This weekend, The Seasons Performance Hall in Yakima, Washington, marks its 10th anniversary with two concerts by pianist Bill Mays, the hall’s first performer. In its early years the decommissioned Christian Science Church, an acoustic marvel, was dedicated to presenting classical music and jazz. Its policy then broadened to encompass other styles of music including blue grass, gospel, rock and pop. Now, The Seasons is launching new jazz and classical series. Drummer Louis Hayes’ Cannonball Legacy band initiated the jazz series a couple of weeks ago.
Mays and his trio with Martin Wind and Matt Wilson played the hall’s inaugural concert to a packed house on October 13, 2005. Friday evening, Mays will be back with his Inventions Trio featuring trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn. The classical Finesterra piano trio—fellow veterans of The Seasons—will also perform on Friday. Saturday, Mays and I will revive the History Of Jazz Piano presentation that we first did a few years ago at a festival in Oregon (pictured). I’ll talk a bit about some of the pianists most important in jazz history and most important to Bill. He will play pieces written by or strongly associated with James P. Johnson, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and 23 other pianists. Earlier this week, Pat Muir of the Yakima Herald-Republic spoke with us about the concert. To read his cover story in the newspaper’s weekly entertainment supplement, go here.
From the early days of the Inventions Trio, here is “Rollin’ Down the Water Gap” from Mays’ Delaware River Suite.
And just for fun as this busy weekend approaches, here are Mays, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Matt Wilson pretty much as they looked and sounded at that first concert at The Seasons a decade ago. Bill calls the piece, “Snow Job.”
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.