Chase Garrett’s boogie shoes are bringing him back to the Englert on Saturday night (11/3).
The Iowa City native, who moved to New York City about two months ago, is staging his third annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano Stomp. The rollicking sound will feature a mix of keyboards and combos.
Joining Garrett in the spotlight are guest pianists Jean-Paul Amouroux of France, Julian Phillips of England and Silvan Zingg of Switzerland. Putting some zing in the swing are Juilliard students Gabe Medd of Iowa City on trumpet and New York native Joe McDonough on trombone; local musicians Craig Dove on upright bass, Nate Bogarto on tenor sax, Dan Padley on guitar and Cassius Goens III on drums; and Chris Davidson from England, coming to play bass with pianist Phillips.
Garrett, 23, used to fire up the pianos on the Ped Mall in Iowa City, then spent part of August playing at a festival near Paris. He came home, packed up and headed east to spread the feel-good gospel of boogie woogie in a place that already has embraced swing, a form he also wants to explore.
- Chase Garrett’s Third Annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano Stomp
- 8 p.m. Saturday (11/3)
- Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City
- Tickets: $30 general admission, free ages 5 and under, at (319) 688-2653 or Englert.org
- Artist’s website: Chasegarrett.com
“I’m trying to get more into swing music and jumpin’ blues,” he says. “They’re very similar, that early ’40s style of music. I like it a lot so I came here to try to do that.”
He’s also hoping to expand his producing acumen and networks.
“One advantage of being in New York is the larger venues,” he says. “Larger venues mean more face-time with people and a larger audience that can come see the music. It’s not necessarily that I came out here because I wasn’t happy in Iowa — I love Iowa. I just wanted to come out here because I wanted to pursue my passion in a little bit bigger venue and a new area, and see what’s out there for me.”
Moving his base to the Big Apple also lets him gauge where interests lie for music of bygone eras.
“New York is so different from Iowa,” he says. “The people are different, there’s a wider diversity. I wanted to see who really is interested in this music, who the audience is for it, and to see where it sits in the world today, as far as what its popularity is — and if it actually is possible to keep it around.”
Living in Brooklyn, he’s experiencing the typical culture shock of how expensive and expansive his world has become.
“At first, I found it very difficult just to ride the train everywhere, because I’m so used to having a car and being able to go wherever I want,” he says. “It made me rethink how I get around, how to get to places and the fastest ways to get there. I’ve gotten lost a few times — more than a few times, actually. It’s definitely part of the learning curve.
“The city is just so astronomically enormous. Honestly, I could live here a hundred years and not see the same corner twice.”
He brought an electronic keyboard and amp from Iowa, and enjoys sitting down at new friends’ pianos. He’s already had some gigs, playing at a hotel restaurant in Times Square and on a white grand piano from the 1920s in Brooklyn. He played a wedding in Brooklyn in October and even had a couple of gigs in upstate New York.
He’s also getting to put the stomp on a really big piano, landing a job at toy store extraordinaire FAO Schwartz on Fifth Avenue, a block from Central Park. He’s taking pictures of kids and families by the piano Tom Hanks played with his feet in “Big.”
Maybe Garrett will get to jump aboard and see if he has fire in his feet, too.