Impressive performance by Keith Price and friends

 

Top 10 local albums of 2017

Top 10 local albums of 2017

Host of podcast Witchpolice Radio’s top picks of the year

The Keith Price Double Quartet – Double Quartet

When you’re talking about a band whose last project was a completely deconstructed version of one of cinema’s most iconic soundtracks (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly), you know his next release will be something equally adventurous. In 2017, guitar wizard Keith Price assembled an all-star crew of local jazz instrumentalists for his double quartet, and created a powerful record that will burrow into your brain more and more with every listen.

The five tracks (three of which exceed 10 minutes in length) showcase the subtlety and versatility of the players, centred around a driving, improvisational groove. The band performed this material live at indie festivals and alongside bands of genres other than jazz last year. The group’s rock and electronic influences have given it an interesting appeal within the broader Winnipeg music scene.

 

Sam Thompson is the host of Witchpolice Radio, a podcast that has featured interviews with local musicians since 2012. The show’s entire 260+ episode archive can be found at http://www.witchpolice.com, and archival episodes can also be heard on Sundays at midnight on UMFM 101.5.

Winnipeg Free Press Review

JAZZ

Keith Price
Double Quartet (Indie)

Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price has a new album set for release later this month as he prepares for an appearance at the Jazz Festival. Keith is a hugely talented guitarist and composer who has had some great releases — like music for a well-known spaghetti western.

His double-quartet concept here is very cool and is made up of Keith on guitar, Neil Watson alto, Dallas and Jeff Presslaff on keyboards, Julian Bradford and Marty Thiessen on basses and Jaime Carrasco and Kevin Waters on drums.

Keith’s music is frequently rock influenced and funky with a typical driving rhythmic base setting up the solos. There are times when the effect is relentlessly hypnotic, a feature I have always enjoyed in his music. Check out Grunge as an example. His music builds throughout the pieces, with hints of electric Miles. I feel that, at times, Keith flies under the radar here at home, which is a shame. In a blindfold test, his albums could hold up well with releases from anywhere in the world. The Double Quartet will be at the Rachel Browne Theatre on June 24 if you want to see them live, and the album will be released June 23. Keith is a big asset in our local jazz world. ★★★★ out of five

Stream: Old Market Square

By Keith Black

It’s well known beyond Winnipeg that that city has a burgeoning jazz scene thanks to the University of Manitoba’s jazz program. But given the breadth and size of Canada, the talents that trained at U of M don’t make it out to play for the country’s jazz audiences to the east or west of Winnipeg — at least as often as listeners might like.

Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price, however, is making the effort later this week to bring his music to southern Ontario — namely Kitchener (The Jazz Lounge on Oct. 30), Ottawa (Options Jazz Lounge on Oct. 31) and Toronto (Gate 403 and the Emmet Ray on Nov. 1 and 2 respectively). He’ll be playing with his long-time collaborator, New York-based drummer and Winnipeg expat Curtis Nowosad and Toronto bassist Mark Godfrey.

Below, Price, 32, discusses the effort he’s making to play this week beyond Winnipeg, and discusses the breadth in his music, which can range from covers of Neil Young, Radiohead and Nirvana to jazz standards to originals.

Why are you making such a lengthy trip for these four gigs? How do you make all the traveling work financially?

Two thousand kilometres seems like a long way to travel for a short tour but I felt like touring out east was a bit overdue for me and it will be nice to see some old friends so I’ve just found a way to make it happen.

My plan was to play my way to Toronto as part of VIA Rail’s Onboard Entertainment program but it turns out that I’m just too busy right now. So I decided to fly (it takes two days each way and they only have a few trains a week). VIA has been very good to me and many others in the past and my Neil Young covers usually go over well so it’s kind of shame to fly but it’s more practical.

I’m really trying to keep costs low and that’s why I hired Mark instead of traveling with my usual bass player Julian Bradford. Mark is an excellent option on bass so although I like to play with the same people every time, this trio just makes sense  — I can afford to bring up Curtis from NYC because he’s riding an all-night, 12-hour bus.

