Night People



Composer/Pianist Joe Garrison has been described as "adventurous," "original," "intense" and "psychotic."  You can say the same of his jazz ensemble “Night People.”  


After a seven year stint in Seattle, Garrison recently returned to San Diego where he completed LET OLD MEN DREAM THEIR DREAMS, a new CD which is comprised of all new compositions. The project is released on independent label Webster's Last Word Records, and reunites old colleagues:

Rob Thorsen - acoustic bass
Bill Caballero - trumpet/flugelhorn
Burnett Anderson - trumpet/flugelhorn
Tim McMahon - drums
Joe Garrison - piano

In this breakthrough recording, harmonic and ensemble writing are more than fully exploited. The power of this music is achieved by tight ensemble playing balanced against sections of free improvisation. Continuity is maintained throughout by strong grooves. 


Recorded live-to-stereo in one grueling session, the CD features some of San Diego's best Jazz players: Bill Caballero, an innovative, daring trumpeter with imagination, style and technique to spare. Burnett Anderson, a soulful player, whose sound comes straight from the center of the earth. A truly inspiring musician. Rob Thorsen, a world-class player who demands the best from everyone he plays with. Tim McMahon, one of the best all around musicians out there. Joe Garrison, a creative player who is open to almost anything.


Regarding the unforgiving aspects of recording live-to-stereo Garrison comments, "Music is pre-verbal energy and Jazz is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a collaboration which requires the best of all players. LET OLD MEN DREAM THEIR DREAMS was written specifically for these musicians. Everybody thought it was crazy but I had no doubt we could pull it off." The result is a recording of astounding freshness and startling energy.


Garrison has been influenced by innovators from all eras of music: Leonin and Perotin, Claudio Monteverdi, Hector Berlioz, Igor Stravinsky, Harry Partch, Terry Riley, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis.  He has written original music for most groups he has played in throughout the years. He has written compositions for a wide range of ensembles such as singer/piano and music for 3 pianos to large-scale pieces for jazz octet to name but a few. He recently finished FUNHOUSE, a large-scale piece for two Jazz Pianos.


He has garnered numerous awards and commissions throughout his 25+ year career, including two full length movie scores and Music for soprano, 2 guitars, 2 pianos, violin and viola. He also won two Rusefest commissions, My Brothers, My Sisters and Night People and Other Survivors, which both were funded in part by grants from the San Diego Foundation and other Arts organizations. Both concerts were broadcast on Jazz Live - KSDS FM Radio.


Garrison directed and composed all original music for Curate, a featured band at the Carlsbad Jazz Festival and the Escondido Artist Series.

Garrison played keyboards with such bands as: Tambau's International Orchestra, Ruse Collective, Ira Liss' Big Band Jazz Machine, Bob McMahon's Real Band, Koko Pelli, Immediate Freedom Latin Jazz Ensemble. He has performed with Gunnar Biggs, Daniel Jackson, Tambau, Rob Thorsen, Tim McMahon, Bill Caballero, Burnett Anderson, Derek Canon, Gene Perry, Mark Lamson, Kevin Delgado, Kim Kimmery, Steve Feierabend, Larry De La Cruz, Fred Ubaldo, Dave Millard.



"... proves once again that Garrison is an unsung original on the local jazz scene."
Critic's choice - Dirk Sutro, Los Angeles Times


"Isn't it clear that artists such as pianist Joe Garrison, reedist Arturo Cipriano, guitarist Michael Whitmore, and (the closest approximation of West Coast Anthony Braxton) multi-instrumentalist Vinnie Golia must be afforded attention?"
Stephen Esmedina, San Diego Reader


"I respect Joe Garrison for his musical vision and courage."
Miff Mole, Jazz Link