August 5th, 2014
Sometimes the human race needs a moment of solitude in which we may use music to reflect upon where we are, where we have come from, and take a break from dwelling about where we're going. To listen to a composer's exploration through a group of musicians reminds us temporarily there are many paths in life. For a moment we become empathetic as we witness with our ears their quest. Like a crew on a sailboat, the musicians come together in an integral fashion, each with their own duty and role to benefit the group as a whole - in a way, symbiosis. They guide us along the composer's map while we, the listener, go for a ride with them. Music, like existence, is simply about the journey, not the destination - never complete, nor finished. Like water that carves the coastlines, the oceans were there before us, and will be there after we pass, continuing to afford new crews sailings, explorations and discovery. To share a journey with music is symbiosis amongst humans. We bask in the bond of affection, emotion and shared experience as we ride with them.
Warmly, with my thoughts,
Symbiosis: interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
A mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.
Enjoy this link: Bill Evans Performs "Symbiosis" by: Claus Ogerman on YouTube
August 7th, 2013
I received an interesting email along with a request from a new friend / fan of mine; compose a waltz in commemoration of his mother. I started brewing my coffee, set my phone on the end table, and proceeded to record a video whilst at my piano this morning. I began to think about Roberto's email to me, and thought to myself his mother's description reminded me of my father's mother, who came here from Italy in the 1900's. While playing, I envisioned those strong Mediterranean values that for ages have produced so many unrelentingly loving matriarchs in this world that bond like cement their families. Often times one simple thought of appreciation is fuel enough to unlock an artist's creativity.
"Paula, my mother was born in 1922 on August 8th, in a small town, about 3 hours west of Buenos Aires, from a farmer's family that were of Hispanic and Irish descendent. They did all they could to educate and support a big family, and in those days it was very difficult. They eventually moved to the "Paris of South America", Buenos Aires, where they found subways, phones, shopping malls, and basically everything from the modern world, including Tangos, and classical music. The Tango was responsible for making my parents find each other. That said, she inherently loved classical waltzes, and that's why a waltz with her name on it will the best way that I and everyone that knew her will remember this amazing woman. I believe that she is still dancing that waltz, her waltz, Paula's Waltz"
For Roberto, with empathy,
Here's a tune I wrote that I normally play with my trio. It's an A,A,B,A, 32 bar form, with a reoccurring kick on beat two. That kick when played with my band, (Ed Bennett bass, Tim Rap / Mel Brown on drums), is the hook, and what I call a "Flump". It's an original composition of mine, that has a sound we associate with those bluesy / be-bop like swinging piano trios that come from such people as, Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, Benny Green, and Oscar Peterson. Although my composition was originally intended for piano trio, I find it can reflect that swinging drive a trio has as a solo piece too.
"Flump" is a silly term I came up with for those moments when a musician takes the stage with chewing gum, candy, or a cough drop in their mouth and experiences a sudden vanishing of the morsel in a moment of passion. In other words, whilst playing the tasty treat goes "Flump".
This is one of two 7 foot CS-214 Bosendorfers that just arrived at Classic Pianos of Portland. So fresh, new, and un-boxed was this gem of a piano, that I actually witnessed Rick Zackery take the protective strip of wood out that keeps the keys from moving during overseas shipping a few seconds before I recorded this video. Needless to say, the piano had just arrived in the "New World" and hadn't been tuned or prepped, but was "Bosendorfer wonderful" after it's long, tiring journey from Europe. And, I was the first one to play it!
I can't wait to go back and caress this wonderful instrument after the techs at Classic Pianos voice, regulate, and overall dial this baby in. Classic Pianos takes pride and extra care in preparing all their pianos from showroom to performance hall, and will do a few adjustments to this particular CS-214 because it just came off the ship. That said, it's a testament to the brand that this piano was mostly in tune, with medium weight on it's smooth action, and capable of producing a sparkle right out of the box.
I'll be getting around to many more wonderful pianos and more videos soon, so stay tuned. BTW; I'll point out with detail the differences between German piano building concepts vs. the American/Japanese concepts in the next series of videos.
I recently went to Classic Pianos of Portland to play on a former colleague’s piano. We had talked in the past about setting up a time when I could visit her apartment to play on her modified Yamaha S4 piano, but due to our busy schedules I never managed to find a time to do so before she decided to trade in her piano. Upon learning of the trade, I quickly managed to get out to Classic Pianos to play on it before someone bought it. Her particular piano, a circa mid 2000’s Yamaha S4, was “toned-down” for her small apartment with low ceilings. The superb technician who modified this instrument was my friend Rick Zackery, manager of Classic Pianos Portland. This particular piano has an extremely soft mezzo forte with a warm tone, yet is fully capable of producing crystal clear accented notes without massive volume due to Rick’s “customized-for-client” modifications. The quality of tone is exactly what one expects from the high-end “S” series, but in the case of this piano, the nuances of tone and color may be found by a player within a quieter spectrum. Additionally, those modifications for small apartment living made it an ideal choice for a quick, impromptu recording on a Galaxy S3 phone, recorded at Classic Pianos in Portland Oregon, February 24, 2013.
I had a wonderful (and warm) evening performing with M.B.Q. (Mel Brown Quartet) Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at Jimmy Mak's. Being the pianist and musical director
of this "band of bandleaders" ever since the early 2000's doesn't make one complacent, but rather inspired, as there will always be magical moments and
surprises to be found.
One moment in particulat that sticks out to me was our bassist Ed Bennett's amazing solo on our very last tune, Neal Hefti's composition "Whirlybird" done at a whirling-fast tempo, and on his un-amplified bass to boot. It wasn't a "walking" bass solo, it was sprinting!
I read on Facebook yesterday a post from a person named James, who is a friend of our guitarist, Dan Balmer. James said he was bringing some people from France to the show. Immediately after reading this, I re-worked an arrangement for the quartet of Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe In Spring", incorporating an extended intro of unison lines with guitar and piano. I also included the bass melodically on this three-part intro arco (bowed). This new arrangement also contained a point where the melody transfers to guitar with just piano accompaniment. The reciprocity from Dan Balmer's playing was stunning, and his phrasing matched my intent.
