Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Feb. 21
RIYL: Fattburger, Unido, Spyro Gyro, Equinox, Herbie Hancock, Dave Scott, Storm, ESP Quintet, Alma, Neon, Bill Shreeve
- "Lynn Willard: Talkin' with the Master" · Sept. 12, 2012
- "WorldBeat Center Concert: Turiya Mareya & Friends" · Aug. 12, 2012
Influences: McCoy Tyner, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Fats Waller
Lynn Willard and his jazz piano are well-respected studies in intensity. An original musician and an unapologetic jazz free-thinker, he has a massive and vibrant chord vocabulary, and his solo voice is both fluid and interpretative.
The Iowa transplant has been the keyboardist in many important local jazz outfits over the past 25 years or more, having performed with Gilbert Castellanos in Unido, with Jaime Valle in Equinox, with Dave Scott, Storm with Tommy Aros, and ESP. For six years he played Croce’s in the Gaslamp with Glen Fisher con Alma, a charismatic Latin jazz band that commanded the attention of passersby within earshot on Fifth Avenue.
Not to mention Neon, a dazzling electric jazz group fronted by co-founders Bruce Cameron and Hollis Gentry (of Lights Out programming fave Fattburger).
“Then, I toured with Cameron right after Gentry and Nathan East left the band.”
As of 2012, Willard plays with the Storey/Willard Project. “Jim Storey’s songwriting is like an undiscovered gem,” says Willard. How did the two meet? “He started coming to the gig at the Turquoise [Willard works there with a loose arrangement of jazzers there on Thursday nights in Pacific Beach] and I asked him about doing a one-on-one. He brought some of his original music to the first session, and I said wow.”