Griffith Hiltz Trio unveils a new energy on album

Griffith Hiltz Trio returns to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery Feb. 9.at 7 p.m. - Photo contributed
Griffith Hiltz Trio returns to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery Feb. 9.at 7 p.m.
— image credit: Photo contributed

The Toronto-based Griffith Hiltz Trio will return to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery On Thursday,  Feb. 9 as part of a three-week tour to the Yukon and British Columbia.

The trio is travelling across the country to present new material that will make up their sophomore album.

Yet untitled, the new album is set for a spring release and will be produced by Juno award-winning rocker, Hawksley Workman.

The Griffith Hiltz Trio is Nathan Hiltz (Juno award winner, 2008) playing guitar and bass pedals, Johnny Griffith (Juno nominee, 2006) playing saxophones and bass clarinet,  and Sly Juhas (Juno award winner, 2008) on drums.

The new material will showcase a wiser, older, and even more fiery GHT formed from touring across the country, weekly writing and rehearsing, and huge personal changes in their lives since the groups inception.

The first record was, in many ways, an experiment; Nathan Hiltz had just taken on the added discipline of the bass pedals, and Johnny Griffith bought his first bass-clarinet and began experimenting with playing two horns simultaneously.

Since then, the trio have had the opportunity to explore diverse musical situations. Hiltz travelled to Los Angeles to work with star pop record producer Bill Bell (Tom Cochrane, Jason Mraz), Sly Juhas has been playing drums for acclaimed songwriter David Baxter (Degrassi TV Series, Joshua Cockerill) and Griffith has been working again with Juno award-winners the Pocket Dwellers.

This tour will mark their second West Coast visit in as many years. Their last tour west sparked a musical exploration and was the inspiration of their new compositions. One artist in particular, Hawksley Workman, became a favourite during the long drives across the country. According to Johnny Griffith, “It became apparent to us that working with Hawksley would allow us to learn a great deal and that we would benefit greatly from not only his experience as a producer and musician but also from working with a musician, from such a drastically different genre.”

Workman is renowned for reinventing his sound on each new record. With Workman’s influence the trio are exploring a grittier sound.  On their debut album, produced by jazz-great Don Thompson, the trio achieved a more modern polished sound. Now they are going for pure energy. They will record everything live off the floor to analog tape at Workman’s studio in northern Ontario.

“Our goal is to explore darker textures, to expose the beauty of what is thought to be ugly and, most importantly, to create a sound you can taste,” says Johnny.

With that as an approach, the audiences of British Columbia and the Yukon are in for a musical treat as these master multi-instrumentalists share their melodious delights.

Gallery Jazz co-ordinator Sandy Cameron says the popular Thursday night events are a credit to many volunteers, including  Delores Mori.

“Delores Mori has been part of the Gallery Jazz since its’ inception, overseeing pretty much everything,” he says.

Other volunteers include Gary and Jo-Ann Lomax, Joosie Albricht and Eric Kutchker.

“This work is done with remarkable dedication and deserves special mention,” says Cameron, noting the Prestige Harbourfront Resort is providing rooms for out-of-town musicians, who come to play at Gallery Jazz. Cameron is also grateful for “considerable donations” provided by anonymous donors, local business and grants from  the Salmar Community Association.



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