Firehouse 12 To Present Whirrr! The Music Of Jimmy Giuffre October 23rd

Photo by Dick Katz

Photo by Dick Katz

On Friday, October 23rd, drummer George Schuller and guitarist Joel Harrison will pay tribute to legendary clarinetist/composer Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) with their new sextet, Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre, as part of Firehouse 12‘s ongoing Fall Jazz Series. This two-set performance, also featuring multi-reedists Ohad Talmor and Billy Drewes, bassist Cameron Brown (a former Giuffre sideman) and trombonist/accordionist Jacob Garchik, will focus on flexible new arrangements of the innovative trio music Giuffre recorded between the mid-1950’s and mid-1970’s. These rarely heard gems, some of which have not been performed in more than 40 years, include such Giuffre originals as “Whirrr”, “Phoenix” and “Scootin’ About”, as well as Carla Bley’s “Jesus Maria”.

Schuller and Harrison founded the group shortly after Giuffre’s death in late 2008. Each is a longtime fan—Schuller performed with him while studying at New England Conservatory in the early 1980’s and Harrison had an earlier tribute band in the 1990’s. Most recently, Schuller served as co-producer of the documentary film Music Inn, which recounts the days of the historic Lenox School of Jazz, an influential time in jazz history where Giuffre, among many other legendary figures, taught jazz in an organized setting and first heard a young Ornette Coleman. Along with Talmor, who was invited into the ensemble for both his musical and arranging skills, these veteran musicians create fresh new arrangements of music from the classic Giuffre canon that feature the sextet both in its entirety and divided into smaller units.

Best known early on for penning the 1947 Woody Herman hit “Four Brothers”, and a noteworthy performance of his most popular composition, “The Train and the River”, in the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival documentary, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Giuffre would continue to evolve throughout his long career, influencing generations of jazz musicians as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and educator. His work with such prominent collaborators as Paul Bley, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim Hall and Steve Swallow was ahead of its time, defining the term chamber jazz and offering musicians new directions they are still exploring today. “Giuffre could sound almost artlessly simple at times,” wrote John Fordham in his obituary for The Guardian, “but this represented a paring down of jazzmaking to its essentials. He was the most reticent of jazz radicals, but his modesty disguised a visionary innovator.” Learn more at

2009 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/18 :: Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty
09/25 :: Matt Wilson Quartet
10/02 :: Mauger: Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway
10/09 :: Steve Lehman Trio
10/16 :: Gretchen Parlato Band
10/23 :: Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre
10/30 :: Taylor Eigsti Trio
11/06 :: ODE: Larry Ochs/Trevor Dunn/Lisle Ellis/Michael Sarin
11/13 :: The Peter Evans Quartet
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio
12/04 :: Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/11 :: Amy Cervini Quartet
12/18 :: Daniel Levin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:


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