- Our Town
Jazz quartet celebrates a master
The world will remember December 5th, 2013 as the day Nelson Mandela died. It was also the 83rd birthday to one of the world’s greatest jazz improvisers, Jim Hall, who passed away five days later on December 10th. For Bowen Island guitarist Stephen Fisk, who had the great fortune not only to know Hall but also to be mentored by him, the depth of that loss needed to be acknowledged. So to pay tribute to Hall and celebrate his life, Fisk will be playing two shows alongside drummer Buff Allen, bass player Andre Lachance and another student of Jim’s, Bill Coon.
“When I was younger, I had the opportunity to study privately with him in Manhattan,” says Fisk. “Sitting with him in his studio was like being in the presence of Picasso at work, so fluid, so effortless! The language of jazz improvisation for Jim seemed to be the language of life itself.”
Fisk says that Hall talents as a musician were just part of what made the man great.
“He was a consummate gentleman - erudite, worldly, wise gracious - and he was funny.”
Fisk recalls his last encounter with Jim Hall, which included an introduction to cartoonist Gary Larson.
“It was at Jazz Alley in Seattle, and Jim said, ‘Gary, I’d like you to meet Steve, a fine young guitarist from Vancouver.’ To which Larson looked up over his glasses with a sly smile and responded ‘Vancouver North or South?’ …Eh? I replied. ‘Vancouver North,’ Larson definitively concluded out loud to a round of laughs.”
The quartet of Fisk, Lachance, Allen and Coon will play the first of two shows dubbed The Far Side: Celebrating Jim Hall on Friday, January 31st at the VCC Auditorium in Vancouver. They’ll be playing the next night, Saturday February 1 at Tir Na Nog Theatre at 7pm. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors, $20 for general admission.