July 2006

Lorraine Desmarais and Tiger Okoshi
at the Toronto Jazz Festival
July 2, 2006The Pilot TavernToronto
Tiger and Lorraine
by David Fujino

They opened with a perky, boppish line.

Trumpeter Tiger Okoshi and pianist Lorraine Desmarais were in Toronto, upstairs at The Pilot.

With them were two veteran Toronto players, the ubiquitous Pat Collins on bass, and the polyrhythmic Terry Clarke on drums.

Although they mostly played Tiger's tunes, when we heard Desmarais with just the rhythm section, the full depth of her musicianship was revealed.

The arrangement of a traditional Japanese children's song, "Kagome Kagome", caused the brass-proud Okoshi to strut forward and deliver a solo filled with blistering trumpet lines.

Then Tiger said, "I'm an echo, an echo of the greats ... Louis, Miles ..." For some of us, he played like Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. Hard playing. Virtuoso.

Tiger Okoshi

"Rocking Chair" had Desmarais smiling with delight at Okoshi's inspired solo outing in this stop-start arrangement of the Hoagy Carmichael classic. Collins soloed with smooth lyricism. Clarke played the time within the time.

Québec pianist Desmarais and the Boston-based trumpeter Okoshi have worked together for a few years.

But Okoshi — who originally gained major exposure with Gary Burton in the 70's — has never played in Toronto, while Desmarais hasn't been heard in Toronto for some time.

We sure enjoyed their visit. Please come again.

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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