Alright, now for something coincidental: On our intermission I met TWO large groups of people from France in the audience, completely unaware of each other - go figure, right?. Nonetheless, we had a very full room of respectful listeners, and I made acquaintances with both French groups, and a couple recently transplanted from Asia. Thank you musical patrons from near and afar, I hope to see you again.
Warmly, ~Tony Pacini
When I was in the first grade, I lived the majority of that year in particular with my parents on a Greek cruise ship which toured the Caribbean Islands. My father (a professional musician as well), was the arranger, bandleader and emcee for this series of cruises - one of many beautiful memories he bestowed upon me as a child. I was home schooled, (or rather "schooled at sea") during this time, and experienced Caribbean life, as well as Greek culture aboard the T.S.S. Atlas, - a Greek cruise ship from the Epirotiki Line. Every two weeks we were dropping off passengers, gaining new ones, and seeing the same islands over and over, but as a 7 yr old, well, I was in 7th heaven.
Needless to say, my childhood memories saw no difference between Caribbean culture versus Greek culture, and the jazz my father played. I just thought people were wonderful and the same! As an adult, this may explain why I find the works of Jamaican born jazz pianist Monty Alexander fascinating, as I've been imprinted with an affinity for Caribbean rhythms, and tend to seek out those things in life that "cross-pollinate", so to speak.
This video is yet another form of blending; that of musical styles, as well as piano build types. The tune I'm playing here is based on Harold Arlen's "It's Only A Paper Moon", but over the years I've introduced so many alternative chord changes, twists on the melody and rhythms, that it's become something else entirely. There's a slight resemblance in the opening melody line to Harold Arlen's other composition "Get Happy", as well as a sprinkling of Caribbean flavor influenced by Monty Alexander's rendition of Blue Mitchell's "Fungi Mama", so, let's call this "Calypso Moon".
The piano I'm playing here is also blended - It's the latest high end instrument from Yamaha, a C3X, from their "X" series which now replaces the "S" line. This "C3X" is a piano that measures 6' 7", and utilizes German mallets, hammers, strings, and soundboard, while maintaining a Yamaha build perfection which is found within it's redesigned shell and action. To be honest, the components are actually Austrian due to the "blended" and respectful ownership between Yamaha and Bosendorfer pianos. Prior to this "X" series, pianos were typically classified as of "Germanic" build type; those pianos with huge amounts of colors, textures and nuance of tone found within a narrower volume spectrum (e.g. Bluethner, Schimmel, & Bosendorfer brands), or "American", pertaining to primarily Steinway, it's innovations, and American rumble if you will. The pianos from Asia were typified as "American" build model in nature, that is, until now with the Yamaha "X" series.
One last point related to this vid; Wikipedia has the following two definitions for "Calypso" listed: 1) "Calypso was a nymph in Greek mythology, who lived on the island of Ogygia, where she detained Odysseus for several years. She is generally said to be the daughter of the Titan Atlas", and 2) "Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid 20th century. It lays it roots in the West African Kaiso and the migration of French planters and their slaves from Dominica and Martinique." Not asking you to drag Freud into the comments box to analyze my childhood or anything, but I did stop to think for myself that perhaps it's more than coincidental that there's a Greek Calypso as well as a Caribbean one. Hmmm, food for thought.
I’m listening to George Shearing with the Robert Farnon Orchestra as I write this, reflecting on the wonderful evening we (the Tony Pacini Trio) enjoyed on the last Friday of 2012. As I walked into Wilf’s that night, I couldn’t stop smiling as I was greeted by so many devoted friends and fans. Included in the congregation were several people I hadn’t seen in a while, and some, who despite feeling under the weather, or having to travel a fair distance, were compelled to make the effort / pilgrimage choosing to share their warmth and evening with us. We enjoyed the company of all, and also made friends with new listeners. The trio graciously channeled the attentiveness of all those wonderful people back into the music.
One of our devoted listeners had brought her entire family, (in town for the holidays), and had asked what the “Third Stream” selections advertised on my website’s RSS feed were about http://notablenotes.tonypacini.com/?feed=rss2. I acknowledged her question by showing her a piece of music-manuscript-paper before the gig that consisted of simply one line of music: a fermata (hold sign), a chord progression consisting of three measures of arco (bowed bass), followed by “Chopin solo piano”, “repeat intro with band”, then “band in on Jobim tune”, concluding with coda (ending). I said; “They’ll (the trio) know what to do”.
We begin: I took the bench, poised myself at the piano, and thought that it might be nice to start the evening off soft and with a solo-piano number so as to provide more crescendo room for the musical entrance of my longtime gifted colleagues, Tim Rap (drums), and Ed Bennett (bass). Most of the time the approach to kicking off the night is like saying; “Hey, let’s get this thing going and swing hard”, but the room seemed to be especially sentimental with loyal listeners and new ones all getting to know each other, and, with the intent of listening. I simply began playing Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke” solo, and transitioned into two tunes written by Ellington, following which I provided the intro cue to Tim and Ed for our up-tempo samba rendition of “Prelude To A Kiss”. Having 13 years of musical rapport with Tim and Ed allows me the opportunity to program a set of music on the fly by incorporating arrangements they know that they will jump in on as soon as they hear me segue into them – I‘m so lucky to have them.
The cross-pollination of “classical meets jazz” medley mentioned earlier we played next. It was one of two “Third Stream” selections I arranged that I debuted at this performance. Ed Bennett’s arco work accompanying my harmonic redirection was superb, and Tim Rap did what he does so well on the drums; shaped the medley from start to coda with sensitivity, dynamics, and respect on a compositional level.
We also performed my involved arrangement of Franz Lehar’s “Your’s, Is My Heart Alone”, our new piano trio “thumbprint” on Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud”, and my original compositions “Pastel For Two” (a mixed-meter waltz) and “I Feel Your Smile” (an original ballad with influence and connotations from Monty Alexander’s “That’s Why”).
