Live At the Cellar

By Paul Serralheiro

This is the first album as a leader for veteran guitarist Oliver Gannon. A Vancouver local hero admired across the country, Gannon has appeared on numerous recordings in a supporting role, but takes the lead on this live session recorded over two nights (March 7th and 8th. 2002) at The Cellar, a Vancouver jazz club.

A “1ive” recording is an interesting and appropriate choice, given the nature of Gannon’s playing, which is warm, intimate and impish — subtle qualities that are best appreciated with physical presence. Gannon’s presence certainly gets captured here in a very good live recording. The selections are not just showcases for Gannon’s soloist skills, but reflect his seasoned musicianship as well as his writing abilities in five originals that contain flowing ideas. The other tunes are Parker’s “Bioorndido”, Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way”, and Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now”, the last gorgeously played. Gannon also shows his blues teeth, right from the opener, “Groovin’ At The Cellar” and his bebop chops don’t fail him in three out of five originals on the disc – “So Nice”, “Every Now And Then,” and ‘Strivin’ for a Riff.”

Gannon is a thinking musician, with constantly flowing, fresh ideas. Thinking along with him is pianist Miles Black, who contributes exciting interactions with Gannon, most notably on “So Nice” and “Strivin’ for a Riff”, and in his
composition “The Keeper,” a medium tempo, relaxed saunter with sunny harmonic and melodic interplay. Miles Hill and Blalne Wikjord on bass and drums, respectively, provide always appropriate rhythmic interest and groove. <<