As the rain fell outside in Ithaca on Friday, Oct. 4, jazz enthusiasts stayed warm and dry in the Carriage House “Hayloft” to listen to the melodies of the Paul Meyers Trio. The soft, subtle lighting set the stage for an intimate evening. Listeners were able to drown out the sound of the rain hitting the windows as Meyer’s guitar filled the rustic refurbished barn with inviting sounds of the blues and samba as well as traditional standards.
Karen O’Brien was eager to attend that night because she hadn’t heard or seen Meyers since they studied together at the New England Conservatory of Music more than 30 years ago.
“I do know Paul, he may not remember me but it was back in the 70’s that we used to know each other,” she said. “I saw he was coming and I love jazz, I love guitar.”
As O’Brien greeted Meyers before the performance, others filed into the café and found their seats. Retired couple Jean and Betty Rowley sat down to enjoy one of the many events they attend locally during the week.
“If you always go to see and hear the same old thing you’re not expanding your world very much,” he said. “We do a lot of different things.”
Drummer Tom Killian and bassist Jeff Campbell joined Meyers on stage as they played different jazz tunes. Their set list ranged from standards like Gershwin’s “But Not For Me” to his own compositions such as “The Opener.” Briefly local jazz guitarist Steve Brown joined the Trio for several unrehearsed pieces.
O’Brien was happy to meet with a long lost musical acquaintance.
“He studied with the same guy I studied with,” she said. “I think he was studying tenor banjo at the time. That’s how I knew him but I haven’t seen him since. This is a reunion.”
Whether listeners were there to reunite with old friends or just to go out on a Friday night, the soft notes that bounced off the tall Carriage House walls made the night unforgettable.
Next on Meyers’ itinerary is another college town scene, in Toronto, Canada.