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25. Jul. 2016

Dan Tepfer Trio-from Bach to Coltrane

Jazz and Early Music have more in common than you might guess--if you saw the brilliant Common Grounds at Christ Church Cathedral during the 2016 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, that will come as no surprise to you. The collaboration continues this August with a trio date by pianist Dan Tepfer, who is also in town to play the Goldberg Variations, with a twist, for our friends at Early Music Vancouver.

Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, in association with Early Music Vancouver, presents American pianist Dan Tepfer with Carmen Rothwell bass and Ted Poor (Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Cuong Vu, Myra Melford) drums at Frankie’s Jazz Club, 765 Beatty St, Vancouver, on August 4 at 8pm. 

Born in Paris to American parents, “tremendously gifted” (LA Times) pianist-composer Dan Tepfer has translated his bi-cultural identity into an exploration of music that ignores stylistic bounds. His 2011 Goldberg Variations / Variations, which pairs his performance of Bach’s work with improvised variations of his own, has received broad praise as a “riveting, inspired, fresh musical exploration” (New York Times). He has worked with the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with saxophone luminary Lee Konitz, while releasing seven albums as a leader.

Here, he talks to Jazz Times about his multi-faceted interests: 

As a composer, he is a recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for works including Concerto for Piano and Winds, premiered in the Prague Castle with himself on piano, and Solo Blues for Violin and Piano, premiered at Carnegie Hall. Bringing together his undergraduate studies in astrophysics with his passion for music, he is currently working on integrating computer-driven algorithms into his improvisational approach.

In the video below, he takes on Coltrane's Giant Steps. This clip features Seattle drummer Ted Poor, who brought his own trio to Vancouver last year and will play the Frankie's date:

Awards include first prize and audience prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and the Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association. His recent soundtrack for the independent feature Movement and Location was voted Best Original Score at the 2014 Brooklyn Film Festival.

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Dan Tepfer will also appear as part of Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival, on August 2 at Christ Church Cathedral, performing Aria with Thirty Variations – for a harpsichord with two manuals, comprising Part IV of the collection ‘Keyboard-Practice’ by Johann Sebastian Bach – known as the “Goldberg Variations” (BWV 998). In this performance, each of Bach’s variations will be followed by an improvised variation by Tepfer.

Here's his take on Bach's iconic work: 

For more information, a great interview with Dan Tepfer, and tickets to the Christ Church concert, please visit

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