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Notable Notes: Pacini Writes About The Tony Pacini Trio Performance At Wilf’s Restaurant, Friday, December 28th, 2012

RECAPITULATION: The Tony Pacini Trio Performance At Wilf’s Restaurant, Friday, December 28th, 2012

I’m listening to George Shearing with the Robert Farnon Orchestra as I write this, reflecting on the wonderful evening we (the Tony Pacini Trio) enjoyed last night. As I walked into Wilf’s last night, I couldn’t stop smiling as I was greeted by so many devoted friends and fans. Included in the congregation were several people I hadn’t seen in a while, and some, who despite feeling under the weather, or having to travel a fair distance, were compelled to make the effort / pilgrimage choosing to share their warmth and evening with us. We enjoyed the company of all, and also made friends with new listeners. The trio graciously channeled the attentiveness of all those wonderful people back into the music.

One of our devoted listeners had brought her entire family, (in town for the holidays), and had asked what the “Third Stream” selections advertised on my website’s feed ( ) were about. I acknowledged her question by showing her a piece of music-manuscript-paper before the gig that consisted of simply one line of music: a fermata (hold sign), a chord progression consisting of three measures of arco (bowed bass), followed by “Chopin solo piano”, “repeat intro with band”, then “band in on Jobim tune”, concluding with coda (ending). I said; “They’ll (the trio) know what to do”.

We begin: I took the bench, poised myself at the piano, and thought that it might be nice to start the evening off soft and with a solo-piano number so as to provide more crescendo room for the musical entrance of my longtime gifted colleagues, Tim Rap (drums), and Ed Bennett (bass). Most of the time the approach to kicking off the night is like saying; “Hey, let’s get this thing going and swing hard”, but the room seemed to be especially sentimental with loyal listeners and new ones all getting to know each other, and, with the intent of listening. I simply began playing Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke” solo, and transitioned into two tunes written by Ellington, following which I provided the intro cue to Tim and Ed for our up-tempo samba rendition of “Prelude To A Kiss”. Having 13 years of musical rapport with Tim and Ed allows me the opportunity to program a set of music on the fly by incorporating arrangements they know that they will jump in on as soon as they hear me segue into them – I‘m so lucky to have them.

The cross-pollination of “classical meets jazz” medley mentioned earlier we played next. It was one of two “Third Stream” selections I arranged that I debuted at this performance. Ed Bennett’s arco work accompanying my harmonic redirection was superb, and Tim Rap did what he does so well on the drums; shaped the medley from start to coda with sensitivity, dynamics, and respect on a compositional level.

We also performed my involved arrangement of Franz Lehar’s “Your’s, Is My Heart Alone”, our new piano trio “thumbprint” on Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud”, and my original compositions “Pastel For Two” (a mixed-meter waltz) and “I Feel Your Smile” (an original ballad with influence and connotations from Monty Alexander’s “That’s Why”).

Our last set included two songs with special guest tenor saxophonist Harry Allen who converged upon us along with delightful vocalist Rebecca Kilgore and friends. They had just finished performing with Rebecca at a different venue. Nonetheless, Harry sat in and we played a fairly brisk version of Gershwin’s “Love Walked In”, followed by “How Am I To Know”, an obscure tune written by Jack King and Dorothy Parker from the 1929 film “Dynamite”. Well, the gig went overtime, but it was worth it – so much fun!

Up next: More piano-trio tonight at Portland Prime with bassist Ed Bennett and drummer Mel Brown, a break on Sunday, then I’ll regroup Monday night with Mel, Ed, and the addition of saxophonist John Nastos at Prime to ring in the new year.

Hope to see you soon!
~Tony Pacini

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Tony Pacini Sentiment: Pacini Writes About Playing With Harry Allen – Concert Portland.

RECAPITULATION: My sincerest thanks tTonyPaciniAndHarryAllen2012o all of you who attended the Harry Allen show December 2012 at Jimmy Mak’s – you fueled the music. It was great to reconnect with Harry again after so many years. We both recalled playing in Oregon 9-10 times together from 1995-2005, but haven’t been able to line up anything since. Many thanks to Ralph Lodewick for starting it all back in the 1990’s, and a special thank you to Rebecca Kilgore for bringing Harry Allen out this time around – I can think of no better way to end the year than continuing to share bandstands with Harry.