Touring out east is more difficult than going westward (I’ve been lucky to tour out west a few times) because of how huge Ontario is and how few jazz gigs are available on the way. To get to Toronto from Winnipeg 24 hours of straight driving later (although it is really beautiful), you need to have a couple of strong anchor gigs or you’re sure to lose money. It’s kind of a shame because there are many amazing and creative Canadian Jazz musicians that we don’t get to hear too often in Winnipeg and in other words, each region of Canada seems to miss out on what’s happening in the other regions.

To what extent is Winnipeg’s jazz scene isolated from the jazz audiences to the east and west of it?

I think the Winnipeg jazz scene is almost completely isolated from the east and the west of Canada but I don’t think it’s only a Winnipeg problem. The problem of isolation is a general issue in Canada. I don’t get the sense (and maybe this is just a Winnipeg perspective) that the jazz scenes of any Canadian cities really “talk” to the others.

Tell me about how you first got into guitar and music when you were younger. When did jazz enter into the picture?

I first felt the urge to learn the guitar when I was in the sixth grade in 1993. At the time, I was really interested in bands like Queen, Wings, and The Beatles. My grandfather had a couple of acoustic guitars which he lent me and I began lessons at a local music shop. As I became a young teenager, my musical taste moved towards the heavy sounds of bands like Nirvana, NOFX, and Propagandi. I already played trombone and then bass in my junior high school’s concert band, but I remember thinking it would be cool to play in the jazz band (although I had no concept of what jazz was) and receive credit for playing electric guitar at school. I caught the ‘jazz bug’ in a really strong way when I first heard John Coltrane’s album, Giant Steps. For me, that music had all of the elements that I loved about punk-rock (it was played fast, it was intense and it was raw) but it also had this magical thing called improvisation. Then I found out about Miles and Mingus and Ornette and the whole thing ballooned into full-time jazz addiction by age 15.

I read that you did some studies in Amsterdam and could have gone to the New School in New York. But you chose to stay in Winnipeg instead. Tell me about that decision, and about studying jazz at the University of Manitoba.

When I was growing up in Winnipeg, there were a bunch of great jazz musicians that I went to hear as often as possible. Ron Paley, Larry Roy, Stefan Bauer, Sasha Boychuck, Gilles Fournier, Rob Siwik, and others made for a great local scene but there was nowhere to study jazz full-time at the university level. After high school, I ended up traveling a bit and settled on studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.

While I was out there, Steve Kirby moved to Winnipeg and started a Bachelor of Jazz Studies program at the University of Manitoba. This new program brought a lot of excitement to the community and I remember feeling quite happy and proud that things were blossoming in my hometown and I wanted to be a part of it. One of the first things I witnessed after returning from Europe for the summer was an incredible jam session at a restaurant (that no longer exists) called the Osborne Freehouse. The band on stage was Wycliffe Gordon, Miguel Zenon, Herlin Riley, Bernie Senensky, Steve Kirby, and maybe a few others that I can’t remember right now. The air was electric and since the restaurant was over capacity (I think they could fit 300 people in there; it was a huge room), people were hopping the fence and sneaking in the side door; it was an amazing event! The scholarship offer I received from The New School was good for my confidence at the time but I just didn’t feel like (and I know this sounds funny) leaving the excitement of the Winnipeg scene for the high cost and high stress of New York and it’s not a decision I regret.

Studying at the U of M was inspiring. I got to study the guitar with my hero Larry Roy and I learned a lot from Steve Kirby, Anna-Lisa Kirby and from the world-class musicians who rotated through the faculty like Alvin Atkinson, Terreon Gully and Jimmy Greene (not to mention all the great master classes we received from Stefon Harris, Joe Lovano, Lionel Loueke, and many others). At the time I wasn’t really concerned with academics. I was only concerned with improving at music and if my studies of other courses got in the way, I simply ignored them. I completed most of the “playing music” courses at the U of M but I never did graduate. I’m thankful to say that I’ll finally be graduating this spring from Brandon University where I’ve been studying with the incredible pianist and composer Michael Cain (yes, there are two great jazz programs in Manitoba!).

