Friday, March 7, 2014

Guitar trio digs into jazz and blues

Andre Roy
Toronto-based guitarist Andre Roy, who winters in southwest Florida. closed out the Englewood Art Center portion of the South County Jazz Club's 2013-14 season this afternoon with a terrific trio concert.

The matinee performance marked first-time concert appearances by three contemporary players: Roy, bassist Billy Pillucere and drummer James Varnado. What a tight performance in their first gig together. It also was Roy's first U.S. concert appearance.

The material ranged from classic tunes by Roy's many influences to originals, such as the splendid "Hommage a Sonny Greenwich," and even a traditional French folk song.There were several very fine moments:
  • The band's extended take on Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring."
  • Roy's tip of the hat to Wes Montgomery with "Road Song."
  • Roy's beautiful arrangement of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Adagio" from "Concierto de Aranjuez" - most remembered in jazz circles for its opener to the Miles Davis-Gil Evans Sketches of Spain project. His playing on this one captured the passion that Roy's playing reveals in a song.
  • A blues segment that opened and closed with "You Got To Move" with an extended middle section comprised of Miles Davis's "All Blues" This was a clever arrangement. "You Got To Move" often is credited to Robert Johnson, although the version covered by the Rolling Stones was written by Mississippi Fred McDowell, a Johnson contemporary.
    Billy Pillucere, James Varnado, Andre Roy

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