2010 WIJBF Performer Profile: Griffith Hiltz TrioMay 27, 2010
Friday July 16, @ Yellow Belly Brewery and Public House, 9:30-11:00pm
It all started with some bass pedals…. Before it was The Griffith Hiltz Trio it was just Johnny Griffith and Nathan Hiltz – longtime friends, occasional collaborators, and musical kindred spirits with a weekly jam session. They’d get together, play through some tunes, and talk about the music they loved, 60s Blue Note artists like Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, and Herbie Hancock. One week though, Johnny mentioned some bass pedals he had gathering dust in the basement, vestiges of Johnny’s teenage experiments with electric guitars. Nathan had been working with a lot of organ players and was curious about the effects of using the vintage technology to replicate the organ’s place in a trio. So Johnny dusted off his pedals, plugged them in, and the result surpassed everyone’s expectations; it sounded amazing. They started writing immediately and The Griffith Hiltz Trio was born.
They incorporate not only the influence of those Blue Note legends of the 60s, but Celtic, Norse and Eastern motifs also, creating a melodic jazz sound that is at once familiar and exotic. On their debut CD “Now and Then” the Griffith-Hiltz Trio take multi-tasking to the extreme. Each member masterfully contributes to the groove on more than one instrument resulting in a beautifully layered tapestry that makes this trio sound larger than it really is. Nathan Hiltz, the most promising Canadian guitarist of his generation, soft-shoes his way over an array of bass pedals with the deftness of Gene Kelly. The spirit of Rashaan Roland Kirk is channeled through the daring multi-reed explorer Johnny Griffith. Ever tasteful and precise, the supportive Sly Juhas seems incapable of playing anything that isn’t right on the money. Add Don Thompson, and you have one of the most compelling and original Canadian jazz albums in recent memory.