When it comes to playing guitar and composing, who are some of the musicians that you most look up to, and why?

The first jazz guitarist that I was really inspired by was Lenny Breau. I love the way he mixed styles and was free-flowing with his musical ideas. I always felt that his playing was coming from a really honest place and it was really cool for me to think about how he also grew up in Winnipeg. I later went through phases of Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and I really looked up to Kurt Rosenwinkel for a few years. Sometime in my mid-20s I really got hooked on the music of Neil Young and it totally changed my idea of what I thought was good in music. I thought, “How can he be so impactful when he can’t play the guitar very well and wrote many songs with the exact same four chords?’’

 

I didn’t enjoy Bill Frisell in my earlier years, maybe because his music didn’t seem like real jazz to me at the time. Then one day, after a few years of trying to make my jazz music more straight-forward and emotional, I heard Bill again and realized that I was, in a way, trying to do what he’s already been doing for 30 years. I love his music — the blend of styles and the honest playing. I also like his compositions and the way he seems to always be composing when he’s improvising. I’ve never thought it was good to sound like someone else, so I’m not trying to sound like Bill Frisell, but I think his approach sets a good example of the way I’d like to play and compose.

How long have you been playing trio? How long have been playing with Mark and Curtis? Your record Gaia featured a slightly larger band — what are you going for with your trio?

The trio started out in 2007 or 2008 with a weekly gig at a venue called, Le Garage. We lasted one year before getting the hook.

Curtis Nowosad was a part of that group and we co-led a quintet before that for a few years, so I guess we’ve been playing together for almost a decade now. I remember, in the early days, he would sometimes have to cut class to play an afternoon gig because he was still in high school. But he was already so good! We bonded right away over our love of traditional jazz but also over our wide-ranging influences from popular music.

Mark Godfrey is a friend who I only played with a few times when I lived in Toronto in 2010 and 2011. I really like the way Mark plays and I know he also has a relationship with Curtis from NYC and somewhere else (The Banff Centre?) so I’m excited to hear how this new trio sounds on the road.

I like switching up the settings in which I play. The quintet from the Gaia/Goya album is always an inspiring group to play with but I also enjoy playing in a trio setting because it leaves a lot a space for the instruments to resonate. I sometimes find it easier to be patient with improvisation in a trio setting because there is less input from other musicians (1/3 each) and you don’t have to worry as much about stepping on someone else’s toes. I’ll also play some solo pieces on this tour, which is something I also love. For me it’s a challenge like, “Am I able to convey the complete idea of a piece with my own musical limitations and just six strings?”

 

I’m also working on some new music for my double quartet, which is the complete opposite of solo or trio playing, with guitar, saxophone, two keyboardists, two bass players, a drummer, and a percussionist. Hopefully we’ll be ready to tour with that group in a few years.

How would you describe the range of music that you play in trio? I’ve seen clips of you covering Nirvana and Neil Young as well as It Could Happen To You…

 

For this tour we’ll be playing some new original music, some covers, and some jazz standards. The gig in Ottawa will probably be an equal mix of all three, since it’s a four-set night. Maybe the material is a little bit eclectic, but it’s just a mix of music that I love. For me, I don’t see how the jazz musician of today can really leave any of those areas alone. We have to write new music and develop our own voice as artists but I’m not sure if we can ever truly leave the foundation of the jazz tradition aside. The average person doesn’t listen to a lot of modern or traditional jazz so why not bring “the jazz” to them through covers of popular tunes? And it’s not really a new idea — ’50s Miles is full of cover tunes!