Harry started off the night with “But Not For Me”, and Mel, Ed, and myself instinctively started off the tune following Harry’s countdown with a variation of an interlude made famous from the great pianist Ahmad Jamal’s version of the same tune. The room was very attentive and came to ecstatic admiration after Harry’s first solo. I couldn’t help but think right then; “This is going to be a splendid evening”, and sure enough, it was.

We also performed a very tender “Nearness Of You”, as well as a rapid fire “Strike Up The Band”. Rebecca Kilgore sitting in the audience joined us for the last two tunes of the first set augmenting the quartet with her charm, and vocal sweetness on, “How About You”, and “Exactly Like You”.

I must admit selfishly though that the highlight for me came on the second set, when Harry reminded me of an idea I came up with whilst chatting with him on the phone about details of the gig a few days prior. I had told him that I recently watched a Bill Charlap YouTube video where he performed Brubeck’s “The Duke” and went right into Ellington’s (”Duke’s”) “Sophisticated Lady”. I told Harry about the tragic loss of a friend of mine’s sister whose last recording (she was a very gifted vocalist) included the tune “I’ll Be Around”. Anyways, to make this a bit shorter, I suggested that we use that tune as a solo piano piece, much like a verse to set up a rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. The words to both songs have a similar theme, and since we both agreed the holiday season seemed especially reflective, it was a go. That meant a lot to me in a “reflective” moment, and I thought to myself, the older I get, the more I realize it’s moments like this that make life rich.

~Tony Pacini

Up next, Harry and Rebecca are guests on my radio show (”YES!”) “Jazz Connections” this Friday 11am-12noon K.M.H.D. 89.1fm (stream it online anywhere in the world at

Oh, and by the way, Harry and Rebecca are doing Rebecca’s critically acclaimed Monroe & Garland songbook at the Bijou Cafe this Friday. Similarly, my trio is performing at Wilf’s Restaurant this Friday as well, but hopefully those two will crash my gig and sit in since my gig goes a little later. If you’re torn about what to
catch, catch Kilgore, then me later, or any number of great, world-class jazz talent this town has residing and performing within itself, and, at the least, swing by Cassidy’s Bar ’round ’bout midnight as surely three or four jazz groups will converge there (our hang as they say) after our gigs, tell musical war stories, eat, etc. Hang out with us and get to know this “Jazz Oasis” called Portland. There’s a lot of creativity and “jazz-culture” here, and it’s accessible and beautiful – please join us and be a part of it.

Additionally, I’ve good news, Harry and I are already talking about a follow up performance on the last Wednesday in June of 2013. I’ll keep you posted ( Once again, thank you beautiful, kind ears – You make it special. ~Tony

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When: Saturday, January 8th, 2011
Who: Tony Pacini-piano, Mike Winkle-vocals.
Where: Fenouil 900 NW 11th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209
Time: 6:00pm-9:00pm
Venue Info: 503-525-2225

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When: Friday, January 7th, 2011
Who: Tony Pacini-piano, Mike Winkle-vocals.
Where: Brasserie Montmartre
626 SW Park Avenue Portland, Oregon 97205
Time: 9:00pm-1:00am
Venue Info: 503-236-3036

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When: Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Who: Tony Pacini-solo piano,
Where: Portland Prime Bar
121 SW 3rd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97204
Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Venue Info: 503-223-6200

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When: Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 (every Wednesday)
Who: M.B.Q. Featuring: Tony Pacini-piano, Dan Balmer-guitar,
Ed Bennett-bass, Mel Brown-drums.
Where: Jimmy Mak’s (Mel Brown Quartet)
221 NW 10th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209
Time: 8:00pm-11:00pm
Featuring the music and arrangements of: Tony Pacini, and Ed Bennett.
All ages welcome for the first set (8:00pm-9:30pm)
Venue Info: 503-295-6542

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When: Saturday, December 25th, 2010 (Christmas Day Brunch)
Who: Tony Pacini-piano, Dennis Caiazza-bass, Ron Steen-drums.
Where: The 921 Bistro at the Portland Hilton
Southwest 6th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97204
Time: 10:30pm-2:30pm
Venue Info: 503-220-2685

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