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Former San Diego pianist Paul Keeling is in town from his home in Canada, and is slated to perform at 98 Bottles in Little Italy on Jan. 14.

Appearing with Keeling will be Rob Thorsen on double bass and Duncan Moore on the drums.

Keeling grew up in Del Mar, in a musically inclined household. He initially drew inspiration from Peter Sprague, Rob Schneiderman, and Keyvn Lettau, who was also his next door neighbor.

After getting his college degree at UC Berkeley, Keeling was invited to join trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos' first quartet. "Gilbert's music continues to be an influence on me," said the pianist, adding, "he turned me on to a lot of music from the Blue Note [records] era--60s stuff."

He spent four formative years with Castellanos before leaving the country right after Sept. 11, 2001, accompanying his wife who was finishing her education in Scotland--before moving to Vancouver, B.C. and settling into the music community there.

"It's been pretty good there, breaking into the scene, as someone parachuting in from the outside, but I'm getting more integrated into the scene there, leading my own groups and playing in the main jazz rooms. I've also done work in Montreal and Ottawa as well," says Keeling.

The pianist describes his music as having one foot in the classic post-bop era and the other in a more modern aesthetic, reflecting the influence of ECM recording artists like Pat Metheny, Kenny Wheeler and Lyle Mays.

Expect to hear music from both dynamics on the 14th. Keeling promises some swinging material as well as more "straight-eighth" stuff like his interpretation of Metheny's "Bright Size Life", or "Just A Song Before I Go" by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Much of the material will be culled from Keeling's debut CD, The Farthest Reach which has gathered many positive reviews. I've checked some of it out-- he's got a solid, rhythmic drive, and an inherent lyricism that reflects the influences of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrrett.

Thorsen summed it up: "Paul is a really great, creative musician."

Concert will be held in The Back Room of 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner. $ 15 cover, 21 and up only.

Photo courtesy of Paul Keeling

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