SongVault Artist Profile
Geoff Lapp Trio
'The Geoff Lapp Trio'..has been a cornerstone of the Montreal jazz scene since 1999. Extended gigs at many of the town's premiere night spots have established the group as a hot draw for aficionados in search of that heady space where soulful and cerebral fuse. Drawing upon a wide palette of jazz moods, 'The Geoff Lapp Trio' delivers a sound that is tasteful, innovative, and infectiously swinging
Born in Montreal in 1953, Geoff Lapp was trained in the classical tradition and studied at McGill University under widely respected jazz pianist Art Maiste. During the early years of his career, he gained experience in the pop music world touring with the likes of Michel Pagliaro. From the early '80s onwards, he devoted himself fully to the jazz idiom. As one of Canada’s most accomplished pianists/composers, Geoff Lapp became a sought-after accompanist for a host of top Canadian performers.
In addition to his own trio work, Geoff has performed and/or recorded with renowned jazzmen such as Paquito d’Rivera, Don Menza, Richie Cole, Bob Mover, Sonny Fortune, and Slide Hampton, among others. He has also performed extensively in festivals and clubs worldwide. At home in Quebec, he is a mainstay on the vibrant jazz scene, and has performed with a panoply of local luminaries.
Drummer David Laing was born in Kitchener Ontario and grew up in a musical family. He was introduced to jazz music by his father and older brother. Dave studied at McGill University in Montreal and began his professional career shortly thereafter. In the past fifteen years he has recorded, toured, and performed with such national and international stars as Jimmy Heath, Junior Cook, Ed Bickert, Denzal Sinclaire, Ben Monder, and Ranee Lee. He currently resides in Montreal where he also teaches at McGill University.
Bass Player Paul Johnston moved to Montreal from Ottawa in 1990 to study jazz bass at McGill University. Before completing his studies he began working at clubs and festivals as well as on radio and television in Montreal, Toronto, Quebec, Ottawa, Kingston. He was a founding member of the jazz group Panache, with whom he won a Jazz Report award for jazz vocal group of the year in 1996. He returned to McGill to study sound recording in 1999. In 2001 Paul completed the highly regarded M. Mus in sound recording. While remaining on the jazz scene as a bass player, he has branched out as a producer/engineer.
Published in allboutjazz.com By Budd Kopman
Pianist Geoff Lapp and his trio are in high demand in their native Montreal, Canada, and if Stained Glass is any indication of how the group plays live, it is easy to see why.
The reasons given for entitling an album are many times not clear. “Stained Glass” evokes an image a church window, or maybe a Tiffany lamp, and the metaphor could be extended to many small pieces of different colors making up the whole, creating a brilliance that is more than the sum of the parts.
Looking at this fine album in this manner makes a lot of sense on two levels: Lapp's playing individually and the trio's playing as a whole.
Lapp’s clarity of touch and exquisite control of dynamics, combined with his innate sense of when to leave space to breathe, makes his playing conversational and personal. He also has what seems to be an endless well of ideas which, however, are not merely strung together. Rather, he changes octaves, changes densities or changes hands in order to maintain interest.
All this is done effortlessly, with no muss or fuss, but there is an intensity present and no single phrase is a throw-away. The energy always moves forward with a clear dramatic arc. In this regard, the efforts of his band mates—bassist Paul Johnston and drummer Dave Laing—are invaluable.
That any musical group should listen to each other and play as a group, rather than individuals, is a given; but for a piano trio it is imperative. Since the piano is a percussive instrument, care must be taken to keep the bass and drum voices separate but equal.
Laing is a delicate drummer who uses little bass drum, making himself felt with cymbals and snare. Both are played lightly with infinite variation, the cymbals creating a sheen that surrounds the music, while the emphatic tap of the snare provides the pulse. His swing is light, tight and propulsive, energizing the music without being overbearing.
Johnston's melodic bass playing creates synergy as his solid tone pushes the music forward with a forceful grace. The times he follows Lapp's left hand are startling because they are perfectly in time and pitch, serving to highlight the importance of the rest of his work.
Put this all together, and you have a winning combination, epitomized by the beautiful “Sweet Lorraine.” Played with a light and elegant but deep swing, the variations flow for seven minutes, and could easily have gone to fifteen.
These guys are that good.
Published in allmusic.com by Ken Dryden
Geoff Lapp is hardly a newcomer to the jazz scene, but like many Canadian musicians, it adds to the challenge for him to get exposure outside of his homeland. This trio session with bassist Paul Johnston and drummer Dave Laing doesn't fit neatly into any one category. Lapp's arrangement of Earl Zindars' lively "Elsa" builds upon Bill Evans' well-known recordings, recalling the interplay of Evans' trio while adding new facets of his own. "Sweet Lorraine" has been recorded so many times that it is in danger of overexposure, but Lapp's interpretation is playful enough to keep it fresh. The trio is just as skilled with ballads, delivering a touching rendition of Billy Strayhorn's lament "Day Dream" and a surprisingly upbeat take of "The Party's Over." Lapp's originals are just as effective. The funky, hard bop "Zack in the Box" seems like a perfect vehicle for a late night driving scene in a film, while "Yo Bro" utilizes a simple riff as a starting point for a delightful jazz excursion, powered by Laing's on-the-money percussion. This excellent CD is available through Geoff Lapp's website at www.geofflapp.com. Review by Ken Dryden **** Stars
Melodic and swinging jazz piano from an underappreciated talent After toiling away for years on the Montreal jazz scene, pianist Geoff Lapp has only recently begun to receive the wider acclaim he so richly deserves. Lapp doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but his playing combines melodic lyricism and swinging R&B in a fashion that brings to mind hard-bop standard-bearers like Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons and serves as a nice change of pace from the impressionist abstractions currently in vogue among young jazz piano lions (like Brad Mehldau and Bill Charlap). Salon.com JAN 12, 2007