The Free Bridge Quintet, the faculty jazz quintet of the University of Virginia, presents its spring concert, “It Might As Well Be Spring,” on April 6 at 8 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall. The quintet will welcome the arrival of the new season, as well as the arrival of their newest member, Butch Taylor, who will make his debut as the group’s pianist.
The first half of the concert will feature some of the group’s favorite spring-themed jazz standards such as “Spring Is Here,” “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” and “It Might As Well Be Spring.” The second half of the show will be a musical reunion of sorts between members of Free Bridge and their new pianist.
“When we first met Butch back in the mid-’80s,” said bassist Peter Spaar, “we were all playing and listening to the contemporary jazz of that era, guys like Mike Brecker, Don Grolnick and Kenny Kirkland. After going our separate ways for all these years, we thought it would be great to play some of that music again.”
A Virginia native, Taylor is best known for his work as a guest keyboardist/vocalist with Dave Matthews Band from 1997 to 2008, performing both on tour and studio albums. In the late 1980s, he performed with the jazz-fusion group Secrets as well as Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Steve Wilson, Howard Curtis, Carlos Santana and many others. Throughout his career, he has been active and successful as a freelance performer, arranger, composer, vocalist, conductor and producer. He received bachelor and master degrees in music from James Madison University and later served on the faculty. Currently, he is an adjunct professor of jazz piano at U.Va.
The Free Bridge Quintet, founded in 1997, features Jeff Decker on saxophones, Robert Jospé on the drums, Peter Spaar on bass, John D’earth on trumpet and flugelhorn, and in 2013 welcomes Butch Taylor on piano.
Tickets are $15 for general admission, $8 for students and free for U.Va. students who reserve at least one day in advance. Tickets can be reserved by visiting artsboxoffice.virginia.edu or by calling 434-924-3376.