During a blindfold test for JazzTimes, the saxophonist Don Braden was played a recording of George Colligan. Here is an excerpt from Don’s response: “As a creative artist, he’s really up there…In terms of technique, knowledge of music and improvisational creativity, there aren’t a whole lot of cats from his generation that are any better than him. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any.”
George boasts one of the most extensive sideman resumes of any pianist in jazz today. He’s toured, performed, and/or recorded with an enormous breadth of artists, including Gary Bartz, Benny Golson, Gary Thomas, Dave Weckl, Steve Coleman, Eddie Henderson, among many, many others. Currently, he occupies the piano chair in the band of the drummer Jack DeJohnette. George is also active as an educator: after spending two years on the faculty of the Jazz Studies program at Juilliard, he is now an Assistant Professor at The University of Manitoba.
George’s lengthy list of other obligations has not stopped him from producing 19 recordings as a leader. His compositional talents have been recognized by grantmakers such as Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation. We’ve been presenting George’s groups for a decade now, watching him develop his voice in many different directions. On Saturday night, George will bring a quartet grounded by his longtime collaborators Boris Kozlov (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums), as well as vocalist Debbie Deane. Watch George, Boris, and Donald performing with Jazz Gallery veteran Jaleel Shaw.
George recently started his own blog; you can read more from him at JazzTruth.