November 2006

New Danzon
Hilario Duran Trio
November 23, 2006Trane StudioToronto
Where Was Everybody?
by David Fujino with photos by Roger Humbert
Trane Studio is a warm venue. Just the right place to hear Hilario Duran in a jazz trio setting.

But for some reason, nobody showed up.

And when 9:00 pm became 9:25 pm, Duran, Roberto Occhipinti, and Mark Kelso decided they might as well begin the first set with a Tadd Dameron tune.

Which was fine with us, the audience of five.

The driving and independent two hands of Hilario Duran took us in several exciting musical directions.

For one, Hilario produced a solid soundstream for bassist Occhipinti to outline, emphasize, and solo with.

Also, Hilario easily plays two different rhythms at the same time, so he was able to project two different and simultaneous states of mind.

And drummer Mark Kelso was appropriately fastidious and empathetic in his fine articulations, whether soloing or supporting. Roy Haynes kept springing to mind. Taste.

And as we watched Hilario's face — so starkly set in a 'Don Thompson stare' — it seemed this Cuban-born musician is master of his passions; but when the trio hit a musical peak, he simply gave in, and closed his eyes.

The trio's playing moved us through the many moods of humour, fantasy, jubilation, parody, and farce. Sometimes all these emotions were evoked in a single piece.

"Encounter in Havana" featured Occhipinti's mellow bass singing; this contrasted with the multiple rhythmic identity of "Perla Marino" and the closely reasoned thoughts of Hilario in the medium tempo "Gaviota".

Hilario Duran & Roberto Occhipinti

Mark Kelso
But again, sometimes in a single piece, sometimes threaded through all the selections played this evening, the trio's sense of transition and use of contrast was as simple as breathing, and simply rather masterful.

In step with venerable jazz tradition, the guys kept quoting "It's Only A Paper Moon" while playing a Cuban tune.

I mean, it all fit, and it kept us smiling that night.

Their three-way deep song.

a note: The Hilario Duran Trio is leaving for Havana, Cuba this Thursday (Nov. 30th). They have been invited to give a series of concerts and workshops at this year's Havana Jazz Festival. While Hilario will be visiting his birthplace, and Roberto has already stayed in Cuba numerous times, this will be Mark's first visit to the island and his first appearance at the Havana Jazz Festival. — We look forward to their return.
> hilario duran > roberto occhipinti > mark kelso
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• • • • • •
David Fujino
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Roger Humbert
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