Notes from the Wreckhouse Day 1

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A hot night was tempered by cool jazz with the opening acts of the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival in St. John's Tuesday night. The two acts both appeared at the Majestic Theatre.

The night opened with Jeff Dyer and the Bill Brennan Quintet at 8 p.m. Dyer and Brennan have been solidifying their work in Newfoundland since 2002, when Brennan moved to the island. They have since produced an album with a mix of originals, jazz standards and Brazilian bossa nova: "After Hours."

The highlight of the Tuesday night, however, was the appearance of the visiting Terry Clarke Trio - led by jazz drummer Terry Clarke, who was in St. John's in April to accept a Juno Award for his solo-lead project "It's About Time."

He partners with Don Thompson (upright bass) and Phil Dwyer (tenor saxophone) to complete the Terry Clarke Trio.

Clarke sat at the drum set on the Majestic Theatre stage and began playing without saying a word to the audience. After a few minutes of drumming, Thompson and Dwyer were out at their instruments and joined in.

Following a series of tunes, there was a pause. Clarke said the songs had been "Days Gone By" after "Village Green" and "before that I was practicing the drums," he said. It earned him a laugh from the crowd.

The appearance at the Wreckhouse festival marked the close of a 12-city tour for the trio, including a stop in 40-degree heat (it was noted video of the performance is available on YouTube) at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. It was at that festival, last Tuesday, that Thompson was presented with the Oscar Peterson Award for 2010.

The trio did not disappoint. The crowd applauded in appreciation during the offered pieces, as emphasis fell to one instrument and another for skilled solo runs.

The trio added a performance of "Freedom Suite" in tribute to Sonny Rollins. With the collective request for "more music" by their audience as they were about to pack it in, the trio kicked in an extra piece to close: "Ask Me Now" by Thelonius Monk.

The Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival continues today with events at the Murray Premises Courtyard, the Martini Bar, the Masonic Temple, Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House, the Fat Cat Blues Bar and Duck Ultralounge. For a complete schedule of artists, see

Organizations: Majestic Theatre, It's About Time, Fat Cat

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland, Village Green Montreal

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