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Sam Kirmayer
Sam Kirmayer (with Dave Laing) ©Brett Delmage, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018: The Sam Kirmayer Trio CD Release featuring Ben Paterson at St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts

Young Montreal guitarist Sam Kirmayer has just released his second CD (this time on the high-profile Vancouver jazz label, Cellar Live). It's an organ trio outing in the tradition of Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, and Wes Montgomery. Called High and Low, it features New York City organist Ben Paterson, and veteran Montreal drummer Dave Laing.

Those two musicians will accompany him this week on his Quebec-Ontario CD release tour, stopping in Ottawa for a concert on September 15.

It's a talented trio. Earlier this year, Kirmayer won the Julian Award for Excellence for Emerging Canadian Artists, a prize given by Simon Fraser University's CJSF 90.1FM to an album by a young Canadian jazz up-and-comer. CBC Music also included him in their list of "The 35 Best Canadian Jazz Musicians Under 35". In 2018, Paterson won the inaugural Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition. Equally fluent on piano and Hammond B3, Paterson has released two organ trio albums of his own with guitarist Peter Bernstein and Ed Cherry respectively. Laing is a notable and frequent voice in Montreal's jazz scene, propelling big bands and adding exact nuances to performances by jazz vocalists and smaller ensembles. He also played on Kirmayer's debut CD.

Kirmayer is an articulate and fluid guitarist, and that's well-displayed on this new CD. His playing is easily matched by Paterson's singing and resonant organ lines, and Laing's exuberant and attuned drumming. OttawaJazzScene.ca reviewed Kirmayer's previous Ottawa show, which combined fine ensemble playing with contemporary-sounding compositions.

The CD combines originals (four by Kirmayer and one by Montrealer Andre White) with generally less-common standards, in an appealing and fresh line-up.  The trio can undoubtedly swing, in straight-ahead numbers like Coleman Hawkin's "Almost Dawn" and Kirmayer's "Cazelais Oublié", but I also liked their slower, more evocative numbers like the Frank Sinatra classic "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)" and Kirmayer's "What Could Have Been", whose tinges of sadness make them particularly memorable. The CD's title (and opening) track, "High and Low", again shows that Kirmayer can craft a catchy and appealing tune that grabs your attention.

Expect a soulful and energetic show that builds on the jazz tradition and uses it as a springboard for a modern musical voice.

Sam Kirmayer (guitar), Ben Paterson (organ), and Dave Laing (drums) will perform in the Kildare Room of St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities, on Saturday, September 15, at 8 p.m.Tickets are $15, available on-line here or at the door. Saint Brigid's Centre is located at 310 St. Patrick Street (the entrance is on Cumberland Street), four blocks north of Rideau Street. OC Transpo route 6 stops on Murray Street nearby, and route 9 about two blocks to the west. Routes 7, 12, 14, and 18 all stop on Rideau Street near Cumberland. The centre is also walking distance from the Mackenzie-King station on the Transitway.

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