Boyle’s recital kept audience leaning forward


October 3, 2012

Patrick Boyle, trumpet, flugelhorn, resonator guitar, electric guitar

Brian Anderson, double bass
Jonathan Goldman, accordion
Joanna Hood, viola
Ian McDougall, trombone

Review by Jennifer Messelink

“Tonight someone’s going to get a haircut!!!!”

That phrase was the last thing I expected to hear thundering through the Philip T. Young Recital hall on Friday, Sept. 28, but this was Patrick Boyle’s recital, and having witnessed many of his performances, I should have known it would be remarkable.

Boyle is assistant professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Victoria. CBC Radio calls him a “trumpet personality” and “one of Canada’s top trumpet players and jazz musicians in general.” The audience was treated to an unexpected array of original compositions, jazz standards, and unique improvisation. Boyle described the program as having, “no theme, just melodies I like with people who will tolerate being with me.” Being the tolerant audience we were, we sat back and enjoyed the show.

Boyle opened with Dave Douglas’s “Charms of the Night Sky” joined by Joanna Hood on viola, Jonathan Goldman on accordion and student Brian Anderson on double bass. Dave Douglas is a trumpeter and composer whose music derives from classical, European folk and Klezmer, and his composition was a fitting beginning. The unique orchestration produced a rich texture, with each instrument having a complementary voice. The bird calls, beautiful melodies, and walking bass were seductive and exotic, and the ensemble clearly enjoyed this piece. As a performer and composer Boyle moves easily between the genres but is consistently true to his own style. His composition “Fresh Duds” was written for legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. He calls it country music, and it had distinctive country touches: Hood strumming her viola like a guitar along with a bass solo. Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” Boyle’s Esquimalt-inspired composition “Paradise Found” segued into “Did I Ever” with the Dobro, a resonator guitar, visually beautiful with a distinctive sound. The spacious open chords resonated throughout the recital hall. To finish the first half Boyle was joined by Ian McDougall on trombone for the jazz standard, “Everything Happens To Me,” and he effortlessly switched between trumpet and guitar on McDougall’s composition, “Mc Not Mac- Two”L’s.” As the first half closed, the trombonist said what we were all thinking: “he’s a versatile little bugger isn’t he?”

The second part of the recital began informally with Boyle alone on stage playing a jazzy impressionist interpretation of “The Flintstones” on electric guitar, filled with whole tone runs and resonant harmonics. The final piece of the night, an improvised soundtrack to a 1980s wresting match projected on the wall, was unlike anything I have seen. As a female with no brothers, I have never been exposed to wrestling, especially wrestling circa 1987, in a Detroit stadium filled with 93,000 screaming fans. Imagine, in the dark recital Hall, large men in tight pink shorts and improvised music. “There are a lot of elements in wrestling to be mined, socially and emotionally,” Boyle explained. ”

As the night drew to a close, I reflected on his diverse influences, his ease performing and his comfort with silences. The audience was not overburdened with constant sound; instead, Boyle, utilized silence to give each chord, note and phrase deeper meaning. It is analogous to listening to someone rambling on without much substance, or listening to someone who has wisdom to share, without saying too much: we lean forward attentively in our seats and savor every word and sound.

Jennifer Messelink is a regular reviewer for The Coastal Spectator.






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