Keith Price :: Double Quartet to perform Live on the Rooftop

Keith Price :: Double Quartet to perform Live on the Rooftop

by Phil Enns

For Jazz Winnipeg’s Nu Sounds series last year, local jazz guitarist Keith Price organized a Double Quartet to re-envision Ennio Morricone’s landmark soundtrack for The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in the style of Miles Davis’ late 60s-early 70s “electric period” (the full soundtrack, accompanied by scenes from the film, can be heard on Youtube). This year, Price’s Double Quartet is set to perform at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Live on the Rooftop series on July 3. Stylus sat down with Keith to discuss his past work, what currently inspires him, as well as his unique approach to jazz and composition.

Stylus: Since the inaugural Double Quartet performance last year, have you had a chance to watch The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with sound?
Keith Price: Unfortunately, no. I have a copy of it, and I just haven’t had time to sit down. Cause I want to sit down and really enjoy it with sound. I have a son who’s not yet two, so it’s just been crazy.

Stylus: It’s funny. I sat down and watched the whole movie before seeing your show there. And then I realized only afterwards that you hadn’t heard the original soundtrack at all!
KP: Well, I’m kind of familiar with the theme of it. Someone gifted me with an LP with a bunch of the music from that and other films that Morricone did, so I’m familiar, but I haven’t sat and dug into it. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it, I think, if I had heard it. It’s so. . . renowned, that it would be, I think, probably debilitating if I had heard it.

Stylus: The description of the next [Double Quartet] show seems a little vague: “the band. . . will follow the muse wherever it may take them.” I recall a story you told of a show you played in Toronto where you had got a band together and the only instruction you got before playing was, “Go!” Is this the kind of spontaneity you’re hoping to recreate at this show?
KP: We’re always kind of doing that to some degree. If it’s a jazz standard, it’s very scripted. There’s the form and you repeat, repeat, you know. Then with the Double Quartet, there’s just sketches. Just trying to guess what Miles Davis was doing with Bitches Brew, and whatnot. So I’d say, yeah, we’re always trying for that. It just depends on how much outline has been done. For Bitches Brew, [Miles and his band] did a lot of jamming and actually spliced a lot of tape together afterwards. So when I was experimenting with the music for [The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly], I was thinking with that in mind: not to write too much. To give a framework, a tempo, a chord or two chords. Just enough information that you could then fill in, like let the muse take it from there. When it’s totally open, it’s almost harder to be creative, because anything could go, and you have eight different senses of what should happen. But with a little framework, then you have eight people collaborating to be creative within that outline.

Stylus: What is currently inspiring you?
KP: I’m really interested in Ali Akbar Khan, who was a sarod player – which is similar to guitar. He’s playing the music of Northern India, which is like ragas and stuff, so very modal music. So I’ve been listening a lot to his stuff and trying to incorporate what I enjoy about him. I was trying to learn about how to do slide guitar to show a student, and I was watching a Derek Trucks video, and he said that [Khan] was a big inspiration for him, so I checked it out and just loved it. He really takes his time to really dig into a note, and then, like, slide up to that note again. It’s almost like he’s slowly painting. And with the raga, it’s like a scale, you know, but you can’t overplay certain notes. You can’t really balance them either, or else it loses something. So, it’s just a very different way of playing. I’ve been really enjoying the simplicity, but it’s also deep. It’s really focusing on a note at a time.

Stylus: I’ve noticed that about your playing, too.
KP: Maybe when I heard him it was like, “Oh, that’s more like what I mean to be doing.” So, there’s that, and then I listen to a lot of electronic music. It’s really about the sounds and the samples. Boards of Canada, especially, and Nicolas Jaar. So not jazz stuff at all lately. Just different palate-cleansing stuff, you know?

Stylus: You recently made a decision to retire all your previous compositions in favour of new ones. Is this a permanent thing?
KP: Well, it’s not easy, but I can see the benefit of it right away: that it’s just forcing me to work and, therefore, get new stuff out. I heard that George Carlin did that and obviously it’s evident that every year he was taping a new special.

