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Summarize this content material to 540 phrases Native jazz bassist Duncan Hopkins’ new album is the story of two unsung legends.The extra apparent topic of “Who Are You? The Music of Kenny Wheeler” is the late Toronto-born trumpeter, flugelhorn participant and educator who spent the vast majority of his profession throughout the Atlantic, carving out a fairly enviable area of interest for himself as a prolific composer and recording artist whereas working with jazz icons like John Dankworth, Keith Jarrett and Norma Winstone, with whom he shaped the trio Azimuth.The much less apparent legend is one confined to the Niagara area and to whom the album is devoted: Warren Stirtzinger.The connection?“Warren launched me to Kenny,” mentioned Hopkins, a former member of the Grammy- and Juno-winning Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass who, like Wheeler and Stirtzinger, grew up in St. Catharines, Ont.“He confirmed me every part. Musically, I don’t assume there’s a day that goes by the place I don’t assume, ‘Oh yeah, I keep in mind Warren informed me about this.’ And Kenny was considered one of my important musical influences.”Hopkins is premiering a couple of Wheeler works with the brand new album, together with the three-song “St. Catharines Suite” that features “Salina Avenue” — which the trumpeter referred to as residence — and “Kitts,” after the town’s nickname “St. Kitts.” Hopkins rounds out the suite with a composition of his personal, “Montebello,” named after a big park within the metropolis.“Ken’s adolescence had been all in St. Catharines,” mentioned Hopkins, who recruited ace Toronto guitarists Reg Schwager and Ted Quinlan, and drummer Michel Lambert for the eight-song effort that options seven Wheeler compositions.“The story that I heard is that his dad gave him cash to go to McGill (College in Montreal) and he principally took the cash, obtained on a ship, went to England, married rapidly, set himself up and he by no means left,” Hopkins mentioned.Extra analysis revealed that Wheeler was born in Toronto on Jan. 14, 1930; his household moved round Ontario earlier than settling in St. Catharines 15 years later; his semi-pro trombonist father launched his son to the cornet and, after changing into smitten with the music of notable jazz trumpet gamers Roy Eldridge, Clifford Brown and Artwork Farmer, Kenny Wheeler graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music.He pursued a profession in England fairly than the U.S. as a result of he needed to keep away from the draft (in these days, visiting residents of the U.S. might be pressed into army service), relocated to Leytonstone, East London; married spouse Doreen and rapidly established himself as a first-rate composer, recording “Windmill Tilter: The Story of Don Quixote” in 1968 with John Dankworth.Within the ’70s, Wheeler started recording each as a frontrunner and a sideman for the German ECM label.Except for being snug with traditionalist jazz. Wheeler additionally dabbled in free improv with such pioneers of the motion as Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton — and was well-received by British and European artists for his trail-blazing work.And though he lived in England, he would go to his hometown a couple of instances a 12 months, looking for out musicians he appreciated to both jam or report with.One of many musicians he sought out was Stirtzinger, whose Warren Stirtzinger Group stuffed the Port Mansion bar with a weekly residency.Not like Wheeler, guitarist Stirtzinger had discovered his area of interest regionally and had no real interest in performing past the Niagara area and Buffalo. Stirtzinger typically accompanied Guido Basso and pianist John Sherwood, and was additionally a revered banjo participant, performing with a variety of Dixieland combos in Niagara.At some point whereas on the town, Wheeler stopped at a Tim Hortons the place the jazz gamers frolicked and requested Stirtzinger what he was as much as musically.“Warren talked about that he was taking part in in a six-guitar band in Buffalo and, the following morning, Kenny confirmed as much as the Tim Hortons and he had an 18- to 20-page rating of a six-guitar-part composition that he had written,” Hopkins recalled. “I keep in mind it clearly: on the entrance of it, it mentioned, ‘This might be a part of the St. Catharines Suite … if it’s any good’ … the same old self-deprecating Kenny Wheeler humour.”Stirtzinger took the composition — the aforementioned “Salina Avenue” — to his Buffalo guitar ensemble, however they couldn’t play it.“Warren mentioned it was past their functionality, possibly somewhat too fashionable,” mentioned Hopkins, who saved the manuscript till he was capable of put it on this newest album, which he’ll have a good time with two gigs on the Ethiopian restaurant Hirut on June 15 and 16.Hopkins later studied with Wheeler in Banff, the place the latter taught college students a couple of weeks yearly.“At the moment of assembly him, I didn’t have a clue as to who he was,” Hopkins admitted. “I didn’t know his music. I used to be very younger … “I liked his writing. It was filled with the custom of jazz, however on the identical time it was very completely different and fashionable. It was written in nearly the best way classical music was written.”Regardless of their 35-year age distinction, Hopkins and Wheeler shaped a quick friendship and, when Hopkins relocated to England to show on the Royal Academy of Music, Wheeler took him to his favorite Indian restaurant and informed him “so many great tales of being on the street with completely different individuals, together with (jazz saxophonist) Stan Getz; issues I had no concept about.”Wheeler additionally performed on Hopkins’ first album, “La Rouge,” in 1994.Wheeler died in 2014; Stirtzinger died two years later.“Who Are You? The Music of Kenny Wheeler” is Hopkins’ alternative to pay tribute to each and shed extra mild on Wheeler, whom he calls “an unsung hero.”“Once you journey the world you see a greater image of his affect, actually in Europe; they actually appreciated him somewhat extra, and extra in Europe than even in England … “For me, it’s necessary for me to be an envoy of his music. This venture is to maintain Kenny’s music alive and play it ahead if I can.”SHARE:JOIN THE CONVERSATION Anybody can learn Conversations, however to contribute, you have to be a registered Torstar account holder. If you don’t but have a Torstar account, you may create one now (it’s free)Signal InRegisterConversations are opinions of our readers and are topic to the Code of Conduct. The Star
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By Maggi

"Greetings! I am a media graduate with a diverse background in the news industry. From working as a reporter to producing content, I have a well-rounded understanding of the field and a drive to stay at the forefront of the industry." When I'm not writing content, I'm Playing and enjoying with my Kids.

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