Our last set included two songs with special guest tenor saxophonist Harry Allen who converged upon us along with delightful vocalist Rebecca Kilgore and friends. They had just finished performing with Rebecca at a different venue. Nonetheless, Harry sat in and we played a fairly brisk version of Gershwin’s “Love Walked In”, followed by “How Am I To Know”, an obscure tune written by Jack King and Dorothy Parker from the 1929 film “Dynamite”. Well, the gig went overtime, but it was worth it – so much fun!
Up next: More piano-trio at Portland Prime with bassist Ed Bennett and drummer Mel Brown, a break on Sunday, then I’ll regroup Monday night with Mel, Ed, and the addition of saxophonist John Nastos at Prime to ring in the new year.
Hope to see you soon!
My sincerest thanks to all of you who attended the Harry Allen show last night at Jimmy Mak’s – you fueled the music. It was great to reconnect with Harry again after so many years. We both recalled playing in Oregon 9-10 times together from 1995-2005, but haven’t been able to line up anything since. Many thanks to Ralph Lodewick for starting it all back in the 1990’s, and a special thank you to Rebecca Kilgore for bringing Harry Allen out this time around – I can think of no better way to end the year than continuing to share bandstands with Harry.
Harry started off the night with “But Not For Me”, and Mel, Ed, and myself instinctively started off the tune following Harry’s countdown with a variation of an interlude made famous from the great pianist Ahmad Jamal’s version of the same tune. The room was very attentive and came to ecstatic admiration after Harry’s first solo. I couldn’t help but think right then; “This is going to be a splendid evening”, and sure enough, it was.
We also performed a very tender “Nearness Of You”, as well as a rapid fire “Strike Up The Band”. Rebecca Kilgore sitting in the audience joined us for the last two tunes of the first set augmenting the quartet with her charm, and vocal sweetness on, “How About You”, and “Exactly Like You”.
I must admit selfishly though that the highlight for me came on the second set, when Harry reminded me of an idea I came up with whilst chatting with him on the phone about details of the gig a few days prior. I had told him that I recently watched a Bill Charlap YouTube video where he performed Brubeck’s “The Duke” and went right into Ellington’s (”Duke’s”) “Sophisticated Lady”. I told Harry about the tragic loss of a friend of mine’s sister whose last recording (she was a very gifted vocalist) included the tune “I’ll Be Around”. Anyways, to make this a bit shorter, I suggested that we use that tune as a solo piano piece, much like a verse to set up a rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. The words to both songs have a similar theme, and since we both agreed the holiday season seemed especially reflective, it was a go. That meant a lot to me in a “reflective” moment, and I thought to myself, the older I get, the more I realize it’s moments like this that make life rich.
Sincerely, ~Tony Pacini
Additionally, I’ve good news, Harry and I are already talking about a follow up performance on the last Wednesday in June of 2013. I’ll keep you posted (http://tonypacini.com/). Once again, thank you beautiful, kind ears – You make it special. ~Tony
In addition to living the "jazz life" as a full-time pianist performing four to five nights a week, I have the distinct pleasure of hosting a specialty show on Portland's jazz radio station,
K.M.H.D. three hours (10am - 1pm) every Friday morning. We are heard world-wide through the internet (stream K.M.H.D. at: http://www.kmhd.org/player/),
and have recently won "Jazz Radio Station Of The Year" (2013).
Rob Cullivan of The Portland Tribune said; "KMHD 89.1 FM was recently judged to be the top jazz station among 25 major U.S. markets, thanks to the likes of Tony Pacini's 'Jazz Connections' show. Nearly 30 years old, KMHD is among the oldest listener-supported stations in the country." The full article about K.M.H.D. by Rob Cullivan may be found by clicking this link.
Here's something fun for your enjoyment: a television commercial I'm in that was filmed for the station a Summer ago. Matt Fleeger, program director for the station, is also in the video.
If you have a Facebook account, click this link to watch the commercial I'm in: https://www.facebook.com/v/440955322905
I started the evening off with a few standards, then tapped into a reflective state of mind thinking about all the wonderful musicians I know whose musical contributions are a positive sign of what humans are capable of despite the recent bout of violence in the headlines. Within three songs, people were flowing in, and I suddenly began to have a wonderful evening full of friends, fans and listeners whilst performing at the piano for my "Happy Hour" sets last night.
I managed to get some laughs by merging "Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy" with "Greensleeves" a.k.a. "What Child Is This" for the holidays - Pyotr (Tchaikovsky) was rolling in his grave I'm sure. The room was filled with love from Carolyn Joyce, Gary Fantz, Brent & Jenifer, Drew & company, and many more. While playing I couldn't help but loose myself reflecting on the care each person was giving me with their attention and I mustered up with ease the desire to give back through the music. It made me think of those feelings we all have around the holidays when we acknowledge with a little token or card, etc, those people we just have to let know are special. I made a point to think about all the people I love while playing (company included) and found myself comfortable and free with the piano, able to express tenderness, excitement, caring, or whatever else I was feeling on each and every tune. What a difference an audience can make when we say "I love you too" through the music.
~ Tony Pacini
Enamored: “To inspire with love, captivate”… I have always been a fan enamored by George Shearing’s piano career since I was 13, but I find myself returning to this master of the piano a second time around some 29 years later in my life with the new obsession of studying him intensely.
The wiki on him is profound, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Shearing including Grammy wins twice, and being “knighted by the queen”. Although thorough, “Sir George’s” wiki doesn’t mention what I recently deduced for myself after hearing an interview with him on YouTube as follows: When asked how he came about the “Shearing Sound”, or “locked-hands” way of soloing/improvising with chords (identical to what arrangers call “four-way-closed-double-lead” chord voicing when writing sax-soli sections for big bands), Shearing explained that in a way, he was sort of forced to do so. Now let me explain that; Sir George said that when he immigrated to the United States, producers heard him performing in N.Y. (shortly after that big war in the 40’s), wanted to grant him record deals, but bill him “The English Fats Waller meets, Teddy Wilson/Tatum”. Sir George continues by saying that he took the deals, but felt it was a bit asinine to be “an English” version of anyone when we (in the U.S. at the time) already had “the real ones” – i.e. Waller, Wilson, & Tatum. He (Sir George), then took the liberty of enhancing, by literally “taking the ball and running away with it”, the “Block-chord” approach of soloing on the piano, but in a be-bop fashion – George’s implementation of not just playing be-bop lines, but actually doing it with “block-chords” was happening in the late 1940’s! Innovator perhaps? He sites the inspiration of studying the nice sounds of block chords from organist/pianist Milt Buckner, and the sax section of the Glenn Miller orchestra for the record.
