Jazz@ThePat - A Flugelhorn & Painting With DrumsSunday, December 09, 2018
Oliver Gannon - guitar
Al Wold - piano
André Lachance - bass
Craig Scott - drums
Jerry Boey - trumpet
Wendy Biscuit - guest vocalist
Brad Turner 5tet
Brad Turner - trumpet
Jon Bentley - saxophone
Bruno Hubert - piano
André Lachance - bass
Dylan Van der Schyff – drums
This old man, aged 76 bought his first jazz album, TheMagic Flute of Herbie Mann (it included the song Oodles of Noodles) in Austin, Texas in 1958. In 1960 I heard the Dave Brubeck Quartet live at the University of Texas.
By 1962/63 I was going with friends to the CIA-front Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City on Mondays to listen to jazz records played by a DJ called Jerry Hulse who had red hair and looked a lot like Gerry Mulligan. The hour long sessions included free Nescafe.
On November 10, 2018 my retired journalist friend Maurice Bridge picked me up and dragged me to a hotel on East Hastings called The Patricia Hotel. Its bar is home to Roderick MacDonald’s Jazz at the Pat.
The concept of this is that since the hours of the sessions (no cover charge and there is not only fine booze but great food) is from 3 to 7 the hours are daylight safe for we the oldies who might not want to venture into the “unknown”. The schedule also means that the performers can all get more gigs (as my friend saxophonist Gavin Walker likes to say) in the evening.
The November 5 afternoon session included the surprise apparition (presence!) of recluse pianist Al Wold and the electric performance on electric guitar of Oliver Gagnon. The others I did not know but I was soon comfortable and having fun listening to music that reminded me of the be-bop era of the late 50s.
Because of the arrangement of the stage (in some areas there are posts that obstruct the view) and the fact that only one person works behind the bar it is my recommendation that you arrive before 3, get a table and buy your drinks (the lines get long).
But I must digress here to a day some years ago when I went to the Cultch for a send-off to Owen Underhill (now the artistic director of the Turning Point Ensemble) who was leaving another job which might have been his connection with new music. The highlight of the afternoon was a duo with Vern Griffiths on percussion and trumpet player Brad Turner. The latter was wearing a hat that hid his face. Most of the wonderful performance involved Turner never really playing anything with this instrument but making noises with the keys and blowing.
There seems to be a problem with my memory. Vern Griffiths tells me that if he had played with Brad Turner he would have remembered. Turner on Saturday told me that he has played so many concerts and venues that he has no recollection.
But there is another concert featuring Brad Turner’s Seven Scenes from a Childhood performed by the Turning Point Ensemble that I attended. When the piece was about to begin a short young man entered the room and sat in the middle of an orchestra with a miniature drum kit. This was Brad Turner. This memory of mine Turner did not deny!
So when I received an email from MacDonald announcing a Saturday Jazz@The Pat, I had to go. And I did.
I was lucky enough to sit with MacDonald, jazz drummer and retired journalist (the Vancouver Sun) Mark Andrews and euphonium (and other instruments) playing Sharman King.
Hovering around the room with his trademark beret was Andreas Nothiger (who ran a successful operation for many years at the Classical Joint in the late 70s and 80s). It is my belief that this saintly looking man may have made some sort of pact with the Angel of Darkness as he looks exactly the same as he did in 1980.
The two hour-long sets that I witnessed dragged me back to my youth and I had a hard time putting into my head the idea that I had heard music like this so long ago. But this was not exactly the case as Brad Turner played only tunes of his quartet in the first set (and then joined by tenor saxophonist Jon Bentley) and in the second set the pieces were so new that they were either unnamed or had multiple provisional names.
Perhaps Mark Andrews was there because drummer Dylan Van der Schyff, who was described by the men (plenty of women in other tables) at my table as a painter, was playing. If any drummer could ever be labeled and defined as subtle and discreet he is one of very few.
Pianist Bruno Hubert played with a style full of humour that I could not pin down. And consider that as far as jazz pianists are concerned two of my faves (who cannot be pinned down either) is the long departed Richard Twardzic and Pacific Baroque Orchestra Musical Director and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann (plays a mean jazz piano). Huber never played loudly but had a delicate touch which could shine ever so nicely when he accompanied bassist André Lachance.
I have no idea if any of these fine solos were planned by Brad Turner. The fact is that they were seamless thanks to Bruno Hubert.
The saxophonist, Jon Bentley blended nicely in duos with Turner that reminded me a lot of Gerry Mulligan with his piano less quartets that put the trumpet always on the spot.
As for Brad Turner he had a lovely flugelhorn on a stand by the floor. And he played it a lot. At this stage of my life I found it hard to discern the difference but that difference did happen when Turner played a few quite numbers.
My fave song of the evening was Junior Pants, a joke related to oldies like me who remember pianist Junior Mance.
The afternoon was a pleasant one for me. I spotted other friends in the crowd. The room is spotless and the hotel looks like, soon now, (who knows!) it might become another boutique hotel like some dives of my ecdysiast-watching past like the Niagara, the St. Regis, the Dufferin and the Austin.
Meanwhile I cannot think of a better thing do to do (and feel no guilt) like spending time on a Saturday at Jazz@The Pat.