By Terry Pender
WATERLOO Ont., April 8, 2015 —- The Kite Trio is a Montreal-based alt-jazz group that worships at the altar of The Bad Plus.
With Eric Couture on guitar, Eric Dew on drums and Paul Van Dyk on bass, the young musicians have so far released two CDs, and gig regularly in Montreal Clubs — Resonance, L’Escalier and Dies Onze. They are busy writing more material for a third CD.
“We are going to do a good mix I guess of a few songs from the first record, a few from the recent record, and some new stuff we have been working on. We’ve got a cover a tune from The Bad Plus that we have been playing lately. It is called Seven Minute Mind. And a few standards as well.”
The Kite Trio describes itself as alternative jazz.
“Like any kind of genre it is hard to put one word on what we do, but I guess it’s kind of like there is a bit of a texture of alternative music, which is kind of like the Nineties alternative music that all three of us grew up with,” Van Dyk said.
“Sometimes when you say jazz, people think about what you hear in an elevator, or in the background in a restaurant or something like that. And that’s definitely not what we do, so I guess you can say what we do is an alternative to that style of jazz,” Van Dyk said.
After Van Dyk joined The Kite Trio, Couture and Dew urged him to check out The Bad Plus.
“It’s just something that kind of resonates with all of us, the way they approach music,” Van Dyk said of The Bad Plus. “In the last few years it has become a huge, well almost an obsession for me, so I try to kind of listen to some other things too.”
In 2013, The Kite Trio secured some funding and hired the drummer from The Bad Plus for a master class of sorts. The session was held in Dew’s basement.
“And he hung out with us for a couple of hours, and gave us a whole bunch of awesome advice. It was really an amazing experience, super encouraging. That was right after we had recorded our album in 2013,” Van Dyk said.
Friday night’s show is a homecoming of sorts for Van Dyk, who grew up in Kitchener and attended Eastwood Collegiate.
Van Dyk’s first big influence on the bass was Charlie Hayden and his Liberation Orchestra.
“I don’t know if I would be playing music if it wasn’t for that album. After him it was Dave Holland. Do you know that album Angel Song? That was another one of those albums that really touched me when I first started listening to jazz.”
After Eastwood Collegiate, Van Dyk was off to the jazz program at Humber in Toronto, attending the bass program that is headed by the Juno-Award winning Mike Downs. Downs is well known to regulars at The Jazz Room. And Van Dyk has nothing but praise for Downs and the school.
“It’s a really great thing they have going on there. It’s just really positive. There is none of that kind of Whiplash-competitive-drill-sergeant thing going on there. Everyone is really into everyone else’s playing and super encouraging. And a lot of really, really talented musicians are there, obviously as faculty but as students too. It was really good for me.”
After Humber, Van Dyk returned to Kitchener-Waterloo for a while. He was in a band that went on the road. After a gig in Montreal he met a woman there and moved to that city.
“Pretty soon after I moved here I met the other two guys, Eric and Eric. And they met at Concordia University when they were studying here. And they had been jamming a lot together as a duo, and hadn’t found a bass player, and I sort of subbed for a gig for Eric-the-guitar-player. And they asked me to come out and jam a few times. We started working on some original material, and that turned into our first album,” Van Dyk said.
The Jazz Room is nearing the end of its fourth season, and had not opened the last time Van Dyk was living here.
“It is amazing, there was nothing like that when I was in KW. Not a whole lot of jazz happening. It is great to come back and see something like that happening there. It is very cool.”