Four-time Juno winner Chris Tarry marries music and literature in new CD-story compilation
“One of jazz’s top band leaders” – Pop Matters
June 22 – Hermann’s Jazz Club, Victoria
June 23 – CBC Radio One live taping, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver
June 24 – The Yardbird Suite, Edmonton Jazz Festival, Edmonton
June 27 – Beat Niq Jazz Club, Calgary
June 28 – The Rivoli, Toronto Downtown Jazz Fest, Toronto
June 29 – The Jazz Room, Waterloo
June 30 – Studio, National Arts Centre, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Ottawa
July 1 – TD Stage, Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal
July 7 – Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival, St. John’s
July 8 – The Carleton Music Room, Halifax Jazz Festival
Sept. 6 and 7 – The Rex, Toronto
Sept. 8 – Garden Street Main Stage, Guelph Jazz Festival
Four-time Juno winner and nine-time Juno nominee Chris Tarry is a giant of the Canadian jazz scene, a veteran of the modern jazz super-group Metalwood, and the leader of an eponymous ensemble called “One of the best jazz groups working today” by All About Jazz.
What few people know is that Tarry has also been quietly honing his craft as a fiction writer, publishing works in The Literary Review, G.W. Review, LIT and PANK, among other publications, and getting shortlisted for Ireland’s Fish Short Story Prize.
On his new album, Rest of the Story, Tarry marries his worlds of music and literature for the first time, with a Juno Award-winning limited-edition album package that features four of his short stories bundled with a Juno-nominated CD.
Tarry credits his recent literary pursuits with vastly improving his compositional skills—leading him to win his first Juno as a solo artist for his previous album, Almost Certainly Dreaming.
Its follow-up is yet another collection of pieces so filmic and filled with emotion that one could easily project narratives on them.
“Five” is an energetic jazz-rocker marked by fuzzy, crunchy guitar parts and bubbly bass. “Scroll” starts with a relaxing sea-wall stroll of a piano lead before crescendoing in blistering sax shards. The title track is a reflective, constantly-shifting piece featuring a melodic bass line and alternating sax, guitar and piano solos. The closer, “Three Short Stories,” is pure atmospheric and evocative guitar.
As in all of Tarry’s work, every note feels as if it’s being played with intention and feeling. And as with all of his past albums, Tarry is a generous bandleader, preferring to let his bass be part of the back-drop while his band-mates play most of the leading parts. A notable exception is on “Battlestar,” were Tarry lets rip an awe-inspiring and original solo.
The tracks are all packaged in a book – literally! – with a table of contents listing the track names and times, along with the titles and page numbers of Tarry’s short stories. Readers who complete story number four will notice there are many more pages to go in the book, but they all have a large hole in them. At the bottom of the hole is Tarry’s CD—literally the Rest of the Story.
The package was put together by Jeff Harrison and Kim Ridgewell of Vancouver’s Rethink Advertising, whose creative directors include a certain Rob Tarry, brother to Chris and celebrated, award-winning ad writer (Bell, Playland, Mr. Lube).
The Tarrys were raised in Calgary in a family that included a father who played sax in an all-dentist band called the Holy Molars. Chris started playing bass in a high school band and taking lessons on the side. It was that teacher in Calgary who first turned him on to the Miles Davis and Weather Report albums that would so profoundly influence his sound. Studies at Berkley followed, and then a move to Vancouver. There, Tarry met Brad Turner, and the two approached Mike Murley and Ian Froman about forming Metalwood.
Their debut album, recorded on their very first meeting, won a Juno for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Their follow-up repeated the achievement, and the band went on to earn three more Juno nominations for Metalwood 3, the Recline, and Chronic. Tarry, meanwhile, was also releasing solo albums, earning a Juno nomination, a Western Canadian Music Award and a Canadian Independent Music Award for his 2001 album Of Battles Unknown Mysteries.
Tarry moved to New York City in 2003 and has since worked with John Scofield, George Benson, Paul Shaffer, Sam Yahel, and prodigious singer Theo Bleckmann, among others. He has appeared on over 100 albums and has become one of the jazz world’s most sought-after electric bass players.
Now, with Rest of the Story, Tarry has created a CD package that is sure to become one of the jazz world’s most sought-after albums.