Additionally, to pair up the top voice of piano melody done in block chord on vibraphone, and the lower voice with guitar became “The Shearing Sound” whereas his quintets are concerned. I caution you though, Sir George wasn’t just that guy with popular albums rendered through the “block chord” sounds of his quintets, remember this; he was an Englishman/European, and a pianist in love with America’s jazz movement, swing, musicals and songbook. His English upbringing inevitably gave him a classical education on the piano and an affinity for European classical music when he crossed the Atlantic all those years ago. If we take that in consideration with his “being here” during the early minutes of history when be-bop jazz was being made, it’s no wonder we’re left with such gems as his classic Shearing quintet sounds pioneered in the 40’s & 50’s, amazing be-bop sounds as evident on such albums like Shearing with the Montgomery brothers, and multiple decades of “Third Stream” yet swingin’ jazz approaches to solo piano. Six decades of recordings, and even more decades of performing, not to mention his collaboration and co-led recordings with some of the greatest names in music, not to mention Sir George’s arranging and compositions, – quite a legacy.
Just think for a minute what the Nat King Cole Trio would have sounded like had it been a quartet with vibes. Ponder the Red Garland approach to melodies on his classic trio recordings on Prestige, and the multitude of pianists like Nat Cole, Oscar, Phineas, Benny Green, who use fast block chords in their soloing.
While imagining those familiar, pianistic sounds, think about the impressionistic, classical influenced, jazz piano sounds of that other “limb of the jazz family tree” that branches out into the likes of Evans and Jamal, to Jarrett and Mehldau. It seems that we sometimes forget to mention Shearing in “shop-talk” around our city and that Shearing’s approach of blending classical with jazz, most evident on his post 1970’s solo piano works, exhibit yet another side of Shearing, and a very important musical contribution that has influenced multiple generations. Anyways, in my book that’s significant, and he’s spectacular.
I’m just respecting the man and his music right now, and enjoying streaming a great YouTube channel featuring Sir George which is keeping the musical neurons in my head firing with inspiration.
Just my thought for today,
~ Tony Pacini
This morning's routine of maintenance piano practicing led my mind to thinking of refreshing and revamping some holiday songs I arranged a number of years ago. Sure enough, I refreshed and revamped my arrangements of Christmas songs (that stuff we only get to once a year as musicians), and the morning felt productive as my "musical doctoring" was complete within a few hours this morning.
My next order of business was errand running, and the day consumed me. I was about to add a few simple lead sheets with basic kicks and alternate chord progressions to the pile of Christmas selections, when suddenly I found myself planning and organizing an entire evening of holiday music for the Wednesday night / Jimmy Mak's band! I don't know what came over me next, but with not much time left in the day / afternoon before the gig, I decided to transcribe large portions of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and arrange those themes for the jazz quartet. With the clock ticking (countdown to the downbeat), I hastily managed to complete "Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy" in time to leave for the gig.
The band (Ed Bennett-bass, Dan Balmer-guitar, Mel Brown-drums,) was stupendous, and the comments on break were fabulous. Thank you, all of you that attended and made the music happen with us; our voice is heard through your ears, attentiveness, and applause.
Happy Holidays, ~Tony
Had the honor of playing three nights with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt late November of 2012.
For now, here's journalist Ben Salmon's article about the shows we performed.
More to come when I find time to write with words rather than notes, ~Tony
Some great shows coming up this year - 2012 ( see below )
Join us Wednesday, November 14th, when internationally acclaimed vibraphonist Chuck Redd performs with good friend/jazz pianist Tony Pacini, and the Mel Brown Quartet; guitarist Dan Balmer, bassist Ed Bennett, and drummer Mel Brown. All ages welcome. Reservations advised; call 503-295-6542.
Chuck Redd's Bio: Visit: http://chuckredd.com/bio.htm
When: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 (Special Concert)
Who: Internationally acclaimed vibraphonist Chuck Redd with M.B.Q. (Mel Brown Quartet).
Featuring: Tony Pacini-piano, Dan Balmer-guitar, Ed Bennett-bass, Mel Brown-drums.
Where: Jimmy Mak's 221 NW 10th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209
All ages welcome for the first set (8:00pm-9:30pm)
Reservations advised:$12 See below
Venue Info: 503-295-6542 www.jimmymaks.com
Join me this year in Newport, Oregon for the Jazz Party there October 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2012. I'll be on the stand several times this year, and with some internationally acclaimed jazz artists; Chuck Redd, Jeff Clayton, and Gary Hobbs, just to name a few.
Please check back often at my Schedule Page for updates about tickets, venues, times, etc.
I had the great honor and privilege of sharing the bandstand with Israeli born saxophonist / clarinetist Anat Cohen this Spring. The performance occurred at Mt. Hood Community College’s Performing Arts Theater on Friday night, May 4th, 2012 with Anat on sax and clarinet, myself on piano, Tim Gilson on bass and drummer Gary Hobbs. We performed some of Anat's arrangements on such tunes as "Lullaby Of The Leaves", Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks", Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation", and an original Anat Cohen melody line written to the changes of "After You've Gone", done blistering fast I might add.
