Jazz cornet master Warren Vaché will be appearing for three nights at The Jazz Bistro Feb.25-27, accompanied by a fine local rhythm section consisting of Mark Eisenman on piano, Terry Clarke on drums and some guy named Steve Wallace on bass.
This is a musical event not to be missed as Warren, though no stranger to local fans in recent years with regular appearances at The Toronto Jazz Festival and various Ken Page Memorial Trust events, has not played a multiple-night engagement at a Toronto jazz club since the early 1980s heyday of Bourbon Street, where he often appeared with his old running buddy, tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton.
Together, Warren and Scott formed the spearhead of what came to be known in the late-70s as ‘the young mainstream movement’ in which the styles and repertoire of past masters such as Coleman Hawkins, Buck Clayton, Ben Webster, Bobby Hackett and others were not only revived, but refreshed through club appearances, concert and festival tours and a series of Concord recordings.
In the years since, Warren, already a redoubtable player in his younger days, has only continued to grow and mature as an artist, refining his style to the point where his solos can now be considered object lessons in the history of jazz trumpet playing, filtered through his own highly unique personal sensibilities. His sound has deepened and taken on a burnished lustre and his dynamic control is breathtaking, he can play at a whisper with great emotional impact. The mystery writer Ross MacDonald once said of his colleague Raymond Chandler that he wrote “like a slumming angel”. Those words apply just as well to Vaché, who combines a lyrical melodic grace with an earthy swing found only in players who came up the hard way, in clubs like Jimmy Ryan’s and Eddie Condon’s.
It promises to be a very compatible band as the rhythm section not only has done a lot of playing on its own as a unit, but each of us has a history of playing with Warren dating back many years. I look forward to this as I would to a visit from an old friend, a chance to converse and get caught up, musically and otherwise.
As a tie-in, a new CD featuring Warren – FLYING WITHOUT WINGS – has just been released (though not yet entirely officially) and will likely be available at the club. It’s a program of twelve choice old standards on which Vaché, Eisenman, Reg Schwager and I interact with vocalist John Alcorn in performances which range from veiled intimacy to rip-roaring romps and many points in between.
So don’t miss this chance to hear one of the masters of jazz in an optimal setting with a good band and a fine piano – what’s not to like? Be there or be square.
© 2016, Steve Wallace. All rights reserved.