TO Jazz Review: Terry Clarke Trio, July 2, Trane Studio

Toronto – I really liked the Terry Clarke Trio last Friday night at Trane Studio. I liked them so much I left during the break between their sets.

Wait, I can explain this.

Terry Clarke is a Canadian jazz veteran of some renown: he has the Order of Canada to his name, given to him in 2002, he won the 2009 Traditional Jazz Album Juno award for his first album as a band leader, and has been “Best Drummer” of the Canadian National Jazz Awards (yeah, I guess those exist) multiple times. It’s easy to see why. Clarke’s got the kind of chops behind a drum kit that transcends the rhythm-keeping duties that a lot of other drumstick-wielders are limited to, and somehow, even though you can’t hear the beat being kept over all the improvising from what’s usually the rhythm section, in Clarke’s trio it’s there just the same.

Clarke, along with saxaphonist Phil Dwyer and double bass player Don Thompson, laid down some impressive tracks from that Juno Award-winning album, which is called It’s About Time, and played a few versions of some classic jazz tunes, like Duke Ellington’s “Take the Coltrane” and Sonny Rollins’ “Freedom Suite.” I’m not the biggest Sonny Rollins fan, but it was a great tune for these three players. Thompson and Dwyer each took a spin on the piano for a couple of softer tunes, both of which were crowd-pleasers. And Clarke’s drumming was forceful throughout, demanding the spotlight several times a song.

Why, then, did I leave before the second set started? Well, to be honest, I got really bored. I had nowhere to sit in a packed to the gills Trane Studio, with all the seats (even the ones at the bar) reserved, and spent the band’s first set holding up the wall to the right of the stage with a handful of other people, trying not to trip the wait staff who were using that space between the wall and the tables as a lane from the kitchen. With nowhere to sit and no place to put a beer even if I’d been able to order one, as the break between sets passed 30 minutes in length, all I could think about was wanting to sit down, and how much sleep I was likely to get before the marathon next day at the Fringe I had scheduled.

So. Terry Clarke’s first set was pretty good. I hope the last half of the concert was good too.

Posted on by Brian in Concerts, Everything, Fringe, Toronto Jazz Festival