Friday, October 14, 2011

Jazz Face: Irv Williams, Still Feisty After All These Years

© Andrea Canter

What will I be doing if and when I get to 92? Surely not playing the saxophone since I never have… But will I be working as I am today? With enough motivation and energy to sustain my activities at an admirable level? Although every year he hints at retirement, and with every CD release (nearly annually) he suggests it will be his last, saxman Irv Williams keeps chugging along. His gigs are fewer, his late nights earlier, but put Irv on stage, give him a chair which he might not use, and he still blows the sweetest sounds with the utmost conviction. His recent guest appearance with vocalist Pippi Ardennia on her PipJazz Sundays concert series was classic Irv. The plan was for him to perform three songs during the first set. He played marvelous versions of “Misty” and “Moon River” with the band, and was to next play a duet with Pippi on “Here’s to Life.” But Pippi was so enthralled with his “Moon River,” she begged him to do it again so she could join in. And then came that stunning duet on “Here’s to Life.” Irv was having too much fun to leave, staying on stage through the first set.

Here’s to Irv, an amazing model for getting the most out of life.

Photo: Irv blowing ever so sweet on "Here's to Life" (photo by Andrea Canter, 10/2/11)