[JPL] A Prize For Roger Kellaway

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Fri Dec 28 07:55:49 EST 2007

Doug Ramsey

December 28, 2007

A Prize For Roger Kellaway

The French Jazz Academy has awarded pianist Roger Kellaway its Le Prix Du
Jazz Classique for his 2007 CD Heroes.The album is by Kellaway's trio with
guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Dan Lutz. Nat Cole had such a drummerless
trio and inspired Art Tatum to use the same instrumentation. Oscar Peterson,
who adored Cole and Tatum, had a similar group from 1950 to 1958, with Ray
Brown on bass, and guitarist Irving Ashby followed by Barney Kessel and then
Herb Ellis. Although he is one of the great individualists among modern jazz
pianists, Kellaway keeps the Cole-Tatum-Peterson tradition alive through the
repertoire on Heroes. Peterson was one of Kellaway's major influences before
Kellaway became a success on the New York scene at the age of twenty-two.
They remained close musically and as friends. When I talked with Kellaway a
couple of hours ago, he said, "Losing Oscar and getting this award in such
close proximity makes me wonder if there's something going on--something
He said that he will go to Paris to receive the award January 7 in a
ceremony at the Châtelet Theater. The French Jazz Academy Awards is the
oldest and most serious music awards ceremony in France. Created in 1955, it
is like the Grammy Awards with class. The voters are 60 independent
journalists, photographers, writers and radio and TV producers. Kellaway was
not nominated for a 2008 Grammy. Roger told me that while he's in Paris, he
hopes to meet with Madame Eglal Farhi, the celebrated proprietor of the New
Morning club in the Tenth Arrondissement. In France, New Morning is to
modern mainstream jazz what the Blue Note was in the 1960s. It would seem a
perfect fit for Kellaway. 

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