Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot Doing A New Duo Dance

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Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot Doing A New Duo Dance

Blog Name:Jazz 88.3 Blog

Blog Author:Vince Outlaw

Posted on:September 15, 2015

Pianist Geoffrey Keezer and vocalist Gillian Margot are back in San Diego, playing two shows in September and October that promise to take the duo thing they have been working on to new places, literally. The two dropped into the Jazz 88.3 studios to chat with Vince Outlaw on The New Jazz Thing on Monday, September 14, 2015, bringing new, unreleased recordings they made to "give people an idea of what we do sound like when it's just the two of us" and chatting about the upcoming shows ("in the round" at Dizzy's on Thursday, September 17 and at The Glashaus with strings on October 13), how their working relationship has evolved, Gillian's time in Hong Kong before the release of this year's "Black Butterfly", and what else San Diego's own Geoffrey has been up to. 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE for audio of the interview and a full transcript...

Gillian Margot, Geoffrey Keezer, and Jazz 88.3 Host Vince Outlaw After The New Jazz Thing Interview, Monday, September 14, 2015

Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot - The New Jazz Thing Interview

And a couple of pictures...

Vince Outlaw, Gillian Margot, Geoffrey Keezer About To Go Live on The New Jazz Thing

And the full transcript of the interview...

[00:00:00] Vince Outlaw (VO): San Diego Jazz 88.3 "They Say It's Spring". Geoffrey Keezer, Gillian Margot from previously unreleased music as far as I know and I will get the whole scoop on that but joining us here in the studios is Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot. Welcome back to The New Jazz Thing. 

Geoffrey Keezer (GK): Thanks for having me on.

VO: Alright so Geoffrey you get up on your mic just a little bit more and so we make sure that we hear you okay great. As I said welcome back to The New Jazz Thing. First, you are sounding great on this new music, "They Say It's Spring", so is this something that you just recorded? Tell us a little bit about the tune we were just hearing.

Gillian Margot (GM): Well we had to started playing that tune a little bit we started playing these duets together and not that long ago we decided "Gee, we should really record some of the stuff", what a concept, just to give people an idea of what we do sound like when it's just the two of us and we like's bouncy it's always nice in San Diego.

VO: It is Spring time all the time in San Diego. So is this this relationship with you two playing together and doing these duo things is something you been doing now for a while and we're hearing some recorded music. Do you have any plans for putting this out to in any way?

GK: Yeah maybe, I mean like Gillian said, these are just some things that we just did in the studio about a week ago and just kind of for fun and just a sort of just kind of start getting a feel for, you know what it might sound like if we were to record together, so this may turn into a record or may not but for now it is there something on tape.

VO: So tell us a little bit about this tour Geoffrey. You guys are on the West Coast swing you guys are doing some shows here. I had read that this is the California month for you...your are playing all California dates. Tells about what's coming up this Thursday.

GF: Yeah this Thursday, so were at Dizzy's in San Diego which is such a wonderful grassroots venue and we are going to be doing something a little different this time. You normally if people are familiar with the venue the stage is sort of on one end of the of the room. Well, Chuck Perrin suggested that we do it in the round this time. So the piano and the vocals will be sort of right in the middle the room with the audience wrapping around us, so to be really interesting experience for the audience.

VO: I have seen the maybe a couple different setups like that at Dizzy's that are really unique to do that. So Gillian since you guys have been doing this for a while, how has this changed from when you started, other than you know just maybe the obvious things about being more familiar with each other. Is there new material that you guys didn't think that you guys would be doing or something that kind of is different about what you're doing now then when you are with us back in November 2014.

GM: Well, I would say that definitely, we've been starting to venture into some new material. Initially we started getting together it was just…call standards that we know or let's go on repertore that I have recorded on my albums and things that Geoffrey's done on his and recently we just started deciding that we were just going to come up with tunes we really like and sort of arrange on the spot and really you know and play them together and to see what happens and you will hear that for example with "Across the Universe: and then just see you know how it evolves and bring some really cool arrangement ideas into that. So that has been kind of neat because it's a bit more of a collaborative effort than it was, I think, before where we decided "now we've recorded this tune now let's try this and even with the other track "Suddenly I See" is something that Geoffrey recorded on "Heart of the Piano" and I really liked it and so I kind of imposed upon him to let me sing it witha kind of different arrangement of it. I really like.

VO: "Heart of the Piano", Gillian mentioned, that was your, I think it's now two years old, solo piano work, your first solo piano work you had recorded in 14 or 15 had been awhile...and you did that music come live for us here at Jazz Live on our stage here at the Seville Theater which was a fantastic experience. You worked with a lot of vocalists and you have done a lot of work there. Can you tell us can what is different about working with Gillian and the rapport that you guys have together.

[00:04:38] GK: yeah I mean ever everybody's different and certainly I don't put vocalists all in one category you know, every vocalist is as different as any horn know saxophone from a trumpet from a vibraphone or anything else. I've been fortunate to work with a lot of great vocalists, Dianne Reeves and Nancy King, Denise Donatelli, there's just so many, Lisa Fisher, but you know everyone brings something different to the table and Gillian has a really unique quality to her voice, a unique sound and she is also a songwriter and a composer as well so when we improvise things on the spot and kind of create arrangements as we go, you're hearing a very compositional sort of mindset coming from Gillian as well. So that's kinda fun, like you know, that we're kind of composing and arranging in and improvising all kind of wrapped into one.

VO: Well, let's hear a little bit more music but the Gillian tell folks again on where you guys are going to be this Thursday.

