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Edmonton Jazz City ’86 Festival
Edmonton, Alberta, June/July 1986

For this listener many of the more intriguing moments of this festival occurred at solo and duet concerts in which a tone of intimacy underlined the performer’s statements and heightened their interaction with one another.

That sense of purity also characterised the duet performance of sopranino saxophonist Bill Smith and violinist David Prentice, long-time cohort and member of the Bill Smith Ensemble. This duet was a delight to both the ears and eyes, creating an atmosphere akin to some sort of Zen ritual. In addition to witnessing their intuitive powers of communication it became obvious that these two musicians must have spent many hours investigating the more unusual ways of making sounds with their instruments and integrating these sounds into coherent musical ideas. Roger Levesque – Coda Magazine


Bill Smith – Sopranino Saxophone
David Prentice – Violin

High Times – Onari 008
Recorded June 1986 @ CJSR Radio, Edmonton by Eric Rose

High Times







1. Enlarge (16:44) (Bill Smith)
2. Madder Lake (8:13) (David Prentice)
3. Are You From Out Of Town? (3:34) (David Prentice)
4. N’Ark (3:46) (Bill Smith)
5. Radio Belly (5:27) (David Prentice & Bill Smith)
6. Emerging From Pallor (1:43) (David Prentice)

An extract from Rant & Dawdle
(Chapter 27, pages 315-316)

A short aeroplane flight has brought Oop’s (David Prentice) and me to the Edmonton Jazz Festival where the two of us have been invited to collaborate with two Montreal-based musicians for an evening of improvisation.

The theatre is of the modern traditional layout, long black curtains hanging on the walls and everything else painted flat black, with a small square stage looking out into the semi-circular wooden bleachered amphitheatre. Raincock, a toy-maker friend from Okanagan Falls, has arrived with a life sized folk art grandmother doll that he has made, and he’s seated her dead centre, four rows back, guaranteeing that there will be at least one spectator.

As the audience gradually fills the venue it becomes apparent that the doll is causing some discomfort among the patrons, creating a small circle of empty seats around her beatific, chubby countenance. Three sets – two duets and a quartet – of reasonably successful music.

We had arrived a day early, and as Oop’s has been brought down by a flu bug he decided to take off into the foothills with a pup tent to see if he could clear his head for the performance, leaving me with time on my hands. Fortunately there are three old mates apparently enjoying similar circumstances: Paul Bley, a Canadian pianist who has for many years resided in the United States, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, another Canadian, who had long ago made his home in England, and Reg Schwager, a Canadian guitarist of Dutch origin.

The fine weather has followed us across the Rockies so we decide to spend the day together. In our wanderings we discover an Indian restaurant which fortuitously had a selection of English draught beer. After a fine curry and several pints we realise that Reg’s gig is actually that very evening, only an hour away, so we all jump in a cab, fetch his guitar from the hotel and set off for the club.

He is part of a trio who are accompanying an up-and-coming jazz singer from Halifax, and inspired to bravado by the afternoon’s activities proclaims that if she plays the dreadful Petula Clark song “Downtown” one more time, he’s out of there. Paul, Kenny and myself have barely settled into our seats when Holly announces that the opening number will be “Downtown”, a popular song by…