WATERLOO DEC.30, 2014 --- When William Carn formed a quintet more than 10 years ago to play his original compositions he needed some of the most creative musicians on the Canadian scene to bring his music to life.
Carn, one of Canada's top trombone players and composers, found what he needed in Kelly Jefferson on sax, David Braid on piano, John Maharaj on bass and Anthony Michelli on drums. The music starts in The Jazz Room at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3. Cover is $20. More details at thekwjazzroom.com, www.facebook.com/JazzRoom or on Twitter @KWJazz.
“We are really looking forward to this," Carn said in an interview with New City Notes. "This will be the first gig of the New Year, and just getting to play with these guys is a rare treat now. Everyone is so busy, it is hard to get everyone together. But we just did three nights at The Jazz Bistro (jazzbistro.ca) last month, so that was really great.”
The William Carn Quintet is a powerful fixture on the Canadian Jazz landscape. It has recorded two CDs. The first was nominated for a Juno.
"We are going to do pieces from both CDs. All the songs are written by myself, but I think I will include some standards as well," Carn said.
"I just came across a tune by Kenny Wheeler that I would like to do on Saturday. For Jan, it was part of the Big Band Suite. It’s a beautiful ballad and suite that was very impactful when I first heard it. I was just at a jam session the other day with friends, and somebody took out this tune, and I was: ‘Gosh I had forgotten about this tune, and how beautiful it is,'" Carn said.
Contemporary-original jazz sprinkled with standards. Nice.
After working with his quintet for years, Carn wanted to experiment more, so he formed a quartet called Run Stop Run, which played The Jazz Room before. It includes Don Scott on guitar, John Maharaj on bass and Ethan Ardelli on drums.
"That group is still active today. We did a tour in January of this year. I also started a group with my wife Tara Davidson, we started a nine piece group, the Carn Davidson NINE," Carn said.
Davidson plays the alto sax, composes, records and performs. Davidson played The Jazz Room last fall showcasing material from her latest CD, Tara Davidson Duets.
The Carn Davidson NINE's debut CD was nominated this year for a 2014 Best Traditional Jazz Juno Award. Carn was also nominated for the same award in 2007 for his CD Other Stories.
"I am just moving forward, and I actually have a new group in mind. I am just working out the details in my head before I make any calls.”
Carn has played and recorded with a long and growing list of jazz stars, including --- Rob McConnell, Joel Frahm, Randy Brecker, David Binney, Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, Mike Murley, Tim Hagans, Barry Harris, Hilario Duran and Andrew Downing.
“I feel very fortunate to have had a wide variety of experiences.”
His high school music teacher played Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass one day in class, and Carn never forgot the experience.
"I was hooked. The Boss Brass was my first, I would say, jazz icon. It is an icon. Rob McConnell and his arrangements. Just that level of musicianship, and to hear it as an ensemble, it is flawless," Carn said.
Rob McConnell grew up in London, ON. and learned to play the valve trombone. He started performing in the early 1950s. By 1968, McConnell created the Boss Brass, that became the most famous big band in Canada. It toured the world. The legendary Guido Basso played trumpet in the Boss Brass. It was McConnell's primary vehicle for performing and recording into the 2000's. McConnell died in 2010 at 75, but not before influencing a generation of jazz musicians, including Carn.
"That was really a big part of my musical makeup for many years. And then later on I was fortunate enough to, I mean I studied with Jerry Johnson who played in the Boss Brass, and then later on I got to play a few times with Rob’s Tentet. I thought it couldn't get any better than that.”
Johnson was a trombone player in the Boss Brass, and a much loved educator. He passed in Stratford in 2005.
The day after the gig Carn and his partner Davidson fly to New York City. They visit the place regularly, and haunt the Village Vanguard and 55 Bar on Christopher Street.