Jazzin’ it up in the name of Jesus
AVON — There’s this song lyric that asks the question, “Why should the Devil have all the good music?”
The Devil does not.
The Bob Ravenscroft Trio (Bob Ravenscroft, Dwight Kilian and Rob Moore) play Tuesday night at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon. Admission is free.
Ravenscroft not only plays piano better than almost anyone you know personally, he builds some of the world’s best pianos, Ravenscroft Concert Grand Pianos.
“I play one and it’s a fine instrument. Of course I’m biased,” he said smiling.
Then there’s Music Serving the Word Ministries that he established. They’re not a church or a church organization, but they serve the church. He does a devotional every morning at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church. He reads from four texts and does some music.
“God is very much a part of what we do and why we’re doing it,” Ravenscroft said. “Much of what we do comes from the Holy Spirit. That makes it richer and deeper, and hopefully raises the bar from the usual stuff people hear.”
A Decade Together
The Bob Ravenscroft Trio takes that a step further, exploring just how vital improvisational music can be to the spiritual experience. The trio has been together 10 years, so they sound like only longtime friends and partners can. The trio is bassist Dwight Kilian, percussionist Rob Moore and Ravenscroft.
“We’ve played together so much, and we think so much alike that’s it’s second nature to us,” Ravenscroft said.
They will do improvisational music including jazz standards, free-form composition, solos by each performer and musical interpretations of song lyrics and sacred readings. Tuesday’s concert will include a lot of material people recognize.
“Much of what I do is with the trio encompasses acoustic and drummer,” Ravenscroft said.
There’ll be some Bill Evans music on the program — one Ravenscroft’s big influences — and there’s some free form.
“That’s fun because you never know what will happen. It’s like life,” Ravenscroft said.
There’s a solo spot for each player, because they’re all that good. Ravenscroft is a poet, so there’ll be some of that, and they’ll interpret his lyrics from “Here’s That Rainy Day.”
“The unexpected occasionally happens. It’s not all sunny,” Ravenscroft said
On Ravenscroft’s Ravenswave Recordings label there are three new CDs that bridge the jazz and Christian experiences: “Fire in the Soul,” “Peace Within” and “Jazz Vespers.”
His solo playing reaches into the unknown, which is fitting because his new album is “Into the Unknown, Not Alone.”
Expanding the mission and scope of Music Serving the Word Ministries is Music Director Dwight Kilian. A gifted musician, Kilian also enjoys a growing reputation as one of the Southwest’s finest jazz bassists. His 20-year teaching experience includes jazz bass instruction and clinician work with Arizona State University, Glendale Community College, Kansas Touring Arts, Arizona All State High School Jazz and many music camps throughout the country.
Kilian was a co-founder of the Jazz for the Soul concert series at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church. He has played with a who’s who of famed musicians, including Art Lande, Mark Murphy, Herbie Mann and Mose Allison.
Rob Moore brings an innovative, fresh approach to percussion, drawing from a musical depth that includes playing keyboards, guitar and reeds, and singing in vocal ensembles. His career began as the drummer for Young Sounds (an all-city jazz band featuring Arizona’s brightest high school talent) and continued with a summer scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Jazzbird scholarship at Arizona State University. He counts jazz educator Chuck Marohnic and renowned percussionist Dom Moio among his mentors and lists working with legends Gunther Schuller and Doc Severinson among his credits.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.