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The North Performs January 17 at Orvis Auditorium

The North Slow DownNamed after Oahu’s North Shore, Jazz Group The North will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17 at Orvis Auditorium and all are invited. The North features Hawaii grown Bassist Shawn Conley and drummer Abe Lagrimas, Jr. with their friend pianist Romain Collin.

Tickets are available that night at the event and are $12 general admission, $10 students and seniors and $5 for UH music majors. Meet Collins, Conley and Lagrimas at 6:30 at a pre-concert reception, where their debut album can be purchased.

The concert will feature songs from their debut album and they will preview songs from the album they plan to record during this Hawaii visit.

“Slow Down (This Isn’t the Mainland)” will be released on April 15, 2014 on Dowsett Records. As Conley states, “The North is a band, not just a piano trio. And our love of music from a wide variety of genres binds us. We are trying to make music that’s as engaging and fun to listen to as it is for us to create.”

In many ways, Hawaii itself willed both the group and the album into being. Conley and Lagrimas Jr., longtime friends and Hawaii natives, met the France-born Collin on the mainland, where each was establishing a growing reputation as a resourceful instrumentalist. The pull of the islands was strong though, and the three friends, who were only playing together informally at the time, were invited to visit Hawaii for a 10-day series of public performances. The effect was as immediate as it was unexpected. “The chemistry between the three of us was striking,” says Collin, “and the audience felt it. By the time the tour was over, investors who heard us live and were moved by the music arranged for us to return the next year to play more shows and make an album. It was as much the overwhelming reaction of those who heard us play as it was our own musical empathy that made the band happen.” The North was born.


Every member of The North is classically trained, and has amassed impressive credits. Raised in Kaneohe and Nuuanu, bassist Conley won a position with the Honolulu Symphony while still in high school (Punahou). The winner of a Wagoner fellowship, he studied with the renewed bassist Francois Rabboth in Paris. Conley, who has since settled in Brooklyn, New York, has worked with many prestigious jazz and classical artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Arturo O’Farrill, Mark Turner, and James Carter, as well as the notable chamber ensembles, The Knights and Brooklyn Rider.  He can also be heard on numerous soundtracks including “Moonrise Kingdom,”  “True Grit,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

Raised in Hawaii, drummer Lagrimas Jr. participated in celebrated music programs including Betty Carter’s Jazz Residency in Washington D.C., where he made his debut performance at the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts. He later attended the Berklee College of Music. In addition to The North, he is also a member of the popular South Korean jazz group, Prelude, and has collaborated with a host of other musical artists including Eric Marienthal, Eric Reed, Bill Mays and Lalo Schifrin. Lagrimas Jr.is also a skilled vibraphonist and ukulele player with five solo albums and is an active educator with noted musical instruction books to his name. He now lives in Los Angeles.

The NorthPianist Collin, whom Jon Weber, the host of NPR’s Piano Jazz, calls, “A visionary composer, an extraordinary jazz pianist and a very bright young rising star in the jazz world,” attended the Berklee School of Music and later graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute (where he held a full scholarship) in 2007. He has appeared with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, and Terence Blanchard, among others, and has recorded two albums as a leader, The Rise and Fall of Pipokuhn and the 2012 release, The Calling, of which All About Jazz said, “compositional flair and technique all seduce, but are trumped by the emotional strength in Collin’s writing and playing.”  Tom Conrad wrote in the New York City Jazz Record: “Collin is different.  He is not interested in showing off his chops, but rather in telling stories, portraying moods and developing a disciplined, personal ensemble concept.” And Patrick Jarenwattananon wrote on NPR’s A Blog Supreme that Collin is an artist with “a highly personal, contemporary vision.”

Slow Down (This Isn’t The Mainland) came to fruition during a three-week Hawaiian visit in 2012 when the band worked on the album’s repertoire and prepared to record. They tracked in the sonically accommodating living room of the house that had been made available for the trio in order to perfect their ensemble sound away from urban distractions. Joined for little over a week by the celebrated engineer Jeremy Loucas, The North cut the recording live with a minimum of takes. As Conley reminisces in the album’s notes: “In a world where albums are often recorded in a couple of hectic studio days, three weeks devoted to this creative collaboration among friends was the ultimate dream.”

The bulk of the compositions on Slow Down (This Isn’t The Mainland) are by Collin and Conley, sturdy pieces that balance accessibility and invention. “We all listen to so many types of music,” Conley says, “and we want all of our influences to come out in our collective sound. But what is most important to us as a group is melody.” This adoration for clearly stated, embracing compositional form defines such persuasive performances as the undulating “Great Ocean Road,” the Iberian-tinged “Yann’s Flight” and the minimalist ballad, “Northern Dreams.” Interspersed among the originals are inspired group interpretations of Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty,” Thelonious Monk’s classic, “Light Blue,” the singer-songwriter Christina Courtin’s “Join Us Jackson” and Bob Dylan’s anthemic “Blowin’ In the Wind,” each ingeniously reworked to capture both the singular flavor of the composition and the imaginative nature of the group. Instrumental prowess, while seamlessly interwoven into each piece, is never obscured. Collin’s fluidity, Conley’s supportive lines and impressive solo work and Lagrimas Jr.’s perfectly calibrated percussion skills lend the recording a vivacity that compliments its sparkling sheen.

For more information on The North, visit www.thenorthtrio.com







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