Last August, I was privileged to watch another of Mike Lipskin’s Stride Summits, this one at the gorgeously pastoral Filoli in California, part of their jazz series.

Here are four performances from that afternoon, featuring the remarkable Chris Dawson.  (I will be sharing other performances by Mike and by Dick Hyman — now 87 — in future postings.)

Honoring Teddy Wilson, Chris offers a lightly orchestral style — always mobile, always swinging, but with an elegant classical restraint balanced against an essential gaiety. The music is dense but appears crystalline.  The astute listener will also hear he is not bound by older harmonic conventions (as in the coda Chris creates for IT HAD TO BE YOU).  I hear subtle hints of Waller, Hines, Tatum, Nat Cole — but the sound Chris gets from a piano is singular and recognizable.  And the result is floating melodies in a wonderful pastoral setting.


Another sweet Twenties classic, IT HAD TO BE YOU:

A taste of SUGAR:

Visit here to learn more about Chris.  Thanks to Merrilee Trost for making Jazz at Filoli a continuing pleasure — memorable music in the most welcoming surroundings. More videos to come.

May your happiness increase!

6 responses to “PASTORAL ELEGANCE: CHRIS DAWSON at FILOLI (August 8, 2014)

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Chris Dawson. I had the pleasure of hearing Dick Hyman (with Bucky Pizzarelli) at Bixfest a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’ve appreciated his music since his work on various Woody Allen films. Love your web site. Do you ever get down to the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans?

  2. Chris is a marvel and a genuinely good person as well. I’ve videoed him a good deal whenever I’ve gotten the chance (since 2011). I am delighted that you can make his musical acquaintance. I haven’t yet visited the FQF, but would be happy to (with camera and notebook) if invited. That’s subtle enough, no?

  3. Joán McGi nnis

    This is a marvelous Website with wonderful music. Chris Dawson not only embellishes the tunes beautifully, it is still possible to sing along with his accompaniment, and for me that is especially perfect.

  4. Chris has been one of my piano heroes for a long time,,I have several CDs with him on piano, and a couple of solo CDs. I consider them a big part of my treasures,,He plays so elegantly, and the music he delivers is awesome. Thank you Chris, and thank you NM.

  5. Wonderful stuff Michael. Chris has that graceful swing that appears almost effortless. Wanting for more. Thankyou for sharing.

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