Although this show was open to the public, it was also part of the college’s invitational festival held every first weekend in May, when high schools from all corners of the state, and beyond, arrive on Saturday to perform, compete and experience jazz education at the highest level. I was also honored to sit along side colleague / drummer Gary Hobbs as one of those judges for the division 1 category. The day started at 8:30am with the usual judges meeting, and the judging/performing started at 9:00am, continuing to 5:00pm, and with a lunch break thrown in for good measure. Judges present at this year’s festival included, Stan Bock, Brian Dickerson, Paul Mazzio, Jeff Usitalo, Dave Barduhn, Tim Gilson, Gary Hobbs and myself. As well as being able to share with all those teenaged performers some guidance to getting the most out of the music, I found myself easing back in my chair a few times throughout the day due to some stellar soloists and presentations. At times, it felt as if I had been looking into an oracle that gave me a little glimpse into the future of jazz, - and it looked good. Congratulations to Sunset, David Douglas and West Linn High Schools for your success at the festival.
PDX Jazz Festival, February, 2012
The Tony Pacini Trio (featuring bassist Ed Bennett, drummer Mel Brown, and myself), were invited by Don Lucoff to play at this year's (2012) PDX Jazz Festival. The theme on the main stage Saturday night was Italian. We played songs by Italian-American musicians, Henry Mancini, George Wallington (a.k.a. Giacinto Figlia), Frank Rosolino, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett. Following us, Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava took the stage with his band "Tribe" featuring; Enrico on trumpet, Gianluca Petrella on trombone, Giovanni Guidi on piano, bassist Gabriele Evangelista, and drummer Fabrizio Sferra. We couldn't stay for long because we had to get over to the Portland Embassy Suites Hotel for our weekly Saturday night gig, but surprisingly, Enrico's band was staying there for this leg of their tour. They popped in after their set and caught our last set at Prime that night, and we conversed endlessly about jazz. Truly a delightful evening.
Many thanks to Don Lucoff (PDX Jazz Festival Director), Classic Pianos, Enrico, and the Winningstad Theater and their staff for this year's great festival.
Some great shows of 2011 ( see below )
(archives listed below)
A SHOW YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS:
Jazz Legend Curtis Fuller Performs One Night In Portland With:
Tony Pacini-piano, Ed Bennett-bass, Mel Brown-drums, at Jimmy Mak's.
When: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
Jazz Legend Curtis Fuller-trombone.
Where: Jimmy Mak's
221 NW 10th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209
All ages welcome for the first set (8:00pm-9:30pm)
Venue Info: 503-295-6542 www.jimmymaks.com
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What's Ahead In 2010?
I'm looking forward to some spectacular performances in the coming year. 2010 promises to be as rewarding, if not more exciting than ever before with a line-up you don't want to miss - see below...
A brief, "What's coming" listed below: Please save the dates,
& please check the Schedule Page for updates!
I've lined up Chuck Redd for a return visit with the Mel Brown Quartet in early March. Hopefully I can arrange for vibes master Chuck to share a bandstand with drum master Dick Berk. Stay tuned.
This is going to happen; I'll be sharing the bandstand with one of the most venerable, and sophisticated tenor saxophonists of all time, whose integrity, inspiration, and contributions to jazz bridge all divides, the great Benny Golson. Yes, that's Benny Golson. Please check back with me here at the website in the near future for details regarding this once in a lifetime Portland performance scheduled for Wednesday, April 21st, 2010.
On Saturday, May 8th, jazz trumpet star Byron Stripling will grace the bandstand at Jimmy Mak's backed by Gary Hobbs on drums, Tim Gilson on bass and myself on piano. Byron is a great jazz trumpeter, doing everything from film scores (literally playing like Satch), to blowing Be-bop, swing, writing, etc. For our engagement in May, Gary Hobbs will be on drums with Tim Gilson on bass, and I will be on piano. I can't wait for this.
(Hey Byron, you might appreciate this little pic I made. The signed note was given to me by my high school counselor the day I graduated. She had the opportunity to meet Louis as a little girl, and wanted me to have it. At first I refused accepting it knowing that she should preserve her memory of conversing with such an iconic "Jazz Saint" if you will. She insisted I have it saying; "You're deserving of it", and so I accepted it, and honorably guard it in my jazz shrine. It sits with my original copy of 78 speed lps of "The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band", as well as a few Satch cuts too).
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Having A Blast In 2009
I'm having a blast in 2009 working with some great people in jazz.
On Wednesday, April 15th, I had the honor of accompanying vocalist/actor Bill Henderson, (formerly of Count Basie's Orchestra). We performed quite a few selections off Bill's new CD "Beautiful Memory", and had a great time sharing experiences amongst ourselves, as well as with the audience. I always think of Bill's role in the motion picture "City Slickers" as much as I think of him as a Jazz Vocalist for some reason. I guess that's the entertainment business for you.
On Wednesday, May 27th, 2009, I found myself on stage with jazz trumpet sensation Terell Stafford. After the usual afternoon rehearsal, we (Ed Bennett-bass, Mel Brown-drums, myself on piano, and Terell Stafford on trumpet), all converged on the bandstand for some of the most soulful trumpet led music I have had the honor of being a part of. Terell brings both jazz history and forward thinking vision to his compositions, arrangements and playing.
On Friday, May 8th, 2009, I met, rehearsed, and performed with alto saxophonist Antonio Hart. The band consisted of Gary Hobbs on drums, Tim Gilson on bass, and myself on piano. Antonio brought so much energy to the bandstand, that I was amazed after he announced he felt a "little under the weather", and "stuck on a different time-zone". We played some of his compositions, but what really blew me away was his Coltrane-ish approach on the alto while playing standards.
The following day, the four of us did a performance at Mt. Hood Community College thanks to Susie May Jones (instrumental -pun intended- jazz faculty of the college, responsible for putting together such great artists, workshops and performances).
Thank You Susie!
And, thanks for saving the Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz!
We are all forever grateful.
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Tony Pacini Trio Records Live: August, 2009
In addition to performing every Wednesday night at Jimmy Mak's (Portland's premiere jazz club), my Trio recorded live there on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009. Our hope is to produce a follow up CD to our previous release, "Live At Jimmy Mak's" which is currently celebrating worldwide popularity (especially in Japan). I'll let you know how the production of our newest CD is coming along here at www.tonypacini.com, so check back frequently.
In the meanwhile, feel free to listen to this
audio sample from a rough mix of that night's session
Note: The Mp3 sample above is unedited and has not been mixed.
