Hutchinson Andrew Trio
Like the vast prairie landscape that inspires it, the uniquely western Canadian jazz of the Hutchinson Andrew Trio unfolds to reveal rich textures, beauty, power and drama. Open yourself to it, and you’ll be rewarded.
The group’s sound has evolved to a new level with its fourth album, Hollow Trees — a collection that incorporates elements of classical composition and performance to create music of unprecedented depth, scope and detail.
Formed in 2005 by bassist Kodi Hutchinson and pianist-composer Chris Andrew, the trio — which includes drummer Karl Schwonik — is a prominent force on the Canadian and North American jazz scene, earning numerous award nominations and winning the prestigious TD Grand Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
In addition, the group has toured tirelessly, playing venues large and small, often providing an introduction the joy of live jazz for music lovers young and old.
While the Hutchinson Andrew Trio’s first two albums, Lost But Not Forgotten (2005) and Music Box (2008) garnered acclaim, the group’s third release, 2013’s Prairie Modern, was a landmark. It was named an Editor’s Pick in November 2013 by jazz bible Down Beat magazine, which called the album “a terrific listen, with great musicianship throughout,” going on to laud the trio’s “distinct musical vision from one of the many great music scenes in Canada.”
Prairie Modern notably featured New York saxophonist Donny McCaslin on six of its 13 tracks. McCaslin is a three-time Grammy nominee whose most recent work can be heard on Blackstar, the final release by the late icon David Bowie.
Meanwhile in 2013, the Hutchinson Andrew Trio — or HAT — began working with the Lily String Quartet, an accomplished Canadian chamber music ensemble made up of Andrea Case, Patricia Higgins, Diane Lane and Elisa Milner. The groups played together using the name 'HAT Lily' to encompass the unique group they were becoming. The partnership comes into full bloom on Hollow Trees, as the album was written by pianist Andrew entirely for a seven-piece group.
“This is very much not an album of ‘jazz trio plus string quartet,” Hutchinson says. “It has an integrated ensemble feel. Chris really delved into the classical world to write this.”
Indeed, elements of classical music are woven seamlessly into the tracks, with mood-setting introductions unfolding into mood-altering journeys. The elements of jazz — the interplay of musical personalities, improvised solos, rhythmic intensity — are all here. Wrapped in the emotional power of classical melodies and arrangements that showcase piano and strings, the pieces will take your ears, and your mind, to a new place entirely.
“In this era of a la carte music purchasing, we’re asking a bit more from the listener,” Hutchinson says. “This album is a story. We’re hoping people will take the time to listen."
- Chris Andrew, from Edmonton, is a CBC Galaxie Rising Star award winner and music educator whose playing chops are rivaled only by his composing and arranging skills. Based in Edmonton, AB
- Kodi Hutchinson is one of Western Canada’s most versatile and in-demand musicians. His approach to double bass in the context of HAT is locked tight to Schwonik’s athletic percussion while providing a melodic foil to Andrew’s agile piano. Based in Calgary, AB
- Karl Schwonik was raised on a farm near Gwynne in central Alberta. A winner of multiple awards who has performed across North America, he bring to the drum kit a rare combination of power, energy, sophistication and sensitivity. Based in Los Angeles, CA
What people are saying:
4 of 5 Stars for Hollow Trees "Borderlines between the trio and the quartet often fade completely in a genre-crossing dynamic that pushes and pulls the listener with an elegant range of moods, from prairie pastorale to more exotic wind-swept musical horizons." Roger Levesque - Edmonton Journal
"Prairie Modern is a terrific listen, with great musicianship throughout…The Hutchinson Andrew Trio offers a distinct musical vision from one of the many great music scenes in Canada.” Frank Alkyer – Downbeat Magazine
"[Prairie Modern] transfixes. Surpassing beauty. Absolutely absorbing. Makes me sit still and just listen." Lark Clark, Host – Ballads & Blue Notes – CKUA Radio
"...they're riding the leading edge of Canadian jazz ensembles, and on par with the best from around the world in playing chops, tight intuitive ensemble and memorable tunes." Lyle Rebbeck - Medicine Hat Jazz Festival
"The Hutchinson Andrew Trio [engages] in a freewheeling, expansive, and spirited musical dialogue. Their latest document, Prairie Modern, raises the stakes considerably and the results richly reward those who take the time to eavesdrop." David Ward, Former Producer – Tonic - CBC Radio 1
"Thought provoking and evocative, Hutchinson Andrew Trio's latest [Prairie Modern] grips and doesn't let go." Pierre-Jean Lavigne – Galaxie Digital Radio, Producer – Jazz Stations
"As cohesive a unit as you'll find on Prairie Modern. A remarkable journey through a very thoughtful all original set of music. Congrats on a stellar release!" Cory Weeds - Cellar Café & Cellar Live Records
"This is jazz that evokes wide-open spaces and a gentle but vital energy, created with a smart, contemporary approach... Prairie Modern is a transcendent tribute to one's origins from exceptional players." Roger Levesque - Edmonton Journal
"There has been lots of hum after your show…all positive. I think my favorite story so far is about a gentleman who said he wasn’t [initially] a jazz fan but bought your CD because he thought you guys are 'rising stars'. You were the highlight of our season."
Dianne Irvine – Presenter - Sundre Arts Centre, AB