Friday, July 16, 2010

For Wayne

Wayne Christiansen was a great piano player, one of the best jazz musicians to grace this city. Beyond jazz, he touched country, blues, pop... so many groups, so many people. His death saddened us so much... we've lost so much music, and also a truly fine individual. I could tell so many stories just about my friendship with him, but I can't write that many words.

I was able to record him only once, at the Day-Riverside Library back in 2003, with Jim Stout and Mark Cheney. Great players, a fine performance.

There was a tribute to him at Gracie's a few days ago. Many friends in so many social/musical contexts showed up... frustrating, since these events seem to occur only at someone's death. Anyway, some pics follow (click on pic to see larger image). I did record the music from the event, I'll figure out some way to make the performances available (there were some great moments, they only needed Wayne to take them to a higher level).


The "house band" was anchored by Ken Brienholdt on drums (his association with Wayne goes so far back...), Dan Waldis on piano, Steve Keane on bass, Kenji on guitar, also Steve Allred on pedal steel. Lots of folks sat in early... Jerry Floor, Greg Floor, Warren Truson amongst so many others, sorry I've missed some. And, of course, lots of friends showed up just to listen and share their stories about Wayne.



Jay and Joe came down from Heber... they represented Wayne's country music excursions, Cow Jazz perhaps the most notable.

My bud iRod, and local music impresario John Paul Brophy were there. Interesting story, Rod and Dixon (from a previous pic) shared a house with Wayne back in college days, with Kenny as well, Curt, Nick, and others... with delivery to and from for me by the FBI... Blackwood Hall, music, terrorism, music, drugs, free jazz, Bogart, music... we haven't the time...


Harold Carr took over on bass, with Herschel Bullen on soprano sax... first time I heard him play soprano.



Mike Miller came in from LA... with KT... and played some really fine guitar.




There was a blues side to Wayne... Jack Drier was present and Harry Lee performed...



As the evening progressed into twilight, Tully Cathey took over guitar duties...


And finished out the evening with Mark doing vocal duties on the standard... and the Mark and Wayne standard... All of Me...


Thanks so much to Mark and Ken for their efforts organizing this tribute...


And to Gracie's for hosting the event. And to everyone who came out, playing, listening, remembering... just one person, one very incredible person, missing...

4 comments:

Dan Waldis said...

What does one even begin to write about such a great musician and friend? I am thankful that I was able to spend hours with him on the last night of the jazz fest. His passing has left a void for me and many, many others.

haroldcarr said...

Sherm - very good of you to put this together - and your recording of Utah music all these years.

Still hard to believe he's gone. Last time I saw and heard him was when he and Mark and Scott Harris played the Salt Lake Symphony Vienna Ball in February this year. It was fun to hang with them as usual during their breaks.

Unknown said...

I remember one Wednesday evening at the Zanzibar. Wayne and Mark were doing the duo and had friends in the audience that were "sitting in" to jam. A guitar player was setting up, when Wayne ask him: "So, what do you want to play"? The guy turned to Wayne and said: "Whatever". Immediately Wayne started playing random chords, singing: "Whatever..., whatever..." We all busted out in laughter. What a funny man he was. We miss you. -Jake Dreier

Blog Exersize said...

It was always a pleasure to play with "The Wayne and Mark Show"...Both excellent musicians with a great sense of humor ... Gigs never seemed like work ( until we had to load our gear in or out of the venue ...) I knew Wayne as a humble , generous man who played great in any style or setting . I'm positive he's in a better place now , but we'lle all miss him greatly ...Chau Amigo ...