Freshwater Trio
Two members of Borealis String Quartet

Jazz Piano Series at the Cellar: Miles Black/ Rene Worst Duo
Friday, 13 August 2010 @ 7:30pm and 9:30pm • The Cellar Jazz Club

Performers Miles Black, Piano; Rene Worst, upright bass

Reviewer Melanie Ewan

It was a warm summer night in Vancouver when I made my way to Kitsilano, and down the stairs to the cool candle-lit atmosphere of The Cellar. It is one of Vancouver’s few jazz clubs, and it’s evident that both the owners and the patrons take their jazz seriously.

I was there to enjoy a night of piano jazz presented by MusicFest. The Cellar filled with people as the band, consisting of our very own Miles Black on piano, and Rene Worst on upright bass, set up their instruments. They have been working together for upwards of 20 years, on projects such as the Juno-nominated fusion band ‘Skywalk’, and their history is evident through the way in which their music comes together with fluid ease.

Their first set played on a range of emotions; taking us from the melancholy, yet powerful, She Walks Alone to the upbeat Sancho, forming images of stolen kisses on sweet summer nights. Perhaps one of my favourites was the last song in this first set; a fast blues number called Tiptoe. I felt that it stood out nicely from the other pieces, and showed the musician’s range of ability.

The second set provided us with a tour through their progression as musicians together. They mixed up pieces from their new CD, Escorial, with songs such as Larger than Life which they hadn’t played for years. We were even treated to the beautiful Clouds of Magellan, which is yet to be recorded.

What really stood out for me was the silent attentiveness of the audience. It was as if they were all in this dream state, where music, food and wine came together in unique synchronicity. The only visible movement of anyone seemed to consist of toes tapping under the tables, arms reaching for glasses, and eyes closing, shutting out all but the music. It’s amazing how jazz enthusiasts, whether they be musicians or not, often have this certain look to them, as if jazz is the only language they truly understand.

Black and Worst are jazz musicians with some amazing talent, who we can be proud to say are considered Canadian legends in the field of jazz music. My suggestion to those piano jazz fans out there is to check out either of these musicians, either online or at a future event here in Vancouver.

© 2010 Melanie Ewan