“Firefly” Deidre Cartwright and Kathy Dyson Tribute to Emily Remler
SevenArts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds6th November 2011
The American jazz guitarist Emily Remler, born 1957, began her guitar playing career, like so many players of the time, influenced by the likes of Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix. It was during her years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the early 70’s that she began to draw her influences from the hard bop style of Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Her first album as a band leader in her own right “Firefly” was released in 1981 on the famous Concord label. Between 1981 and 1982 she performed with the Los Angeles version of the show “Sophisticated Ladies”. As well as a performer and composer in her own right, Remler played with notable musicians such as Larry Coryell and Astrrud Gilberto. Allegedly a heroin addict, she died aged 32 of heart failure whilst on tour in Australia.
Deidre Cartwright and Kathy Dyson met 25 years ago when they realise they were the only two professional female jazz guitarists in Britain. Senior Lecturer and Leeds College of Music alumni, Dyson, and former presenter of television’s “Rock School” and member of The Guest Stars, Cartwright are noticeably influenced by the work and technique of the late Emler. Their set on this tour, which began in the small and intimate surroundings of SevenArts in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, is derived mainly from Remler favourites such as “How Insensitive”, “Stella by Starlight”, “Afro Blue” and “Softly As in a Morning Sunrise” and Cartwright and Dyson originals. The Wes Montgomery standard “Four on Six” is the perfect vehicle to display the empathy these two players have with the bop-to-blues style which became so much of a trademark for Remler. The two guitarists differing playing styles admirably complement each other, and the exchange of soft, floating lines is mesmerising. The atmosphere in SevenArts is convivial and conducive to bringing out the best in a style of music which benefits so much from the warmth of the audience and their acceptance of the music. There is indisputable communication between onlookers and performers, made more poignant when Cartwright wins a box of chocolates in the raffle. For the thirty or so people present, this was either the perfect introduction to the music of Emily Remler, or a touching reminder of what she brought to the world of jazz.
Two pieces that illustrate the beauty of Emily Remlers playing: