Guitar Wizardry 2:
Ottawa was host to two sets of exhilarating music on the evening of Saturday, January 21, when local guitarists Lucas Haneman and Tim Bedner, along with Montreal drummer Evan Tighe, convened to follow up on the “guitar wizardry” they displayed in December 2010.
Ottawa's newest jazz venue, GigSpace Performance Studio, was host to this concert. Previously a sound design studio, and located within Alcorn Music Studios on Gladstone Avenue, GigSpace has been converted by the team at Alcorn into a wonderful location to perform. While the audience lacked in numbers due to the room's small size, they made up for it with enthusiasm, punctuating the trio's Herculean improvisations with jubilant shouts. The group covered a large range of musical territory, carving out fresh renditions of both jazz standards and more modern hits.
The first set opened with a medium-tempo shuffle version of "Willow Weep For Me", which lasted upwards of 10 minutes and set the bar for the rest of the evening. Right from the start, the guitarists employed a variety of effects: Bedner used a Hammond B-3 Organ sound for his custom-made ergonomic guitar, allowing him to walk a bass line comfortably under Haneman's interpretation of the melody. Haneman took an extended solo, in which he employed pitch bending to great effect, while Tighe supported him by accenting his lines with cymbals, snare and toms. Both Haneman and Bedner were highly lyrical and rhythmic in their improvised ideas throughout the show, and this opener was an excellent demonstration of that.
On Stevie Wonder's "I Wish", the musicians consistently transitioned smoothly from a funk to a swing feel. Neither guitarist was fazed by this switch during their solos, and continued their lines from one feel to the next without hesitation, which was particularly impressive. Tighe also soloed on this piece, with Haneman playing excellent percussive shots of his own on guitar as support. The group also re-imagined Wes Montgomery's "Four on Six", which Bedner had arranged into 5/4, resulting in a final title of "Four on Six (in Five)." Careful listening and team playing was shown when the whole band jumped on a rhythmic figure played by Bedner in his solo, developing it to great extent.
The group also covered songs such as Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," in which there was an epic, almost narrative arc to Haneman's solo, and a tasteful, ethereal version of "On Green Dolphin Street," where Bedner electronically looped a bass line which was continued throughout the piece. "Sahara Sand Dune," an original tune from Haneman's recently released album, had the most varied textures of the set list, and revealed Afro-Cuban and world music influences through use of a guitar slide and Tighe's exceptional, driving beat .
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was their rendition of Radiohead's "All I Need." Haneman switched from electric to an amplified acoustic guitar, Tighe changed to mallets, and a beautiful, sensitive song was the result. Bedner kept his bass line simple, later unleashing a plaintive solo, supported by a groove laid out by the mallets and driving chords by Haneman. Jobim's "Wave" followed, featuring a powerhouse solo by Bedner with lightning-fast, sinuous lines.
The last tune of the second set featured Haneman's vocal talents on "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Ray Charles. It contrasted with what had been heard previously, and the rendition of the melody allowed a groovy duet between drums and voice. Holding true to Haneman's prediction while introducing the song, a "funky good time" was had by all, resulting in an enthusiastic standing ovation. The group answered by laying down a hip version of "Come Together", drawing even more applause, and a very satisfied audience.
– Chris Maskell
Photos from the 21 January 2012 performance ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Click any photo to view a larger image.