These guys are outstanding musicians, and charismatic and virtuostic performers besides.So I thought it would be an event worth attending, even though I'm not very familiar with jazz. It was. That outburst of praise had not been an exaggeration.
Many other people were lured in, packing the church. Elderly Ottawa citizens come out in all weathers; they are tough. The average age of the DOMS noon hour audience must be around 75 and the local care home reps were serving cookies and free coffee beforehand, as usual.
On stage were the identical twins Peter and Will Anderson from New York City who had "travelled all the way here for today's concert". Adam Moezinia, the guitarist and equally talented third member of the trio, lives in Ottawa. All three musicians are Julliard School alumni.
The title of the concert was Magic of Benny Goodman. The Anderson brothers have been doing something along these lines at NYC's Lincoln Centre, as well.
Goodman (1909-86), from humble beginnings in Chicago, was a classical musician as well as becoming rich and famous as a clarinetist in the jazz world. Influenced by the New Orleans style of jazz, Benny Goodman in the 1930s "defined the swing era," as one of the twins said. Nearly all the music we heard yesterday was from those days.
What we heard: Soft Winds, as a trio for clarinet, sax and guitar, followed by These Foolish Things, same combination. I have found a YouTube recording of them playing this one with a different guitarist:
"Now we're going to play fast!" said the "younger" twin (born 10 minutes after his brother and growing one inch taller, so he told us) and they launched into the swirls and syncopation of Seven Come Eleven. The Andersons teased Mr. Moezinia, informing the audience that "he started taking guitar lessons about two weeks ago" (obviously not true)! A duet for saxophone and guitar followed, improvising on Gershwin's Embraceable You, which features in the old movie, Girl Crazy. The saxophonist for that item was the "older" twin whom his brother introduced to us as "the more romantic one." During the next number, Back Home Again In Indiana, the guitarist tapped his instrument like a drum. Stardust, by someone with the extraordinary name of Hoagy Carmichael, was another slow piece, for which Will Anderson picked up a flute, his eyes closed for concentration as he played it. This man seemed equally at home with all three of the instruments he'd brought on stage, an incredibly skilled musician. Towards the end of Gordon Jenkins' Goodbye which he played on the clarinet, with the guitarist accompanying, he gave us a solo cadenza as impressive as anything I've heard in classical clarinet concertos.
The trio also played two numbers not listed on the program, a New Orleans favourite, I can't give you anything but love, with which they finished the concert, and the an item that had been specially created for the twins on their clarinets plus guitarist by the composer Kyle Athayde, an Appalachian Mountain Song which combined classical and folksy styles of music with the jazz.
Here's a recording of yesterday's trio performing at a similar concert in Arizona, a year and a half ago: