Duet: Keezer + Perry
former local piano master teams with Michael Perry
A hometown hero is returning for the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. Geoffrey Keezer, a Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, is one of two guest artists who will be featured at the headliner concerts held at Memorial High on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6. Keezer was born in Eau Claire and began his piano studies at a young age. To say that the hard work paid off is an understatement: By the age of 18, Keezer was touring with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Since then, Keezer has gone on to collaborate with contemporary jazz heavyweights such as Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, and Diana Krall, as well as with traditional Hawaiian, Japanese, and South American musicians. As if simply playing at the festival wasn’t enough, Keezer has decided to flex his impressive compositional muscles and write a new piece specifically for the 2013 Jazz Festival. The new tune is called “Old Guys Surrender the Juke Box,” and Keezer has teamed up with another familiar name around Eau Claire for its performance. Michael Perry, a humorist, singer-songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author behind works such as Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren At a Time and the more recent Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace, wrote words to accompany the song, and will join Keezer and the Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I onstage to provide the song’s narration. Keezer, Perry, and company will premiere “Old Guys Surrender the Juke Box” at both the Friday and Saturday night concerts.