths away and made us gaze in wonder.
June 24 | Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Is he really playing jazz fest? Indeed he did, putting on a career-spanning set boasting some dazzling musicianship — drummer Doug Yowell is a monster — and most of the big hits. He’s still the man. (SD)
Larry Fuller Trio
June 25 | Frankie’s
Sometimes you can’t beat old-school jazz. Pianist Fuller, in the company of American drummer Lewis Nash and Vancouver bassist Russ Botten, performed parallel lines and ringing chords in a set that ranged from Clifford Brown to Joni Mitchell, closing with a New Orleans second-line rhythm. (MA)
Oliver Jones Trio
June 25 | Vogue Theatre
Legendary Canadian jazz pianist Oliver Jones, 81, capped a career spanning more than seven decades with a masterful performance at the Vogue. From classic cuts by hero/teacher Oscar Peterson to a medley of Gershwin’s works, Peterson played with a fluid, melodic gusto, backed impeccably by bassist Eric Lagace and drummer Jim Doxas. Considering his history, his call for more support for young artists at the end of the show was stirring. (FM)
THE LARRY FULLER TRIO EARSHOT FESTIVAL AT TULA’S
Pianist Larry Fuller brought his trio to Tula’s for the final weekend of last fall’s Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle. The evening was recorded for Jazz Northwest and will air on Sunday, April 17 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and stream online at KPLU.
Now a New York resident and a touring musician, Larry Fuller was Ernestine Anderson’s music director from 1988 to 1993 and was also active on the Seattle jazz scene. He later toured with the Jeff Hamilton Trio, was Ray Brown’s pianist until his death in 2002, and more recently pianist with the John Pizzarelli Quartet. He has two CDs under his own name in addition to sideman credits with others.
Joining Larry Fuller in this performance recorded at Tula’s are New York bassist David Wong and L.A. drummer Matt Witek.
Inspired by the great trios of Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown, the Larry Fuller Trio swings with a bluesy, deep groove that is reminiscent of its illustrious predecessors. Whether playing ballads, blues, or standards; the trio is deeply satisfying music on several levels, and this location recording captures the feeling of being there.
Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke exclusively for 88.5 KPLU and online at KPLU. The program airs at 2 PM Pacific on Sundays, and is available for streaming after broadcast online at Jazz Northwest.
Photo by Daniel Sheehan (www.danielsheehan.com)
Check out Larry’s latest live performance review by Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz. And take a listen to a clip from the show!
From Jazz at Kitano, NYC on Saturday, November 21, 2015.
SEE WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
“Whether playing rapid-fire, intricate passages or subtly interpreting a tender ballad, Fuller is always totally in command and engaging.” — JazzTimes, November 2014
“Here’s the thing about Larry Fuller–he’s not just a stellar straight-ahead jazz pianist. He’s also one of those guys who acts as a sort of walking encyclopedia of jazz styles, shifting without apparent effort from fleet-fingered bebop to stride and boogie-woogie approaches.” — CD Hot List, September 2014
“Ray Brown may be gone, but the legacy of his trio is safe in the hands of people like Larry Fuller.” — All About Jazz, August 2014
“The self-titled CD from pianist Larry Fuller…is simply marvelous….For fans of swinging mainstream piano, Larry Fuller’s self-titled CD comes highly recommended.” — Audiophile Audition, August 2014
“Larry Fuller swings like a beast!” — Bop-N-Jazz, August 2014
“An exceptionally talented pianist…Larry’s deft and always imaginative solos build upon a repertoire of the best of popular music.” — Jazz Mostly, August 2014
“No wonder Ray Brown liked playing with him so much at the end of his life.” — Buffalo News, August 2014
A Tale of Two Trios
Chase Morrin and Larry Fuller lead very different units.
By Robert Bush | Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 | Updated 12:59 PM PDT
The Chase Morrin Trio: The ASCAP-award-winning piano prodigy Chase Morrin was back in town (he is attending both Harvard and the New England Conservatory) to celebrate his 21st birthday with a concert at Dizzy’s, accompanied by bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Charles Weller.
Hunched over the piano, with his ear parallel to the keys, Morrin began “The Pintacree Ferryman,” by creating layers of straight-eighth diatonic harmonies as Grinnell charted an independent course over the shimmer of Weller’s cymbals. Hyper-melodic pastel colors also dominated “Through the Echo,” while classical flourishes dotted the landscape of “The Little Pear,” which also served as a launching pad for a fleet, probing bass solo.
In an evening characterized by Morrin’s originals, the excitement quotient didn’t really crank up until the trio launched into the flamenco groove of Chick Corea’s “What Was,” where Weller’s insistent cross-stick jabs and uppercuts egged the young pianist into his most animated work of the evening. Grinnell then proceeded to steal the show with limber filigree. Morrin’s got chops galore, challenging compositional ideas, and a rich touch at the piano. At this stage in his development – a little more emphasis on risk-taking and tension-building could catapult him to the next level.
The Larry Fuller Trio: The very next night, NYC pianist Larry Fuller dropped into the Pacific Beach venue with an entirely different aesthetic. Years of experience in the bebop ethos (the 49-year-old Fuller was the last pianist in bass-legend Ray Brown’s band) and a repertoire heavy on standards and jazz classics led to a night of heavy, ebullient swing.
Fronting a crack unit comprised of bassist Katie Thiroux and drummer Matt Witek, Fuller came out swinging for the fences on Cole Porter’s “At Long Last Love.” Over Thiroux’s thick, grounding pulse and the feather-dusting brushes of Witek, the pianist unleashed long bluesy phrases with startling velocity. Witek’s hands-on-skins percussion under languid arco primed Fuller for blues-rococo and deft block-chord ornamentation, and Thiroux kept her solo real with raw, primal chunks of meaty fundamentals delivered in synch with her own voice.
In a genius change of pace, Fuller’s long, two-chord improvisation began with swaths of Duke Ellington’s “Reflection in D,” and traversed into a neatly reimagined look into Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” which showcased his rather voluptuous sense of harmony. Then it was back to the races with Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” at a tempo somewhat shy of the speed-of-light but faster than one can legally travel on the Autobahn. The trio locked into a wicked 4/4 with gobs of unison accents as Fuller quoted “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise,” before yielding to Witek’s stick-ignited fireworks.
Two nights, two piano trios, two different worlds – equally viable – that’s kinda the beauty of jazz.
Robert Bush is a freelance jazz writer who has been exploring the San Diego improvised music scene for more than 30 years.
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