June 2008

The Nancy Walker Trio
at The Art of Jazz Celebration
June 7, 2008Women in Jazz StageToronto
Report by Christopher Butcher with photo by Mike Colyer
“This has to be the best music festival in Toronto”, said the stranger sitting next to me at Nancy Walker’s Trio gig at the Art of Jazz. It would be hard to disagree with that comment, after spending an afternoon and evening in the Distillery district taking in a full line up of concerts. Imagine swinging music, beautiful weather, a free intimate outdoor concert and you would have the performance of 2008 National Jazz Award winner Nancy Walker at the Women in Jazz Stage.
The trio kicked off the evening with their take on Cole Porter’s classic “I Love You”. The tune was bookended with a captivating minor vamp. Nancy built intensity through the intro, into the statement of the melody and through to her solo accompanied by two of Toronto’s finest jazz musicians, or as Nancy comically introduced them, “two illustrious women of Jazz” Jim Vivian on bass and Ethan Ardelli on drums. Ardelli has a sensitive touch on the drums and always gets involved in the musical conversation at hand. Jim Vivian propelled the band with a sense of forward motion and did a great job filling in for Nancy’s frequent bassist and husband Kieran Overs.
Nancy Walker
Nancy’s piano work showed the influence of Thelonious Monk even before the trio dug into Monk’s onomatopoeic composition “Bye-ya”. A fearless use of the piano’s low end for percussive stabs, the occasional tightly clustered voicing used like a fine spice, and the maturity to leave space for everyone to breathe are all trademarks of Nancy’s style. The trio continued with two of Nancy’s originals, one of them being the title track off her most recent release, “Need Another”. Starting with a piano intro, Vivian and Ardelli came in swinging, creating the mood for this modern jazz composition of Nancy’s. The last tune of their well paced set was the jazz classic, “Invitation”. There’s nothing like a standard to let all the musicians converse with each other freely in the context of a song form they know well. It was a pleasure to sit back in the sun and listen to them do it.
The Nancy Walker Trio
Nancy Walker – piano
Jim Vivian – bass
Ethan Ardelli – drums
We welcome your comments and feedback
Christopher Butcher
• • • • • •
Mike Colyer
• •
The Live Music Report

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2008