Rich Hinrichsen

8x10 poster for Press

The Columbia River Reader

Singer-pianist Rich Hinrichsen, who grew up in Longview and graduated from Mark Morris High School in 1980, will present a concert of show tunes, vocal tangos from Buenos Aires, and jazz at the historic Columbia Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 21st

Hinrichsen and friends will re-visit golden age of musicals, including songs from “The Fantastics,” “Oklahoma,” “The Man of La Mancha,” and “South Pacific,” accompanied by pianist Doug Schneider.

Hinrichsen will also deliver a set of personal songs he wrote over the last 35 years.  The piano solo “Kaylie & Kellie,” named after the South twins, Hinrichsen’s childhood friends, was inspired by Vince Guaraldi and Scott Joplin and conjures playground hijinks. The ballad, “A Bird Is Leaving,” which he wrote as a teen, recalls a tough goodbye to his high school sweetheart.

Joining Hinrichsen on stage for guest performances will be Mark Morris classmate and songbird Sherri Kingsley, brother Mike Hinrichsen, who performed in a production of "1776" in the 1970s, and father, Bill Hinrichsen, who sang in a Columbia Theatre production of “The King and I” in the 1960s.

Singer-songwriters Stephen Cohen of Portland and Rani Weatherby of Seattle will open the show.

Hinrichsen credits Longview educators Ray Clithero, Karl Spellman, Harry DeRuyter, and Dave Niimi for making it possible for him to perform on the Columbia Theatre stage.

Tickets are available at www.columbiatheatre.com.

The Daily News

 

The songs on Rich Hinrichsen’s new jazz album have been in his head for as long as 35 years. One of them he composed in the band room of Mark Morris High School, from which he graduated in 1980. “I was trying to impress my girlfriend,” he said this week.

“Some of this music has been around been around for a long time, and I’ve finally gotten around to recording it. I’ve also gotten to the point on the piano that I could play it.”

Hinrichsen is releasing the album, “Midnight Labors,” at several events, including a March 29 event in Longview.

Though this is the first album of Hinrichsen’s compositions, he’s been playing since childhood. He took up the violin at age 8, switched to double bass at age 11 and added piano two years later. He’s played in a jazz group at Lower Columbia College and has kept his hand in the music since, even though his profession is fisheries consultant. He most recently appeared locally as part of the folk duo Walking Willows.

Though he’s primarily a bass player, Hinrichsen said he likes being able to tickle the ivories, too. “I really like stepping into the piano role,” he said. “I have more control of the melody.”

He plays piano and/or bass on all the songs in “Midnight Labors,” which range across a wide variety of jazz genres. “I would say it would be globally inspired,” he said, with Cuban, Middle Eastern and American ragtime styles.

“Sleepy Eyes” -- the song he wrote at MM for his girlfriend of the time -- has a Latin flavor. A few years later, he penned “A Bird is Leaving,” a slow melancholy melody about a high school breakup.

Hinrichsen’s piano solo “Kaylie & Kellie” is an upbeat number reminiscent of Scott Joplin. It’s named for Kaylie and Kellie South, twin sisters who were his childhood friends. “I’d take a detour by their house (on his bicycle) when I was 11 or 12,” he said.

Hinrichsen enlisted several other musicians for the album, including trumpet/flugelhorn player Gavin Bondy, a member of Pink Martini.

The album’s cover also has a Longview link. It’s a graphically altered version of a photo taken by Fran Reisner, a Mark Morris grad and professional photographer. Hinrichsen enlisted a model friend to sit at his piano for the photo, which represents a club scene. The waiter is his 17-year-old son, Christian.

“He doesn’t want to have anything to do with jazz,” Hinrichsen said. “He’s an opera singer.”

Tom Paulu is a features writer for The Daily News. He covers Outdoors and Entertainment, among other things. Reach him at 360-577-2540 or tpaulu@tdn.com.

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