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More Recordings for 2010
More recordings will be coming out in 2010. During the Summer of 2009 bassist Tim Gilson and I began recording as a duo in the studio. Tim envisioned producing a CD consisting of mostly piano and bass instrumentation with a few solo numbers. As we worked on original compositions and our arrangements of jazz standards, it became evident that some of the material would really sound good with drums. As a result we brought drummer Todd Strait (formerly of the Karrin Allyson band and pianist Eldar's recordings), into the sessions. This was a great move as some of the arrangements with drums were spontaneously created during recording, and the blend of solo, duo and trio instrumentation as the end result of these sessions is sure to provide us with a CD full of varied material. Please stay "tuned in" to the website in 2010 for updates about this project.
Feel free to listen to this
audio sample from a rough mix of the recording session.
Note: The Mp3 sample above is unedited and has not been mixed.
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A funny moment playing "Blues For El Cid"
Here's a funny moment captured one night at Jimmy Mak's ( my regular Wednesday Night gig as pianist and musical director on the Mel Brown Quartet ). We are playing my original composition "Blues For El Cid", which has a Phrygian chord progression. The intro ( to be done by guitar for a Spanish sounding affect ), seemed to need something, so, Mel Brown (drums), Ed Bennett (bass), and myself (piano) reached into our pockets and used our keys as chimes during Dan Balmer's (guitar) interpretation of the intro.
Once you're past the intro, the tune kicks up into a samba. - enjoy
Tony Pacini Trio Live At Jimmy Mak's CD
In addition to my Trio's ongoing shows at Wilf's Restaurant, we performed and recorded live this past Summer at Portland's newest jazz hotspot, Jimmy Mak's. (The Tony Pacini Trio consists of myself on piano, Ed Bennett on bass and Tim rap on drums). The Tony Pacini Trio Bio
The CD that came about from that performance is our best work to date, thanks to those of you who filled the room that night with your attentive passion. Tiffany Sheahan and Classic Pianos graciously provided both the trio and listeners simply the best piano I had ever played, and the enthusiasm from both the audience as well as the bandstand is unparalleled on this CD.
The January 2007 CD release event for "Tony Pacini Trio-Live At Jimmy Mak's" was a stellar success. Over 200 hundred attentive listeners - the size of a small jazz festival - came out to welcome the new recording. We played selections from all three of my CDs as well as tunes not yet recorded. All the music was well received; it was an honor to perform for such a large, enthusiastic audience. Eager for more, many fans went home with autographed CDs. For anyone who wasn't able to brave the crowded room, I'll be happy to sign your CD at any future performance.
Special thanks to: Dick Bogle for standing in as guest emcee; to the staff at Jimmy Mak's for their hard work; to everyone at K.M.H.D. radio who helped introduce the new music over the airwaves especially Dick Bogle and Lynn Darroch for having me on their shows and Calvin Walker for helping promote the event. Thanks also to Gary Fantz for helping Marci at the CD table. Thanks to John Slavick and Classic Pianos for tuning the Yamaha to perfection for this event. The biggest thanks, of course, go out to my loyal listeners. There is nothing like looking out at a sea of familiar, friendly faces. As always, this CD is dedicated to you.
Sincerely, Tony Pacini
Excerpt from liner notes by: Marci W. Maitland
"On Wednesday, August 9th, an unexpected chain of events, beginning appropriately with a piano, led to this live recording. Thanks to Tiffany Sheahan and Classic Pianos a beautiful Yamaha S-6 was sponsored for the Trio's first performance at the new Jimmy Mak's, Portland's premiere jazz club. Inspired by the Yamaha's responsive touch and depth of tone, Tony contacted Marc Davis of Aloha Sound and "Tony Pacini Trio-Live At Jimmy Mak's" is the result."
(Excerpt above taken from liner notes by: Marci W. Maitland)
(Photo above by: John Slavick courtesy of Classic Pianos)
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Chuck Redd: revisted
(December 5th, 2007)
On December 5th, (2007) the Mel Brown Quartet had the pleasure of sharing the bandstand with vibes master Chuck Redd. A celebrated drummer in the jazz world, Chuck has toured with, for example, the Charlie Byrd Trio, the Great Guitars ( Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel ), Conte Condoli and the Mel Torme All Star Jazz Quintet, earning critical and popular acclaim.
Chuck had performed with us ( the M.B.Q. ) once before and I looked forward to the upcoming encore. We met up at the club a few hours before the gig. Local vibist Mike Horsfall had delivered and set up his vibraphone for Chuck's use that night. After an hours' run through with Mel, Ed, Dan and myself, Chuck and I jammed on a few personal favorites - Eluthera, a Monty Alexander tune, Juicy Lucy and Rockin' Chair the last of which we performed as a duo that night. The combination of stride piano and vibes worked well on the Hoagy Carmichael tune.
We began the evening with Chuck's original Happy All The Time from his CD of the same name. Chuck's arrangement of Laura and his original When Redd Is Blue gave the audience a tasty sample of his well rounded artistry.
Mike Horsfall joined Chuck at the vibes for a vaudeville style presentation of I'll Remember April. Standing side by side, each appearing to block the other's reach while trading fours.
Chuck stayed in Portland for several days allowing us to meet at the Benson Hotel Friday night to hear saxophonist and friend Lee Wuthenow. The band invited us to sit in. With Chuck on drums, myself on piano, Andrea Niemiec on bass, and the wonderful Lee Wuthenow on tenor, we woke up the room with I Remember You, I've Never Been In Love Before, and the Jobim jewel Dreamer. As is the custom in Portland, musicians converged on the Benson after their own gigs, sharing musical experiences, news, and jazz past, present and future in general. It was a great "hang" as we say.
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Karrin Allyson (October 2007)
Wildly popular jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson accompanied by the Mel Brown Quartet sang to a SRO audience featuring such tunes as, Life Is A Groove and I found The Turnaround, (selections from her Grammy nominated recording "Footsteps"), as well as other originals and standards from her many CDs.
Karrin typically travels with her band, thus it was a rare honor to share a bandstand with this internationally acclaimed artist. I found Karrin to be very personable and professional. A confident performer, she was remarkably easy to work with.
