Kirk Lightsey Trio

LONDON Live At Zédel
20 Sherwood Street

Pianist Kirk Lightsey’s trio is grooving and soulful, yet lyrical, exploring new voicings and textures. Now 80, he continues to be a fabulous entertainer.

Kirk Lightsey comes from the Detroit school of piano players, including Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris. He had an early residency in Detroit with saxophonist Joe Henderson, and was one of the jazz musicians recruited by Berry Gordy at Motown, playing with James Jamerson and Stevie Wonder. He has accompanied many singers such as Betty Carter and Aretha Franklin, Joe Lee Wilson and Gregory Porter.

At school with Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes, Lightsey grew up listening to Charlie Parker in the bop tradition, simultaneously studying the classical piano works of Debussy and Ravel among many.

Lightsey really came into the spotlight as a soloist with Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt and George Coleman, and he was a highly distinctive voice in the Dexter Gordon Quartet from 1979-83. In the late '80s he joined The Leaders with Arthur Blythe and Lester Bowie.

Lightsey has had a long association with the wonderfully distinctive British drummer Dave Wickins and for many years they have toured in a trio with the celebrated bassist Steve Watts, resulting in the highly acclaimed album 'If You're Not having Fun By Now'. They have developed a great sound which is rooted in the blues and bop tradition but transformed by Lightsey's quest for orchestration at the piano, which he calls "cluster hunting". The music is always grooving and full of soul, yet lyrical. Lightsey constantly explores new voicings and textures. Now in his eightieth year he continues to be a fabulous entertainer.