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January 08, 1988 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-08

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ARTS
Friday, January 8, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Bryant to

make pitstop

in Ann Arbor

3y Brian Bonet
"Ann Arbor isn't a popular
stopover for travellers on their way
from Japan to New York, but don't
tell that to jazz piano giant Ray
Bryant.
BAter a short solo stint far, far out
east, the Toronto native will travel
to Ann Arbor this Saturday night for
two cozy shows at the Kerrytown
Concert House. On Tuesday, Bryant
and his trio will travel not so far east
for an engagement in the Big Apple.
Bryant will grace the Kerrytown
stage how he likes to best - alone.
"Piano players always like to play
alone... You're free to express your-
self without any diversions," says
Bryant. "When you play solo there's
no argument about who's on the
bandstand."
Expressive freedom and perform-
ing with a personal touch are partic-
ularly important to Bryant who feels
crowded in band formats that exceed
a trio. "Up to trio, you are in com-
plete control. After the trio you are
W an accompaniment role... you
have to follow someone."
Bryant's soloing is infectious. Ed
Berg, curator of the Institute of Jazz
Studies at Rutgers University wrote

that Bryant is "unsurpassed at this
demanding art (soloing)." His style
has been described as a versatile
blend of stride, bebop, and boogie-
woogie. He is a pianist who can
play the blues as well as a ballad.
However, Bryant prefers that la-
bel-taggers stray from his music.
"I'm only going to play one style-
my own style. That's the only style
I know. I guess I've been influenced
by (Art) Tatum but I've been play-
ing so many years I think that these
things have boiled down to my own
style. I can't describe it. I've never
even tried. They (critics) describe it
as the Ray Bryant style."
Despite his love for having a
stage and an audience all to himself,
Bryant didn't hesitate to share the
stage as a house pianist at a
Philadelphia jazz club in the mid-.
1950s with such greats as Lester
Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis,
Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie,
Roy Eldridge, and Charlie Shavers.
These performers didn't hesitate to
share the stage with Bryant, either.
Davis and Rollins were so impressed
by the 24 year old pianist that they
each brought him to New York for
recording dates in 1955.
Bryant gained invaluable experi-

ence from these performances, but
says he never felt awed by the leg-
ends. "I just felt honored - and
lucky. I never felt awed. If they felt I
was good enough to be up there, I
wasn't going to argue."
Bryant says the last time he per-
formed in the area was approxi-
mately 10 years ago at the Detroit
Institute of Art and is anxious to re-
turn. Likewise, jazz fans anxiously
await his return and despite the
weather, his reception should be
warm.
As for his reception in Japan? "I
couldn't have wished or asked for a
better reception. They don't see you
(jazz performers) every day. They re-
ally pay attention."
Bryant stresses that his more-
than-welcome reception in Japan had
nothing to do with western culture
versus far eastern culture. "One lan-
guage was being spoken - music.

And jazz is a dialect that Ray
Bryant is truly fluent in.
RAY BRYANT will be perform-
ing at the Kerrytown Concert House
for two shows on Saturday night.,7
p.m. and 9 p.m. Admission is $15
and $12. Reservations are suggested
(769-2999).
Read
Waeq

Jazz pianist Ray Bryant made his first recording with Betty
'Bebop' Carter in the early 1950s. It was Carter's first recording,
also. You'll have to wait until next week to see Carter at the Bird
of Paradise. However, you can experience the infectious soloing of
Ray Bryant Saturday night at Kerrytown.

Eclipse' s Java and Jazz series

I

continues with Detroit's

By Alan Paul
The truth, the truth, what is the
truth and where can it be found?
It's the name of a jazz band ap-
pearing Sunday for two sets at the
Michigan Union.
Eclipse's Java & Jazz series con-
tinues to bring Detroit's finest jazz
imusicians to campus with Hubie
Crawford, Mike Gutierrez, and
Ttuth. Crawford and Gutierrez are
highly versatile musicians who have
-played with a wide range of musi-
ans and the quartet's repertoire
roams from straight ahead bop to
fusion to Latin jazz.
Percussionist and bandleader
Gutierrez is well versed in a variety
of styles, having studied with top
percussionists in several different
musical genres. Among those with
whom he has worked are Norm

Fickett, principle percussionist for
the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the
legendary bopper Art Blakey, and
fusion percussion kingpin Billy
Cobham.
"I try to incorporate a bit of it all
into my playing," Gutierrez says.
"I'd like to give (my) music a differ-
ent title than jazz. I'm into all pro-
gressive music, not just jazz and the
title's stifling to a certain extent."
However, bassist Crawford, who
played with Earl Klugh for seven
years, doesn't necessarily agree.
"There are so many types of jazz
that it isn't stifling," Crawford says.
"To a lot of people the word jazz
means straight ahead, but a lot of
words don't really mean anything.
You shouldn't take a title too seri-
ously."
The music of Gutierrez and

Crawford certainly defies titles or
categorization. Like Gutierrez,
Crawford's playing blends various
styles.
"Hubie has different influences
(than me) which he brings to the
music and it pushes me," Gutierrez
said.
Crawford is equally adept at stand
up and electric bass and before
hooking up with Klugh, the Detroit
native performed with artists as di-
verse as Mel Torme, Buddy Mont-
gomery, Mose Allison, and "Mr.
Superfly" himself, Curtis Mayfield.
He also played in a psychedelic rock
band. Crawford brings all these in-
fluences into his jazz playing and "it
all sort of happens."
Call it what you will, the Truth
does happen. Trumpeter Walt Szy-
manski and keyboardist Gary Haver-

Truth
cate round out the honest quartet.
This is the third of four perfor-
mances in the monthly program.
The atmosphere is mellow, the mu-
sic unamplified, the coffee strong,
and the jazz hot. Previous perfor-
mances by the Darryl Duncan Quar-
tet on November 15, and The Doc
Holladay Trio on December 6 were
well attended artistic successes. Hol-
laday wowed the hushed crowd with
his cosmic wanderings, exploring
the limits of the imagination as well
as his baritone sax. Who knows
what may happen this weekend.
Java & Jazz will be happening
again Sunday in the Union's Tap
Room. Gutierrez and Crawford will
hold a workshop at 4:30 and the
performance begins at 5:00. Both are
free as is the java.

Welcomes
Thne Eleventh
Ann Arbor
Folk Festival
Saturday, January 30 at 6 pm
Hill Auditorium
Holly Near & Ronnie Gilbert
Tom Paxton
David Bromberg
Jonathan Edwards
Christine Lavin
Archie Fisher & Garnet Rodgers
Jackie Torrence
Maura O'Connell
Kitty Donohoe
RFD Boys
& Ken Whitely
Tickets on sale at the Michigan Union Ticket Office, Herb David Guitar
Studio, and all TicketMaster Outlets now; and at SchoolKids Records
after January 1st of this year. Charge by Phone 763-TKTS
A Fundraiser for the Ark
Accommodations by Ann Arbor Inn
A Major Events Presentation

p

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