When Sam Kirmayer put together a trio to record his last album, the Montreal-based jazz guitarist chose a past collaborator and someone he never played with until they were in the studio.
Kirmayer wrote his first record while he was a student at McGill University and recorded with a pianist, bassist and drummer the summer after he graduated. For his next album, 2018’s High and Low, “I wanted to really do something different right away,” he said.
During his time at McGill, Kirmayer had the chance to play with in a trio a pair of professors on organ and drums. On High and Low, he returns to that instrumentation.
“I’ve always loved organ, guitar, drum trios and I think for the guitar in jazz, sometimes we’re a little bit of the odd man out just in terms of you think of most of the really classic ensembles don’t feature guitar…” he said. “But the organ trio format is really something that guitar is perfectly at home in.”
Kirmayer brought back Dave Laing, the drummer from his debut album, for the project but because he had difficulty finding an organist in Montreal, he sought out New York City-based organist Ben Paterson.
“Ben was somebody whose playing I discovered and was really impressed by and really enthusiastic about,” he said. “So then actually I mentioned that I was listening to him to this friend of mine who said, ‘Oh yeah, I know him. Here’s his phone number.’ So that’s kind of how that came together.”
Despite never working together before, Kirmayer said there was easy chemistry.
“There is always a question of how’s it going to work when you play together, but I think that pretty quickly we found a way of finding some common ground,” he said. “And as we’ve continued to play together here and there since recording the record I think we’ve got deeper into that and that’s pretty exciting.”
Kirmayer said his current cross-Canada tour is “almost a wrap-up for the moment of this project.” Right now he’s writing his next album, which will once again see him putting together a new band with new instrumentation.
“I’m writing stuff that would be more [for] a slightly larger ensemble featuring some horns,” he explained. “I think it’s going to help me develop more of my writing and my arranging, which is something I want to get deeper into.”
WHAT’S ON … The Sam Kirmayer Trio performs at the Lighthouse Bistro, 50 Anchor Way, on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for students, available at the venue, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music or online.