Stylus: And he would never repeat himself?
KP: No, like he would tour for a year: he’d write it, tour it, record it, and then start the process again. And I don’t know if he did twenty HBO specials, or maybe more? And like, the last one he did before he passed away was my favourite. He only got better with age. It’s like Ali Akbar Khan. I read a quote [of his] this week that said something like, “After ten years as an artist, you may please yourself. After twenty years, you may please your peers. After thirty years,” – so on and so forth. It’s like, “after fifty years as an artist, maybe you’ll please God.” We’re so focused on, like – the culture is so into “the-kids-on-the-talent-show TV” or whatever. We’re not talking like life-long pursuits, you know? I guess I’m kind of rambling, but I don’t know, I guess I get excited about that kind of stuff, so… Yeah, I’ll probably have to keep doing this, as sad as it is to throw away all the stuff that you did and maybe enjoyed. But I don’t know. I can always break my rule! But a lot of artists have done that. I mean, Miles [Davis] did it, Coltrane, and, you know, U2 and the Beatles. But I mean it’s a natural thing if you’re an artist. I think if you’re a commercial entity, maybe it’s not.

Stylus: You’ve always sort of gravitated towards suites and extended pieces (e.g. Gaia/Goya suite; GB&U soundtrack; even Zoom Zoom from your first album). Have you always had an interest in that? Where did that influence come from?
KP: Well, even with the first album, I really was careful about how I placed the songs; that it should have a flow. I guess I’ve always been interested in “the album,” not like a single, you know? And if I had to think fast, the first live concert I heard was Pink Floyd. My dad took me, and we sat outside the stadium. At an open-air concert, you could just get a lawn chair and listen, you know. I was really into that stuff, and Dark Side of the Moon. And to me, that’s a very suite-based thing. Even to give away a little secret, Gaia/Goya is slightly based on Animals, the Pink Floyd album. So I guess it probably comes from Floyd. But at the time I was going to write “Gaia/Goya,” I was with Ron Paley and the RWB. Ron had done this beautiful ballet, A Cinderella Story, and I was really paying attention to that, and the way that he was bringing back certain themes and how that whole thing develops, which was a giant undertaking. I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to try something like that. So I guess “Gaia/Goya” was 20-something minutes. The movie thing is longer…

Stylus: Your latest release, Solo Guitar, was influenced by your involvement playing through “Artists in Healthcare.”
KP: It’s been about seven years now that I’ve been doing that stuff. Right from the get-go, it was really heavy. I started out in the hospice, playing for the terminally ill, and I was not prepared for that; just dealing with the heavy emotions that are around that. But it was a learning experience to see how music could deeply affect people. It shows the value of music and of human connection. It’s deeper than music, I guess. [Also,] I guess I wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do any of that stuff if it wasn’t for all the hours spent in the hospital playing. Some of the things on the solo album are a bit dark. Like, I didn’t play them at the hospital, but they definitely developed there. It was nice to be simple. Guitar is not easy to play solo, so I mean, I picked up chops, but. . . jazz musicians are always so complicated and so technical. It’s been freeing just to play simple melodies and just enjoy that. I think that comes out of the hospital [experience]. You know, you don’t need all the fanciness or whatever. I’ve been trying to distance myself from that pursuit as much as possible. I feel like it’s limiting. But it’s always in the back of my mind – the jazz audience, are they judging that I’m not playing fancy?

Stylus: So, you’re almost a little bit like “Jazz for the Common Man.”
KP: All the other genres of music, or most of them, their central focus is like a connection; an emotion. You know, like a singer-songwriter or a punk rock band. All these genres, to me, share something, and I’ve tried to bring that into jazz and make that the focus. [Before writing “Gaia/Goya,”] I was reading a lot of Gary Snyder, and I love the way he writes haiku. So much is said with just a few things. So I try to keep the melodies – not really like haikus, but in the spirit of haiku.