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Carl Saunders (May 2007)
Trumpet virtuoso Carl Saunders delighted a spellbound audience at LV's Uptown in May (2007). What a treat is was to share the bandstand with him. Carl joked with the crowd before scatting a tune as well as any top flight jazz vocalist. Altogether a musical powerhouse, Carl gives voice to the trumpet second to none.
During his visit to Portland, Carl led a clinic on jazz improvisation at M.H.C.C. I had just completed my presentation on the role of the rhythm section in jazz and at Carl's request I accompanied him at his clinic. Following these clinics Carl, myself and Tall Jazz performed a concert, wrapping up this weekend of musical education.
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Central Oregon Jazz Society at Bebop Coffeehouse
In March (2007) The Tony Pacini Trio had the honor of performing the inaugural concerts for the Central Oregon Jazz Society. Thanks to the hard work and determination of jazz fan and visionary Duncan McNeill the Trio was well received and the concerts were well attended. It would be great to have the Bend area become a stronghold of all things jazz. Good luck Duncan!
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Marlena Shaw (September 2005)
The summer of 2005 ended with a bang when the Mel Brown Quartet performed at the Newport Jazz Festival on the Oregon Coast. The Quartet accompanied outstanding jazz vocalist Marlena Shaw who headlined the Festival. The intuitive interaction developed over the five years this Quartet has been together served us well at this special musical event. Marlena's version of "You've Changed" with her her unique spoken intro brought the house down.
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Dee Daniels (December 2006)
December brought unexpected cold and heavy snow. Lucky for me I was at Bend's spectacular Sun River Resort performing with the equally spectacular vocalist Dee Daniels. Sharing the bandstand with this gracious and talented singer made the death-defying trek worthwhile.
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Mary Stallings (March 2006)
Spring found Mel Brown, Ed Bennett and myself in Seattle, WA at Jazz Alley, the jazz hotspot of the Pacific Northwest. We were there accompanying jazz singer Mary Stallings, a former Basie Band vocalist. As is customary Mary sent the band charts and Cds ahead of time to prepare for the gig. After hearing Mary sing "Remember Love" and "Stuck In A Dream With You", I was blown away. Mary pulls the listener into the song, taking you with her to the very last note.
Mel, Ed and I spent our days rehearsing at the condo-complete with piano-provided by Jazz Alley. The three of us have been playing together every week for ten years and it was a treat to spend that time with first-rate musicians who are also great friends.
We were at Jazz Alley for two nights playing two sets each night. Each set began with our trio doing several arrangements from my trio book. Then Mary would take the stage and the rest was magic. Almost every jazz vocalist regardless of their personal style or favorite influences must include the great Carmen McRae in their studies at one time or another. After the performance I asked Ed Bennett (longtime bassist for Carmen) if there was anyone that ever came close to that quality. Ed's reply was "Mary Stallings".
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Harry Allen (May 2005)
During my years as a professional jazz pianist I've had the privilege of working with some truly outstanding players. Out of that group there are a handful of players that I would hitch a ride with a long-haul trucker if need be for the opportunity to perform with them. Fortunately, in May of 2006 a few hours drive down the Oregon coast rewarded me with an evening performing with tenor saxophonist Harry Allen. I have shared a bandstand with Harry a number of times over the years and each time find myself dazzled by his talent, ability and professionalism, not to mention the encyclopedia of tunes this man holds in memory. From coaxing breathtaking ballads gently out of his horn, for example Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark", to demonstrating his mastery of the old school jazz tradition, a style very rarely heard live today, Harry does it all effortlessly. Performing with Harry is an honor, an education and most of all a night of great music.
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Chuck Redd (May 2007)
I received the following email from Tim Taylor in reference to a wonderful night I had accompanying this great vibes player.
"Tony, it goes without saying that I love your playing. I just want to say I was thrilled with the performance by you and the whole Mel Brown Quartet with Chuck Redd Wednesday (June 2007). All of you were inspired and groovin' hot. You were a wildman on that piano. I have always enjoyed the interaction between you guys in your performance but this was the best live jazz experience of my life. Ed Bennett seemed more inspired as well as Dan Balmer and Mel...well he is just Mel. Excellence is his groove. I also love the facial expressions back and forth between you and Mel. I feel so honored to have had the seat I had, within 5 feet of you with a close view and great sound in this venue with the Combo. Chuck is special as well and I look forward to you guys getting together again. That first song out of the gate was awesome! Thanks for your contribution to the spirit of Jazz in our time."
Sincerely and with deep appreciation
Tim Taylor, JavaMan - KMHD
There is a sound in jazz that I can only describe as bop meets blues mixed with the hardest swing feel imaginable. People like Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, and Ray Brown come to mind. Since he has it too, I add the name Chuck Redd to that list. We had such a blast on the bandstand ( and off it ) because of our almost frighteningly similar favorite records and artists in jazz. These jazz feels and favorites we have studied made us a great match. It was such a treat to work with such a like-minded musician. I'm glad to have met Chuck and I'd share a bandstand with him again in a blink of an eye without any questions.
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Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? (1970's)
I didn't realize until I was an adult, that a frequent dinner guest my father used to invite over was actually Edgar Bergen. (The greatest American ventriloquist and father of actress Candice Bergen).
I remember one evening after a huge home-cooked, Italian meal, the gentleman stood up from the table, went to the front door and brought back over a case. Since my father was a professional musician, I thought the man had a tenor saxophone in it and was going to engage with my father in a little "after dinner duo jam" - something that was more common than not growing up in a musical household.
To my surprise when the case was opened, a little monocle wearing man was inside! The dialog had me laughing for hours, and thereafter, (for a number of years in my childhood), I would always ask dad if Charlie was coming over whenever we scheduled company for dinner.
I realized who that man and his little friend was years later (and after my father had passed away), when my mother called me up one day and said; "I've been cleaning up the attic, and there are some things of yours you need to pick up." Sure enough, I found the autographed picture (shown below) along with little notes and a dollar bill with Charlie McCarthy's picture on it.
