Another great week of live jazz begins tonight at the Skylark Lounge, where the Asian Jazz All-Stars Power Quartet - comprising Jeremy Monteiro on organ, Eugene Pao on guitar, Tots Tolentino on sax and Chanutr Techatana-nana on drums - starts a two-night residency, concluding tomorrow.
After those gigs, the Jazz World Festival crosses the harbour to Polytechnic University's Jockey Club Auditorium, with a Friday night big-band extravaganza featuring local youth ensembles plus the Basic Notes Jazz Big Band and the Saturday Night Jazz Orchestra.
However, for many jazz fans, the high point of the festival will be Saturday night's concert at the same venue by bassist Eddie Gomez, paying tribute to his former boss Bill Evans, one of the most influential pianists in jazz.
Gomez was just 21 when he joined Evans in 1966, and his 11-year tenure constituted the pianist's second important alliance with a bassist, the first having been cut short by a 1961 car accident that killed Scott LaFaro.
Discovering Gomez - who like LaFaro was capable of playing melodically and with unusual fluency, particularly in his instrument's upper range - gave Evans a new creative impetus, and the partnership brought out the best in both musicians.
At a time when the 'fusion' movement was shifting the focus of bass playing away from the upright acoustic instrument and towards the bass guitar, Gomez showed there was still life in the traditional instrument. He last visited Hong Kong in 1985 with The Gadd Gang.
For this gig, Gomez is expanding his trio to a quintet with the addition of Hong Kong guitarist Teriver Cheung and Shanghainese trumpeter Li Xiaochuan. Cheung, whose debut album as a soloist will be released this year, got his BA in jazz studies from the University of North Texas on a scholarship, and now lives in the highly competitive New York jazz scene. Li is a Shanghai Conservatory graduate in classical trumpet, and also went to North Texas to take a master's degree in jazz studies. In March this year, he made the finals of the US National Trumpet Competition jazz division.
Apart from Gomez, Cheung and Li, the band will consist of pianist Stefan Karlsson and drummer Billy Hart. Tickets for both the Gomez and big-band concerts are available from www.hkticketing.com.
Three classic albums featuring
Bill Evans with Eddie Gomez on bass: Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival (1968, Verve): Gomez's first album with Evans was a live recording from the Montreux Jazz Festival, and is the only document of the trio featuring Jack DeJohnette on drums. The album won a Grammy.
Montreux III (1975, Original Jazz Classics): features Gomez and Evans as a duo. The set includes two fine versions of compositions by the Modern Jazz Quartet's John Lewis, Milano and Django.
But Beautiful (1996, Milestone): assembled from two dates on a tour of European jazz festivals, and features the classic trio of Evans, Gomez and Marty Morell on drums, with guest soloist Stan Getz.