The Sam Kirmayer Trio, featuring Ben Paterson and David Laing, pays at The Avalanche Bar at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night, Sept. 19. Photo submitted

Sam Kirmayer Trio comes to Courtenay

Having opened its season with a dynamic organ quartet and followed up last week with a stunning guitar trio, the Georgia Straight Jazz Society combines guitar and organ, presenting the Sam Kirmayer Trio featuring Ben Paterson and David Laing at The Avalanche Bar (275 8th St. in Courtenay) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19.

Kirmayer’s first CD, Opening Statement, issued in 2017 shortly after he graduated from McGill University, received rave reviews and the Julian Award for Excellence for Emerging Canadian Artists. Katie Malloch, former host of CBC’s Jazz Beat and Tonic, wrote, ‘Sam’s dexterity, his love for the richness of jazz and his sheer joy at making music are all over this CD, a great introduction to Sam’s solid sense of swing; get ready to groove!’

Kirmayer credits his jazz career to seeing the Blues Brothers movie and getting a beat-up, one-string classical guitar from a garage sale. Immersing himself in the history of the guitar in jazz, Kirmayer was “blown away by the depth of expression some people had been able to pull out of the instrument. People like Jim Hall, Grant Green, Jimmy Raney and Kenny Burrell all have such a personal touch. Once I caught on to that, I had very little interest in any of the effects or pedals that some guitarists go in for.”

Kirmayer is touring in support of his second CD: High and Low.

To complement his warm tone and lyrical focus, Kirmayer turned to New York-based organist Paterson. Thomas Conrad in Jazz Times asserts that Paterson ‘may be the most purely musical organist out there,’ and Frank-John Hadley wrote in Downbeat Magazine that Paterson is ‘as soulful a pianist/organist as exists anywhere.’

Paterson’s work is tied to the tradition of groups that emphasize subtle and intuitive communication between the musicians. In 2018, he was named winner of the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition.

Senior statesman of the trio is drummer Laing, a member of the McGill University jazz faculty who has toured the world and appeared on over 60 recordings with Mulgrew Miller, Slide Hampton, and Benny Golson, and Canadians Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, and John Stetch, among many others.

Whether it’s the exquisite chording and comping on the jazz standard On A Clear Day, or the sharp and clean melodic lines of Kirmayer’s original Cazelias Oublié, the band’s renditions are never overstated and always expressed with sensitivity and eloquence.

This is the first opportunity to hear these musicians on the Avalanche stage.

Admission is $10 for members, $12 for non-members.

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