Down in Boise over the Thanksgiving weekend, there'll be some nostalgia mixed with some jazzy tune making. The historic Egyptian Theatre will feature the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" at 6 p.m., Nov. 21 through 25. To see this classic tale on a big screen is a treat unto itself. But it will be followed by Boise native Paul Tillotson and his band, the New York Connection. They'll take the stage immediately after the movie for two hours of jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll and original music.
Tillotson has lived and worked in New York City for more than 16 years. During his 30 years at the piano he has played with some of the top names in music, including his mentor, Gene Harris. He has also played with Vernel Fournier, Lynn Seaton, Luther Hughes, Red Holloway, Ernie Watts, Lew Soloff, Mark Pender, Jerry Vivinno, Chris Minh Doky, Matt Wilson, Anton Fig (David Letterman Band), Chris Bodi (Sting), Lenny Picket (Saturday Night Live Band), Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live Band), Michael Merritt and James Wormworth, both of the Conan O'Brien Band.
The New York Connection is made up of Tillotson, Wormworth, vocalist Brooke Lundy, Jake Stigers also a Boise native, Pete Francis and Whynot Jansveld.
Tillotson performs annually in Sun Valley in the Duchin Room, River Run Lodge, and on New Year's Eve at the Limelight Room. He is a large part of the annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival in Boise. The third year of the festival Harris died, and the festival committee asked Tillotson to take Harris' place at the piano. Tillotson also headlines the annual Gene Harris All Stars Concert, the Paul Tillotson Trio Concert at Ste. Chapelle Winery and at Twin Falls' Jazz in the Canyon festival.
He has produced three Christmas shows at the Egyptian, an old fashioned big musical hall turned movie theatre and performance space in downtown Boise.
"There's so much competition over Christmas," Tillotson said from New York. "I thought it might be better to do something in November. I called the Egyptian and the manager, Marvin, said we're showing 'It's a Wonderful Life' for five days. My goal was always to do five double bills, two bands a night. So now the opening band is the movie. We come on at 8, there'll be libations for everybody. The proceeds will go to the Fifth Annual Paul Tillotson Music Scholarship at Borah High School, my alma mater."
Tillotson said he would be dredging out his Egyptian costume for the show and may convince the guys in the band to join him in uncommon threads. As well, Lundy will be dressed as Cleopatra.
"Born in Babylonia, moved to Arizona, King Tut..." Tillotson sang over the telephone.
If you're lucky he'll perform "Pickin' on a Pile of Snow in Sun Valley, Idaho," a hysterical ditty written by his dad.
Paul Tillotson & The New York Connection—6-10 p.m., Nov. 21-25, at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St. in Boise The show will start with the presentation of the classic full-length film, "It's a Wonderful Life," $20, 387-1273.