One day, a guy showed up at the lodge in Sun Valley. He claimed he was a musician from New York City, and before anyone could stop him, and he and his band started playing. The lodge manager had no idea who the guy was. The trio played jazz numbers for skiers hanging out after a long day on the slopes, and the lodge manager wanted to get rid of the guy, because he was too hip, his jazz too upbeat. But the skiers liked the trio so much, the lodge never pulled the plug.
In all seriousness, the last place Idaho native Paul Tillotson showed up without any kind of musical reputation were the steps of the Idanha building in the early 1980s. He and a group of fellow high school musicians, including Curtis Stigers, waited outside the door for Gene Harris, hoping for a chance to play alongside the legendary jazz artist. Harris let them in, and helped guide Tillotson and the others to a life of renown within the jazz community.
Tillotson now lives in New York, and is a heavyweight in the rich music scene. He plays in several bands including the New York Connection and his own Paul Tillotson Trio. He performs in festivals around the country regularly and his studios albums have received much acclaim. And Tillotson always returns to Idaho including a stint in Sun Valley every winter.
The good news for those of us in here in Boise, is that the Paul Tillotson Trio—which includes Tillotson on piano, Rod Wray on bass (Jeff Rew on bass Saturday,July 11) and Jim Kassis on drums—begins what Tillotson refers to as "annual summertime blast" at Lock, Stock and Barrel next week. They'll play July 7-11, their "Seven-Come-Eleven, The Craps Tour."
Unlike back in the day, when club managers looked for more traditional jazz musicians to book on their stages, Tillotson's music is in such high-demand, his shows so energetic, he never gets asked to leave. As a matter of fact, they're usually begging him to stay longer.
The Paul Tillotson Trio will perform Tuesday, July 7 through Saturday, July 11 from 8 p.m. to midnight with no cover.