I’ve been searching all morning for metaphors that will adequately describe Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson stepping onto coastal BC stages in April to promote their new duo album Look for the Silver Lining.
Given the album’s title and the gravity, imagination, and intelligence each brings to the situation, I think only one will do: it’ll be somewhat akin to attending a spiritual congress featuring the Dalai Lama and Desmund Tutu.
While that’s over the top and will likely embarrass them, the point is you’ll be hard pressed to find two more engaging, authoritative, and respected voices in Canadian jazz.
Together they bring 80 years of world class experience to the music. Thompson, of course, emerged in the sixties playing bass for the likes of John Handy and Paul Desmond. And Dwyer has been on the scene since the mid-80’s when at 19 he joined the Hugh Fraser Quintet and went on to play with Kenny Wheeler, Renee Rosnes and, of course, Don Thompson.
Both are multi-instrumentalists, respected composers and arrangers, and Juno award-winners. More important for an audience, when just one of them steps on the bandstand, the level of the music kicks up three, four or five notches. Put two of them up there – particularly with the freedom afforded by a duo setting and their 30 years of musical friendship – and you’ll experience unprecedented beauty, imagination, and swing.
All three qualities are apparent on the album. I’ve enjoyed a few truly great duo albums over the years: Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, Jim Hall and Ron Carter, Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden, Fraser MacPherson and Oliver Gannon. This one is right up there with Dwyer playing sax that will make you dance and weep, and Thompson accompanying on piano with the grace, presence, and style that can only come from years of playing with the very best musicians in the world.
It’s a gorgeous album and it’ll be a great tour.
Here are the dates. Check out your local venue for details.
April 12-Victoria GNS school. Dave Paulson/UJAM presenting
April 13-Parksville/Knox United Church
April 15-Powell River/Brooks Secondary School
April 18-Gabriola Island/The Haven
April 19-Mill Bay/Sylvan United Church
April 20-Denman Island/Denman Hall
April 21-Colwood Jazz Vespers
Look for the Silver Lining, featuring ten beautifully rendered standards and dedicated to the memory of Ross Taggart and Ted Godwin, can be purchased directly from Dwyer’s website or at the gigs.