Wednesday November 14th - Alan Barnes/Phil De Greg Quartet
Alan Barnes is joined by USA pianist Phil DeGreg
Alan Barnes is joined by USA pianist Phil DeGreg
Alan Vaughan Bass and Paul Smith Drums
Alan Barnes is usually tagged with the rather unglamorous term “Mainstream”. True, you’re unlikely to find him hanging out with Norwegian experimentalists, string quartets or DJ’s, issuing an album of Radiohead covers or rediscovering the joys of punk rock…… Like Peter King, Barnes is steeped in the language of bop, but is such a consummate stylist that his playing tends to buck any argument that his musical approach is conservative or out of step with the times. Whether on alto, baritone or tenor, Barnes’ melodic sense bypasses the usual scale-running clichés that pepper the playing of lesser bop disciples.
Peter Marsh, BBC Music Review.
Barnes, plays music that was radical 50 years ago - hard, urban post-bop - but he infuses it with so much passion and energy you could believe it was minted on the spot, which is always part of the story with jazz.
John L. Walters, The Guardian.
Whatever the instrument, Alan plays it hard and fast and with the sort of inventive flexibility and invention that ensures that he has his own sound and style and could not be easily be confused with another player. And in these days of musical conformity that is quite something.
You might expect something that closely mirrors classic old jazz recordings from an ostensibly orthodox reeds virtuoso like Alan Barnes. But this set has a sparkle that makes it much more than genuflection to the jazz past, even though the material was written by the great and good.
Barnes’s baritone sax swerves between the elegance of a 1930s swinger and Charlie Parker’s double-time flights on Thelonious Monk’s Pannonica; his alto spirals off into free-jazz on the gritty Sonny Rollins title track; his clarinet has a songlike purity on an almost classical account of A Child Is Born. Monk’s Little Rootie Tootie delivers the peremptory accents with a punch that makes you jump, before Barnes’s baritone muscles in. Billy Strayhorn’s Day Dream is sublime, and Victor Feldman’s Lisa is a hurtling swinger into which Barnes fits impossible-sounding turns and swerves.
Another great makeover of the straightahead jazzer’s art.
John Fordham - The Guardian
Phil DeGreg began playing the piano in his childhood and now performs as a jazz pianist internationally. His earliest jazz influences were Bud Powell and Bill Evans, but he is accomplished and comfortable in a wide range of jazz styles, ranging from mainstream to bebop to Brazilian jazz. His versatility has led to professional performances with dozens of internationally recognized jazz artists, as well as leading and recording with his own groups. Phil DeGreg has released eleven recordings as a leader and has been recorded as a sideman on many other jazz projects. He is also featured with J.J. Johnson on the video "J.J. Johnson Live in Concert." His most recent recorded project called "Melodious Monk" done in conjunction with trumpeter Kim Pensyl features the music of Thelonius Monk in duo and trio settings without drums. A review in All About Jazz writes: "â€¦he exhibits an excellent understanding of the complex compositions, and the stride tradition from which Monk sprangâ€¦they succeed because they have an undeniable affection for Monk, and their performance is top-notch….Phil DeGreg's masterful piano interprets Monk brilliantly and Kim Pensyl's trumpet is the perfect complement"
A native of Cincinnati, Phil completed a degree in psychology from Yale University before becoming a professional musician. After three years working and studying music in Kansas City, he finished a masters degree at University of North Texas, and subsequently toured the world for a year with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. Later he was the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants. He was named one of the 10 finalists in Jazziz Magazine's 1995 "Keyboardists on Fire" competition, and was a 1996 finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. For 16 years, he served as the house pianist at Cincinnati's famous Blue Wisp Jazz Club, accompanying visiting artists on weekends. His jazz festival appearances include the North Sea, Pori, Monterey, Montreux, Brecon, Wigan, and Elkhart Jazz Festivals. Phil has performed in clubs and concerts throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Brazil. In 2008 Phil was awarded a four month Fulbright Fellowship to lecture about jazz in Brazil.
Phil considers music to be a gift and is dedicated to sharing his love of jazz through teaching. He is currently Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he teaches jazz theory, arranging, piano, and ensembles. He has taught for the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops (since 1982), the UK Jazzwise Jazz Camps (since 1996) and has served on the faculty of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, the Miami Valley Summer Jazz Workshops, and the Jim Widner Jazz Camps. He has appeared as a visiting artist/clinician at colleges and high schools throughout the U.S., Europe, Central and South America. Phil has presented lecture/demonstrations to the International Association of Jazz Educators, the National Group Piano Teachers Association, the Ohio Music Educator's Association, the Ohio Music Teachers Association, and the Music Teachers National Association, and has published articles for Jazz Player Magazine. In 1995 he published "Jazz Keyboard Harmony," a chord voicing method written for non-pianists and beginning jazz pianists, which is now used in private teaching and at universities throughout the world.
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