Pat Carnahan does it for the love of the jazz
Since it began last winter, Jazz Night at the Kimball has hosted a whole variety of acts. From renowned jazz educator and pianist Shelly Berg to the Crescent All-Star Super Band, the monthly collaboration between the Kimball Art Center and the Park City Jazz Foundation, performers have ranged from the world-famous to local high school students.
Now, the series will add another type of artist. Longtime local guitarist Pat Carnahan will play Jazz Night Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m.
"They just called me and ask if they wanted to play it," said Carnahan.
While Carnahan will occasionally play rock ‘n’ roll or folk, he said his real love is jazz.
"I only really write my own jazz music," he noted.
As far as his music goes, Carnahan isn’t a simple smooth jazz man.
"For jazz, I like most of the modern, post-bop thing," he said. "Anything that came from Miles."
On his newest CD, Carnahan’s guitar echoes some of Davis’ quieter moments. His soft string plucking seems to weave its way between the beats on the bass line at some moments, wandering in and out of the songs, but sometimes his style changes, slightly. Then, he hits an extra string or two for an almost-strum that brings a rock song to mind. There, one can hear Carnahan’s rock ‘n’ roll roots showing through.
For the most part, though, Carnahan sticks to the perfected style of the jazz trio with guitar, bass and drums.
While he often plays with such a trio, Carnahan said that for his Kimball concert he would bring a trombone player too.
"When the budget can afford it, I like to get another guy in there," he said.
Carnahan said he always appreciated the extra musician, because jazz lends itself to such a quick addition more easily than most types of music.
"I think in the jazz thing, there’s a vocabulary, so you can add a third guy or a fourth guy if they know jazz," he said.
Carnahan learned the language of jazz when he attended school at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"Once I went to really study it, it became my thing," said Carnahan.
Then, he said, it became easy.
"That’s how I feel; I feel I can communicate in that way," he added.
Carnahan moved to Park City in 1986 after he left school. His brother, Mike, owned a bar in town at the time, the Irish Camel, but he said came for the skiing. He hasn’t left since.
He said that in the 19 years since then, the Park City music scene has evolved, but while it has grown, he laments the lack of a consistent jazz venue.
"It’s kind of a little erratic in town," he said, "nothing you can count on."
While Carnahan finds consistent solo work playing weekends at places like Shabu, he said that finding work for a jazz group in Park City is inevitably tougher.
But at the same time, Carnahan said he had no plans of leaving.
"I love living here in Park City," he added. "There could always be more music for me."
But he did say that having the Jazz Foundation in town helped, and with the growth of the town, he expects the demand for jazz and the number of opportunities to grow.
"Park City’s definitely getting more on the map," said Carnahan, "and hopefully that just means more work."
While he talked about the importance of working, he seemed to have the music in mind first.
"I’d just like to keep playing," he said. "If anyone needs a guitar player, call me."
Pat Carnahan will play at Jazz Night at the Kimball on Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Kimball Art Center on the night of the event. Proceeds benefit the Kimball’s education programs. For more information, call 940-1362.
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