Stylus: You recently became a father. How has parenthood affected your creative output?
KP: Well, it’s shown me that being an artist takes a lot of selfish energy, in a way, whether you’re doing it ultimately for yourself or for others. And a young parent doesn’t get a lot of “selfish” time. It’s a perspective changer. Now, it’s like serious time management. But at the same time it’s inspiring. It’s amazing to be there as someone grows. I feel like maybe once he starts going to daycare or to school, then I’m going to have a lot to say creatively. There’s so many moments, but then, you’re so exhausted, and there’s no time to really put it down, you know? Like, I got to get the diapers, I got to do the dinner… those are the things that have got to happen now.

Stylus: This year at Jazz Fest, you played a free show at the Cube. Could you talk a bit about your experience with Jazz Fest overall?
KP: I really enjoy the energy it brings to the city and particularly the Exchange District. It’s really fun to have a lot of great music happening within a few city blocks. As a local artist, it gives me an event to work towards and a chance to showcase my music and my progress as an artist. It’s also great to hear so many of Winnipeg’s talented musicians and to get a chance to bump into them and catch up.

Stylus: You tend to play a lot of the smaller venues at Jazz Fest. Are there plans in the works/have you ever been approached to play a larger theatre show?
KP: No, I haven’t. I mean, it’s not something I ever really think about. I mean, we have played the West End opening for [Robert] Glasper and before the Bad Plus, but. . . some guy who writes haikus and just threw out his back catalogue—I mean, you’re not going to put that on the main stage, right? But I don’t mean that in any negative way. It’s not even part of my equation, like, worrying about it. I mean, one day it would be wonderful if they ever asked!

Stylus: Maybe fifty years down the line, when people are covering your retired material, then you’ll be asked.
KP: If I’m lucky, I guess.

Don’t miss Keith Price’s Double Quartet at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Live on the Rooftop series on July 3.

Winnipeg Free Press Review of ‘Solo Guitar’

WINNIPEG guitarist Keith Price, more often seen wielding an electric guitar onstage, performs 11 acoustic tunes on his new solo CD.

And as any good Winnipegger should, he admits a debt to Lenny Breau’s style and covers Neil Young’s Old Man.

Price has proven himself as an electric jazz player on mainstream and more avant garde material.

Now, he demonstrates more delicate and laid-back chops on his own compositions and covers of Radiohead, The Weakerthans and Bob Dylan.

Price has a deft, soft touch on acoustic guitar honed, in part, from years of playing for hospital and CancerCare patients.

While it is not jazz, per se, Price’s jazz sensibilities permeate the disc. It’s a craftsman’s recording 4 stars

DOWNLOAD THIS: The Swan

— Chris Smith

Spirit of Kerouac lives on in beat-flavoured jazz suite

Spirit of Kerouac lives on in beat-flavoured jazz suite

Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price found inspiration on the road

Roger Levesque, Freelance

Published: Thursday, February 09 2012

Just as so-called “beat” writers like Jack Kerouac found inspiration in the freedom of jazz music, all sorts of jazz musicians have taken inspiration from the beats.

Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price is one of the latest to pay tribute in a six-part suite he calls Gaia/Goya, which also serves as the title of his recent album release.

“I was traveling around Europe with an acoustic guitar, listening to a lot of indie rock music and reading stuff by Gary Snyder and Kerouac,” he says. “I guess I was picking up a little on the romance of the beats. Instead of playing standards, I wanted to play something more current, something that came from that experience.”

Each part of the suite is dedicated to beat figures like Kerouac or characters in their work, or for Price’s friends or have some other cultural reference. The album also includes jazz covers of Nirvana and Sufjan Stevens.

Price says it’s hard for him to distinguish between straight-ahead jazz and his other musical influences – from chanting to grunge rock.

