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Pianos Aplenty 

Innovation Project kicks off the Riverhouse Jazz shows this week, offering a packed schedule of keys-heavy performances

Laz Glickman

Laz Glickman found his love for jazz at a young age. The 17-year-old pianist's father, Marshall Glickman, is the executive producer of the Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz series.

"My dad brought me into a jazz club in Boston when I was about five," Glickman says. "It turned out the guy playing in there was Al Foster, who is a famous drummer. He used to play with Miles Davis. He came up to me at the set break and I told him that I wanted to play drums like him, but he said to play piano first."

From there, the younger Glickman's love of jazz began. While he's dabbled in other instruments, he found his passion in the piano. He owns a drum kit for rehearsals and will play at home sometimes, but considers himself a keys player.

"You have so much more freedom than any other instrument because you can play chords, single note lines, all of the possibilities," Glickman says. "Everything is right in front of you, every possible note, it's all laid out right in front of you, you're staring at it the whole time."

The Innovation Project, which performs the Thursday before the next Riverhouse Jazz series with Darrell Grant and David Goldblatt, formed during Mel Brown's jazz workshop at Western Oregon University. Glickman met drummer Domo Branch in the seventh grade and they started playing together.

"He kept telling me about his friend, Finn. I was living in Bend at the time and they were in Portland," Glickman says. "Finn went to the camp the next year and at that point I knew I was moving to Portland that summer. We've just been playing together, playing gigs around town ever since. I know them as musicians more than anyone else. We're also in a septet together that will be opening for David Goldblatt. We've played together so much that I almost know what's going to happen before it happens."

Next year, Glickman plans to attend the University of Oregon and double major in music and business.

To other young musicians pursing jazz, Glickman advises, "The most important thing is listening to the music, listening to all sorts of music. Listening to who you like and the greats." Glickman adds: "Try to emulate them and also try to be yourself. I think that you can learn just as much, if not more, from just listening to music than sitting down and playing and practicing. Expose yourself to a wide variety of people and musicians. Even within jazz there are so many different types of music and styles. You can spend days just going through all the different types of jazz."

David Goldblatt & Darrell Grant

click to enlarge Darrell Grant - SUBMITTED.
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  • Darrell Grant

Jazz pianist David Goldblatt co-headlines the Riverhouse Jazz series Dec. 22 and 23 alongside jazz pianist Darrell Grant. While they may both be jazz pianists, don't expect to hear back-to-back mirrored performances.

"I think what Darrell does and what I do are so different that it's going to sound like two different bands," Goldblatt says of the unique format. "The way I feature the guys and the way he does will be different. Also, hearing how we play piano may be complementary, but I don't think there's going to be this risk of having it sound the same at all."

Goldblatt has had a rich career in the music industry in a variety of roles. In addition to playing the jazz piano, Goldblatt has worked in the film and television industry, composing and arranging music.

"I love it because of the stories; I've always been attracted to that aspect. Jazz and improvisation, people telling stories through their instruments," Goldblatt says of composing for the screen. "As I got into composing over the years and specifically for pictures and media, combining improvisation with skill and coming up with something that amplifies what's going on in the storyline is something I fell in love with."

Since moving from Los Angeles to Portland, Goldblatt continues to pursue jazz and further his skills in improvisation. He performs both solo and with a band.

"I like the interaction and intercommunication with playing with musicians," Goldblatt says. "In the moment kind of risk-taking that happens. The spontaneous response to those risks is fantastic fun. When I play solo, I can go anywhere and do anything. I like the challenge of being a solo pianist."

About The Author

Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly
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