Guitarists Vic Juris (NYC) and Roddy Ellias (Ottawa) will get together for their third duet series this Friday and Saturday (November 18 and 19) at Café Paradiso. Expect to hear both standards and originals – and see the musicians looking at each other, not the sheet music.
OttawaJazzScene.ca asked Ellias last year why he liked playing with Juris.
"He's damn good. I like his approach. Philosophically, it's my approach: to try to find melodies. He's got technique up the ying-yang, he's got as much technique as anybody on the planet, but his main concern is playing melodically. He's not just doing pyrotechnics."
They're about the same age and have similar backgrounds, Ellias said, as well as similar approaches. "We have played with some of the same people, too. We sound different – I like that, too: we sound very different. He plays electric guitar; I play acoustic guitar. He uses pedals. I don't. The actual tone and approach to the guitar are totally different, but the approach to music I think is quite similar."
Juris began his professional ascent in the early 1970s through appearances and recordings with Phil Woods, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miroslav Vitous. He participated in the jazz fusion movement with the Barry Miles group and in duets with Larry Coryell. A master of fluid lyricism, subtle phrasing and engaging harmonies, Juris is especially well known for his seductive ballads. He's a prolific composer and recorded many of his previous works with the Steeplechase label. He is on faculty at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and the Jazz & Contemporary Music Program at New School University in New York City.
Roddy Ellias is equally well known for both his jazz and his chamber music compositions and guitar performance. He recently retired from Concordia University in Montreal where he was an assistant professor and the Graduate Program Director and headed the composition area. His compositions have been performed and recorded by many renowned artists including American violin virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers and I Musici de Montréal. In addition to orchestral works and chamber pieces for various ensembles, he has written many pieces for solo guitar, guitar trio, and guitar with other instruments. On the jazz side, he has played with artists ranging from vocalist Jeri Brown to guitarist Lorne Lofsky to saxophonist Kirk MacDonald.
– Alayne McGregor