Craig Handy Trio at JZ Club
9:30PM 2019.April.17 WED
JZ Club #158 JULU RD. HUANGPU DISTRICT SHANGHAI
Craig Handy Trio
Sax: Craig Handy
Organ: Kyle Koehler
Drums: Guillaume Palomba
Born in Oakland, CA, as a music-hungry youngster, Craig Handy experimented on guitar, trombone, and piano before settling on his first true love, the saxophone. At the age of 11 while listening to the radio, Handy fell under the spell of the transcendent saxophone playing of jazz legend Dexter Gordon. He attended North Texas State University and won the coveted Charlie Parker Scholarship which enabled his early college experience as a psychology major and frontrunner in the school’s exceptional One O’ Clock Jazz Ensemble. His distinctive sound and authentic instrumental prowess were redoubtable traits immediately noticed by artists of stature, especially those committed to nurturing new talent on the bandstand and road. Handy moved to New York in 1986 and began several associations with formidable artists including master drummers Art Blakey and Roy Haynes, South African melodist Abdullah Ibrahim, and the Mingus Dynasty Band.
Eager to begin leading his own bands, by his late 20s Handy was already considered a technical master and prodigious post-bop talent. He also relished musical range by performing with veteran vocalist bandleaders such as the iconic Betty Carter and later the irrepressible Dee Dee Bridgewater. In 1992 he decided to lead his first of two advanced hard bop recordings on Arabesque Records, Split Second Timing. Two years later he followed with Introducing Three For All + One, a highly praised trio recording with bassist Charles Fambrough and drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr. Handy was also a convincing and telegenic actor in Robert Altman’s 1994 film Kansas City, portraying saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Handy toured with Herbie Hancock throughout 1996 to mid-1999, and he led two more recording projects on the Sirroco label – 1999’s Reflections in Change and 2000’s Flow.
In 2014, Handy returns as an original bandleader and party-starter for his new touring and recording project on the venerated OKeh label, a division of Sony Masterworks. Titled Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Handy draws from his fondness for the music of New Orleans, smack attached to the groove-filled re-imaginings of originals and standards by the late, great organist Jimmy Smith. The release includes cameos by Dee Dee Bridgewater and Wynton Marsalis.