He grew up listening to various shades of pop and rock music and started strumming his grandfather’s guitar at age 11. But it was the school band director who exposed him to jazz and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps album that first grabbed his attention. Price was fascinated with improvisation, and then he found the recordings of former Winnipeg guitarist Lennie Breau.

“At first it was magic, it was like witchcraft,” he says.

“I wondered ‘how is it possible that they can be making this stuff up?’ and I could hardly believe it. I loved that it was in the moment, but it took me a long time to figure it out.”

After high school, Price attended a conservatory in Amsterdam, took lessons from Mick Goodrick in Boston, and returned to study at the University of Manitoba. He has worked in all contexts from big bands to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

His first album Breakfast Of Champions (2009) got him a nomination for the TD Grand Prix Du Jazz and a spot at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. And Gaia/Goya features some of the same musicians – bassist Julian Bradford, drummer Curtis Nowosad, on his current tour out west.

The trio plays the Yardbird Suite (102 Street, 86 Avenue) Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $14 for members, $18 for guests, from Ticketmaster (1-855-985-5000) or at the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Jazz?

Indie Jazz? The Keith Price Trio

by Malcolm Petch

Keith Price is an indie musician. The Keith Price Trio is an indie group. Mention the term “Indie Musician” and what generally comes to mind is a casually dressed individual (i.e. contemporary hippie-type clothing) toting an acoustic guitar, singing and playing folksy-sounding songs they wrote themselves. The term “Indie Group”, on the other hand, usually conjures up images of earnest young men slamming around on electric guitars, playing self-written music that’s got enough of an edge to keep them slightly off-centre of mainstream but still pushing hard for a record deal; and they, too, are often dressed like modern hippies. This is a definition we’ve already (as in previously) tossed around in our newsletter, boys and girls.

Yet as soon as you hear the name “Keith Price Trio” you think, “Hey, what’s this ‘trio’ business all about?’ – and that’s your first inkling that something other than the pre-fab definition of indie group might be in play here.

Most of the promo photos of Keith Price show him in a casual beard. So far, so good. Some shots show him wearing a baseball cap – a trucker-style nylon mesh baseball cap; again, artist apparel that we’re familiar with here at Streaming Café.

But even the casual observer at this point notes that the guitar accompanying Price in all the shots is a lovely hollow-body electric, worn slightly higher on his body than most rockers would be comfortable with. And in pictures of the whole Trio, the bassist is seen with a double bass (you know, those giant violins that stand on a metal spike).

Aha!” you say. “This is a jazz group!”

Well, yes. The Keith Price Trio is a jazz group. (And now the ‘trio’ business makes sense). Price hails from Winnipeg, and has made his musical home in Manitoba by choice, even though he was offered a scholarship at New York’s New School University. Price spent time in Boston studying with guitar guru Mick Goodrick, but when it came time to put down roots, his choice was to spend time in the jazz program established by Steve Kirby at the University of Manitoba.

A jazz group? Aren’t jazz musicians / groups a little too esoteric for the likes of us at Streaming Café?” (SHHH! Don’t let them hear you saying that!!).

Here are a couple of examples of what’s different about Keith Price, and part of why the Keith Price Trio is booked to play SC:

–          Price produced Michael Peters’ latest album; Peters is an indie-pop singer/songwriter who appeared at SC back in the early days.

–          Keith Price Trio’s new album, Gaia Goya, features covers of tunes by artists like Nirvana, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, and Grizzly Bear.

–          Six of the tracks on the new album are a suite that Price wrote while on his last tour, and they’re based loosely on Pink Floyd’s album Animals.

Nirvana. Pink Floyd. Definitely not your typical jazz fare. Sufjan Stevens. Definitely part of the faves playlist of most Streaing Café aficionados. Maybe this Keith Price Trio is more SC-like than might be first realized.

Keith’s own words to Michael, our talent-booking (amongst everything else) guy: “I’ve really enjoyed watching/hearing my friends Kim McMechan, James Lamb, and Michael Peters perform at the café. The quality of the recordings is always amazing and the vibe of the place seems really wonderful, even over the Internet.”

