THE PLIES/WHITAKER PROJECT consists of longtime friends Dennis Plies (vibes) and Howard Whitaker (saxophone) with Clay Giberson (piano), Charlie Doggett (drums), and Dave Captein (bass). Dennis and Howie are academic types, college profs with doctorates in music and long experience in classical genres. Clay, Charlie, and Dave are mainstays of the Portland jazz scene, frequently appearing with leading artists such as Mel Brown, Dave Friesen, Jessica Williams, and others. Our music aims to be thoughtful, beautiful, and inventive, with some twists here and there. For example, "Postlude" is an inversion of the tune from "Prelude," and it's solo section resembles a Baroque continuo part. The two Interludes are also variations on "Prelude." Dennis' tune, "Bicycling..." has cool changes but a quirky melody that sometimes defies rhythmic expectations. We could identify dozens of influences, but let's limit the list to traditional figures like Miles, Coltrane, Monk, and Bill Evans, with current artists like Josh Redman, Brad Meldau, and vibist Joe Locke. In a less direct manner, our identity is also stamped by our experience with masters like Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, and others, as well as various kinds of church music. People generally find our music engaging and very accessible; friends have said our music conveys "thoughtful joy." We hope you like it.
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