Additionally, I found a picture of my father with General Westmoreland, and an accompanying plaque from the military praising my father's work as an arranger and musical director for the U.S.O's "Edgar Bergen Show" which toured in Vietnam for the troops in the 1960's. The "picture" was complete, and I'm sorry to say I never had the chance to "step out" with them all when I was a little older - as the caption reads.
The caption on the photo reads:
"Hello! Tony! When you are a little older - we will all step out. - Edgar Bergen and Charlie."
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A few colleagues Tony has shared bandstands with.
Anette Lowman, Barbara Lusch,
Belinda Underwood, Bill Henderson,
Carolyn Joyce, Dee Daniels,
Eden Atwood, Ernie Andrews,
Janis Mann, Jill Seifers,
Kacy Colleen, Karrin Allyson, Marilyn Keller,
Marlena Shaw, Mary Kadderly,
Mary Stallings, Mia Nicholson,
Mike Winkle, Nancy King, Ralph Black,
Rebecca Kilgore, Robert Hicks,
Shelly Rudolph, Shirley Nanette,
Steve March-Torme (Mel Torme's son),
"Sweet Baby" James Benton,
The Four Freshman, Toni Lincoln,
Anat Cohen, Antonio Hart, Benny Golson,
Bobby Hernandez, Ben Fowler,
Brian Dickerson, Bruce Babad,
Bud Shank, Cheryl Alex, Dan Blunck,
Dave Evans, Gary Harris, Geoff Fotland,
Harry Allen, Hadley Calliman,
John Gross, Kirt Petersen,
Lee Wuthenow, Marc Fendel,
Patrick Lamb, Paul Ostermeier,
Pete Crislieb, Pete Peterson,
Renato Corranto, Ritchie Cole,
Rick Greene, Ricky Sweum, Rob Davis,
Rob Scheps, Sam Schlickting, Scott Hall,
Steve Frierabandt, Tim Mayor,
Bobby Shew, Bryant Allard,
Carl Saunders, Claudio Roditi,
Dick Titterington, Doc Sevrenson,
Gary Barone, Irvin Mayfield Jr,
Joe Magnarelli, John Morrell, Paul Mazzio,
Terell Stafford, Thara Memory, Randy Brecker,
Cleve Williams, Dave Bones,
Jeff Usitalo, John Moak, Keller Coker.
Alvaro Criado, Andre St.James,
Ben Jones, Ben Wolfe, Brad Herrit,
Chuck Israels, Curtis Daily, Dan Presley,
Dan Schulte, Dave Captein,
David Friesen, Ed Bennett,
Frank Delarosa, Fred Shallanar,
Jake Cot, Ken Anoe, Jim Fergusson,
Jeff Hallam, Joey Seifers,
Kate Davis, Kevin Dietz, Kim Clark,
Leroy Vinegar, Matt Garrity, Matt Pavolka,
Mike McGuirk, Paul Imm, Paul Unger,
Phil Baker, Rob Thomas, Scott Steed,
Tim Gilson, Tom Wakeling.
Akbar DePriest, Alan Jones,
Bernard Purdie, Bobby Torres,
Brian Foxworth, Brian Jenkins,
Carlton Jackson, Charlie Dogget,
Chic Colburn, Chris Hills, Chris Lee,
Chuck Redd, Curtiss Craft, Dave Averre,
Dave Evans, Dave Weinstock, Dick Berk,
Donny Osborn, Eric Powell,
Gary Hobbs, Israel Anno, Jeff Cumpston,
Jeff Evans, Kenny Johnson,
Kevin Frazee, Lawrence Williams,
Maria Joyner, Mark Aalto, Mel Brown,
Neil Masson, Randy Givens,
Rhinehardt Mels, Ron Steen,
Steve Moretti, Tim Rap, Todd Strait,
Dale Lawerence, Dan Balmer,
Dan Faehnle, Dan Heck, Eli Reisman,
Giacomo Gates, Jerry Hahn,
John Keyser, John Stowell, John Butler,
Matt Schiff, Mimi Fox, Norman Sylvestor,
Paul Weeden, Ralph Pritikin, Stevie Zee.
Chuck Redd, Mark Sherman,
AM Northwest television appearance with Steve March-Torme (Mel Torme‘s son); Anacortes Jazz Festival with Mary Stallings, Art Fair, Bandon Performing Arts Center Jazz Concert featuring the Tony Pacini Trio with tenor sax player Lee Wuthenow, Bellingham, Washington concert series; Bernard Purdie & the Bernard Purdie tribute, Blue Lake Park Concerts, Blue Note Lounge, College of Reno, Nevada Festival; composition of original score for a production of W. Shakespeare's "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream" (Northwest Repertory Theatre), Dan Faehnle's CD "My Ideal" (Pillar Productions 1996; featuring Dan Faehnle, Tony Pacini, Ed Bennett, Mel Brown, Larry Fuller, Tom Grant, Bobby Torres, and Curtis Craft); Diane Mitchell concert series with Jim Fergusson, Glen Eden Beach Concert Series with Harry Allen (Jazz Oregon), Irvin Mayfield Jr. (the first performance of the Elysian Trumpet built by David Monette in dedication to Mr. Mayfield Sr. and all the victims of hurricane Katrina), Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (Moscow, Idaho); live radio performances K.M.H.D., K.P.L.U., Pacific Lutheran College Festival; Pearl's (San Francisco, CA.), performances onboard The Portland Spirit and The Sternwheeler, Petty Cash, Reno, Nevada (at the Reno Hilton as musical director and pianist of the Mel Brown Quartet), Salishan Jazz Party, appearances with Tall Jazz (Dan Presley, Kurt Deutcher, Mike Horsfall), appearances with The Art Abrahms Swing Machine, The Bite, Jazz Alley (Seattle, WA.), The Four Freshman, The Mt.Hood Kicks Band, The Portland Rose Festival, The Red Mitchell Memorial Concert accompanying Bud Shank, Tri-cities, Washington Jazz Series (member of the Mel Brown Quintet); Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, the Silverton Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival accompanying Marlena Shaw, the Mt Hood Festival Jazz.