Review | Gilmore Piano Festival Strides Ahead

Excerpts from review by John Ephland for Downbeat.com


The in-person interfacing of jazz and classical music was back on display for the first time in four years. With streaming options available, hearty customers and lovers of live music came out in droves to enjoy the Irving S. Gilmore Piano Festival (formally known as the Gilmore Keyboard Festival), an all-indoor rite of spring that southwest Michigan has been enjoying in various locales every other year since the late ’80s. This year’s event took place in Kalamazoo, with 28 local venues getting in on the action.

Photo by Gabe Palacio

....more off-kilter shows came from Sandbox Percussion with pianist Conor Hanick.


A major highlight was a riveting, stop-the-clocks Gilmore-commissioned performance of a work by Tyshawn Sorey. It was a stunning display of discipline, memory, coordination, use of space and piano as percussion instrument, offering offsetting vibes, gongs and water-glass/tape loop “bells,” all of it synchronized.


Dan Tepfer’s trio was impressive in its contrasting program of all arranged music. Bypassing the mix of variable songs, his trio with bassist Shawn Conley and drummer Jochen Rueckert performed a suite based on Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, written in 1920 as a neoclassical ballet. Indeed, jazz met classical in its most complete form here. Rueckert’s use of mallets, sticks and brushes were a standout.


Click here to read the review in full.