Over time, there have been a number of jazz virtuosos, joining as partners in time to perform some magical piano duo performances. Brought to mind are Oscar Peterson and Count Basie, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones, Marian McPartland and George Shearing (and everyone else), and Bill Charlap and Renee Rosness. These piano playing duos, have thrilled audiences beyond measure. SJC has jumped on the bandwagon, and on March 23, 2020, presents another famous duo, Joe Gilman, and Randy Porter showcasing Gilman and Porter play 176 Keys with rhythm. Don’t miss it.
Gilman began studying piano at the age of seven and later earned degrees in piano performance and jazz studies at Indiana University, a master’s degree in jazz and the contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music, and a doctorate in education from the University of Sarasota. He studied with Yuriy Oliynyk, Jerry Murphy, Frank Wasko, David Baker, James Tocco, Karen Shaw, Bill Dobbins, and Rayburn Wright.
In 1992 he began directing the music theory and jazz studies programs at American River College,, and released the album Treasure Chest, with Joe Henderson, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Robert Hurst.
In 1997, Joe founded the original Capital Jazz Project, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization that features thematic jazz presentations. In 1998 and 2000, Gilman toured twelve countries on the African continent as a part of the Kennedy Center/USIA Jazz Ambassador program. The tour included regular performances with jazz guitarist Steve Homan to foreign dignitaries and resident audiences, performing with local musicians, and offering lectures and clinics to aspiring jazz performers.
From 1997 to 2004, he was a regular finalist in The Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the grand prize winner in 2004, and also began a series of albums for Sunnyside Records and Capri Records featuring interpretations of the music of Dave Brubeck and Stevie Wonder. His later recordings presented musical interpretations of Contemporary American painters (Americanvas) and the sketches of M.C. Escher (Relativity).
From 2005–2012, Gilman was the music director of the Brubeck Institute in Stockton, California, and artist in residence from 2012–2014.
In 2006, he became a regular accompanist to jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and has since toured the Blue Note jazz clubs in Japan, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and Birdland in New York, Jazz Alley and The Triple Door in Seattle, Yoshi’s in Oakland and San Francisco, the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and jazz festivals such as Estoria (Portugal) Pescara and Umbria (Italy), Jazz Baltica (Germany), Sedona (Arizona), and Boston.
Randy Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and spontaneous communication between musicians. As a Steinway Artist, Randy draws from a rich palette of sonorities found within his imagination and the depths of the piano. Lynn Darroch of The Oregonian states, “Porter has built a reputation as a musician’s musician, a knowledgeable, inventive, and sophisticated player with a remarkable sense of time and gorgeous keyboard facility…”
Nominated for the 60th Grammy Awards, Randy’s release, Porter Plays Porter is a mix of swing, harmony and lyrical adventure. In the spirit of Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, tunes featuring Nancy King are interspersed with instrumental tracks featuring the Randy Porter Trio. John Wiitala on bass and Todd Strait on drums bring their wonderful swing skill set and intuition to Randy’s arrangements of Cole Porter tunes Randy’s original song, Inside Your Mind, adds to the album’s poignancy.
Randy Porter has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Charles McPherson. With the Charles McPherson Quartet, he has traveled throughout the US and in Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and China. The Charles McPherson Quartet has re-created the music from the classic recording Charlie Parker with Strings, performing with many orchestras nationwide. Porter has also performed McPherson’s Sweet Synergy Suite with the San Diego Ballet.
Randy Porter has toured Europe with bassist David Friesen and has performed on several recordings with Friesen. Porter considers Midnight Mood: Live in Stockholm to be one of their strongest albums. Porter has also recorded, performed, and toured worldwide with singer Gino Vannelli; Porter’s pianistic contributions can be heard on Vannelli’s CDs, Yonder Tree, Slow Love and Canto.
Musical highlights include performing at Kimball’s with Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan, Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center with Diane Schuur, Seattle’s Jazz Alley with New York Voices, concerts at Yoshi’s in San Francisco with Madeline Eastman, Karrin Allyson and Rebecca Kilgore, The House of Blues in Chicago and BB King’s Blues Club in NYC with Gino Vannelli, the Monterey Jazz Festival with Madeline Eastman, the Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals with Charles McPherson, and the Portland and Montavilla Jazz Festivals with Nancy King.