GM: Were at Dizzy's Jazz club here in San Diego on Thursday the 17th and I believe our show starts at 8 PM

VO: And where can folks find out more information about this particular show Geoffrey 

GK: Well, I usually go to Google but it's

VO: the site for the venue. And we're going to hear some of the music from the tune "Across the Universe" I think you talked a little bit about it to any thoughts from you Geoffrey?

GF: Yeah, this is a Beatles tune that I've been playing for probably 15 years and we again we kind of worked out our own version of this and that's really just it's pretty. I really I thought a lot about on the Hawaiian guitarist Keola Beamer, another person I love to collaborate with, in the way that he might approach something like this so I'm playing a bit maybe slack-key piano on this, you know.

VO: That will be interesting to hear! We're chatting with the Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot. They're going to be playing at Dizzy's this week here in San Diego. You will be able to find out more about that at and This is the tune "Across the Universe" on The New Jazz Thing, San Diego's Jazz 88.3.

[00:06:51] Tune: "Across The Universe"

[00:10:33] VO: San Diego's Jazz 88.3 and music there from Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot "Across the Universe" is new music they brought to us tonight here on The New Jazz Thing and joining us here live in the studios are Gillian and Geffrey. Welcome back to The New Jazz Thing! So Geoffrey, you have another date coming up here in San Diego in October that we wanted to talk a little bit about. I was really excited to see this venue. I'd not seen any Jazz dates at the the Glashaus here in Barrio Logan, so tell us a little bit about the when and what you be doing.

GK: Yeah, so it's October 13. It will be a duo gig with Gillian Margot and myself and with the addition of a string quartet from the Art of Elan ensemble, which is a wonderful nonprofit organization in San Diego. The present concerts all through the year and they have a great great collection of musicians that they that they use and they're always looking for really interesting, alternative venues in different kinds of things to present. So let's see...there's a trio playing before us called the NOW ensemble and then we're the second half of the program at 8:30pm.

VO: So how did you get hooked in with the Glashaus?

GK: Via the Art of Elan, a group that I worked with before over the years, and it is run by Katherine Hatmaker, who is a violinist in the San Diego Symphony and they're just doing some wonderful things. It's really fun to work with them.

VO: So that should be an interesting change to be working with strings. Gillian have you done much work with strings?

GM: I've done a lot of work with strings as part of that singing as part of a choir or a chorale, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale specifically I toured with, they are based in Canada and as a soloist and as a chorister but this will be the first time in a sort of smaller setting, so I'm really excited actually, we're sort of working on arrangements now to get some of these tunes adapted for string quartet. We're really excited about it.

VO: Excellent. Well, you've got a little bit of time. Gillian, I want to ask you one more thing, about since the last time you were here with us you had what seems to be very interesting experience being an artist in residence in Hong Kong. You were there from November till March, the end of March, doing work there. Tell us a little bit about that experience.

GM: It wasn't my first time doing that, I guess my fourth. I had done in-residency gigs at hotels in Asia a few times over the last say eight years. It's great because, you know, you get to be in the same place every night and the audience comes to you. I wouldn't say that it's quite of the budget of Las Vegas or anything like that but said it's a really cool experience because you are working with local musicians and sometimes you get maybe an accompanist that might be coming from New York as was in this last case in Hong Kong and it's a really wonderful kind of experience to collaborate with musicians from different countries in the world and and perform every night for travelers and business people and so on. 

VO: I can imagine a really mixed crowd.

GM: Absolutely, culturally and everything and reasons why there in that country are at that place. 

VO: Why any interesting insights into that kind of a international traveler crowd that's not may be not necessarily coming there to look for Jazz but sees that that's happening 

GM: A lot of it is as often advertised as Jazz but what always..what I always find to be remarkable is how many people are very supportive and very interested in the individual artist and the music that I'm actually doing. A lot of those people have followed me and now buy my album and pay attention where else I'm performing where I'm touring and that sort of thing so that always kind of astonishes me that you know people are so supportive when they just happen upon you at the hotel either staying or working.

VO: That's awesome. So Geoffrey, before we end here, I wanted to just kind of find out what other things you been doing. I know I was looking through your schedule and you've been playing with Chris Botti quite a bit. What other things of you been doing or things that you got to coming up and planned?

GK: Well let's see, another vocalist that I work with, Denise Donatelli, she's got a new album coming out actually September 23rd or 24th. 

VO: So you produced? You produced her last disc and did you do this one to?

GK: Yes, I produced and arranged this's the fourth one we've done together, so that's pretty cool. Mostly just touring with Chris and trying to get some things happening on my own and with Gillian as well and hey you know have piano will travel!

VO: Good to hear! Geoffrey, where can folks find out more about you or connect up with you?

GK: They can go to, which is spelled

VO: And Gillian, where do folks meet up with you 

GM: It's pretty simple, very similarly at my website which is, which is spelled

VO: Excellent. Okay great, well we have one now more tune to go out with. This is "Suddenly I See". A pop tune, a recent pop tune. Who wants to tell us a little bit about what you guys wanted to do with this kind of new standard pop tune?

GK: Yeah it's a tune by Scottish artist named KT Tunstall that I heard playing actually at Clair de Lune coffee shop in San Diego and I said you know anything that I hear anywhere, if I like it, I want to learn it and do something with it. So we kind of Brazilian-ized it a little bit and gave it a little bit of a different kind of style but it's fun and and it's nice having the vocals on it too.

VO: Excellent. Well Gillian and Geoffrey, great to have you guys back and good luck with the gig this Thursday and actually also in October here at the Glashaus

GK: Right on, thanks for having us on!


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