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Event Archive - From New York City: Johnny O'Neal Trio

Fri. November 28th 2014 VSO School of Music (Pyatt Hall) (All Ages)
8:00 PM - 12:00 AM doors at 7:30 PM
Tickets at:
Presented by: Cellar Jazz Society
Johnny O'Neal Trio
Nov 28 and 29, 2014
Pyatt Hall at the VSO School of Music
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC
7:30 Doors 8:00 PM Show
Tickets $30

featuring PAUL SIKIVIE bass, CHARLES GOOLD drums, JOHNNY O’NEAL voice/piano

Johnny O’Neal is one of jazz music’s legendary figures because of his profound musicality and engaging persona. The Detroit-born pianist and vocalist was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, worked with Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Nancy Wilson, and Joe Pass during a regular gig at New York’s Blue Note jazz club in the eighties.

O’Neal’s appearance in the 2004 film “Ray” soared his career to new levels. In the film, Ray Charles played by Jamie Foxx, goes to a nightclub to hear the brilliant pianist Art Tatum played by O’Neal. O’Neal’s stirring rendition of “Yesterdays” was included in the movie.

Over the past few years O’Neal has maintained regular engagements at two of NYC’s best jazz clubs: Smoke and Smalls. O’Neal’s latest album, Live at Smalls, shows why he’s so respected by his peers and jazz fans. On the album’s mix of standards and unexpected gems, while his playing evokes primary influences like Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Bud Powell, he reshapes these influences into his own very swinging and melodic approach. As for his singing style, which has been compared to Joe Williams, O’Neal vocalizes with a soulful authenticity that gives meaning to the lyrics.

For his rare appearance in Vancouver, O’Neal will perform with his regular New York trio, including bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Charles Goold.

Read the recent New York Times feature on O’Neal, in which piano master Barry Harris said: “If ever somebody sounded like Art Tatum, it’s him. He’s got it all.” In the same article, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel said: “My jaw dropped when I heard him play piano — and then my heart dropped when I heard him sing.”


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