We like it when people tell us they like what we’re doing. And it’s good to hear that Price is friends with some of the artists who’ve played here (McMechan and Lamb have each been featured here on multiple occasions). And it’s good to know our live streaming has even reached into the land of Manitoba. But is that enough to make the Keith Price Trio someone we would host at SC?

I find the jazz world a little too stuffy these days,” Price says, “and have been wondering: why are the folk musicians having so much fun when we are having very little?”

Price says his newest album is intended to reach beyond the confines of the jazz world. His choice to cover material by artists like Nirvana and Sufjan Stevens in his latest work is an intentional decision designed to bridge the gap between the more every-day music lover and the sometimes hard-to-understand world of jazz.

I’m trying to find a balance with my new music between interesting, creative jazz and material that is accessible to a wide range of people (not just jazz nerds!) without being cheesy.”

Price and his bandmates, Julian Bradford on bass and Curtis Nowosad on drums, have logged a lot of time together. They’ve covered gigs such as CBC Canada Live and the 2010 Montreal Jazz Festival. In a testament to either their courage or their Manitoba hardiness, they’ve elected to tour Canada during these frigid winter months, and they’ll be appearing at Streaming Café on February 11th.

Landing as it does right in the Valentine’s Day season, an evening with the Keith Price Trio might be the perfect chance for a night out, with warm jazz filling the airwaves – yet jazz that is easy to get into even for the non-initiated listener. Keith has done an amazing job of opening up the world of jazz guitar to everyone through his choice of cover material. We think this is going to be a great night! Saturday February 11, live in person at 596 Leon Ave in Kelowna, or live online at StreamingCafe.net

Winnipeg Free Press Review of ‘Gaia/Goya’

By: Chris Smith

Keith Price’s second album, Gaia/Goya, was partially inspired by poet Gary Snyder.</p>
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Keith Price’s second album, Gaia/Goya, was partially inspired by poet Gary Snyder. (SUPPLIED PHOTO

When guitarist Keith Price goes on the road to make music he, well, makes music.

While traveling on his own and with Ron Paley’s band accompanying the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the United States, he worked on a long-form suite that composes half of his sophomore recording Gaia/Goya, which is being released on Saturday at Aqua Books.

Four of the 10 tracks on the album are indie music, but the 27-year-old guitarist wanted a longer form, more dramatic suite as well. “I used the Pink Floyd disc Animals as an outline,” he said.

Gaia is the name of an ancient Greek goddess who cares for the planet, and of a theory that everything is part of one system, Mother Earth, he explains. While on the road, he read a book of poetry by Gary Snyder that included environmental essays and the suite was born. Part 1 is named Theme for Gary Snyder.

The indie material includes a cover of Kurt Cobain’s Lithium and while it is the first time Price has recorded the Nirvana hit, “it was the first thing I played in sixth grade. It was easy to play power chords,” he says.

The playing has advanced since then, of course, and Lithium and the whole recording sound very good in the hands of Price, bassist Julian Bradford, drummer Curtis Nowosad, pianist Will Bonness and alto saxophonist Neil Watson playing in trio and quintet formats.

The Uniter Review of ‘Breakfast Of Champions’

by Aaron Epp (Managing Editor)

4 out of 5 stars

 It’s fitting that Keith Price is holding a baseball on the cover of this CD, because with these seven songs, the jazz guitarist has hit a home run. Recorded last December, the 45-minute disc proves not only that Price has talent, but that he’s a team player too. The excellent compositions are his, but the collaborative nature of the recording is what makes songs like Warmth and the three-part Zoom Zoom work. Other guitarists might have used the opportunity to get in as many solos as possible. Price, on the other hand, picks his spots to shine and allows the other musicians – Neil Watson (alto sax), William Bonness (piano), Julian Bradford (bass) and Curtis Nowosad (drums) – the opportunity to display their formidable talents as well.