A few months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorae Farrell and members of the Hypatia Creative Women’s Jazz Orchestra for a Boulevard Magazine profile. That article is now out in the latest issue of Boulevard and can be found here (starting on page 108).
Part of my research included a telephone interview with Sherrie Maricle, leader of the New York-based DIVA Jazz Orchestra and an email interview with Vancouver Island’s own Ingrid Jensen, who was a member of DIVA when it was first created, but has since moved on, of course, to a successful solo career (also based in New York). Both players have interesting views about all-female jazz groups, which you’ll find presented in the article, along with a little of the history of women in jazz.
Of course the article is mainly about Hypatia and also includes comments from Hugh Fraser and Monik Nordine as well as members of the group.
– Rick Gibbs
Victoria pianist/vocalist Patrick Godfrey, who has recorded with the likes of Bruce Cockburn and Daniel Lanois; and enjoyed the critical praise of jazz writers like Mark Miller, offers an eclectic alternative to JazzFest this Sunday, June 28 at Alix Goolden Hall.
Godfrey, appearing with bassist Joey Smith and drummer Damian Graham, will perform a mixed program that, while incorporating some straight-ahead jazz, will feature vocals from his new CD That’s Why, solo piano improvisations in the style of his recent Still Life Still, and re-imagined older material from his Ancient Ships CD, this time arranged for trio.
This ambitious program will display just some of the many sides Read more…
I’ll be away from my desk for a few days and so I thought I’d leave you with my take on some of the shows worth seeing at Jazzfest International this year in Victoria. I’ll most likely add a few suggestions towards the end of the week.
Hugh Fraser Quintet/Chucho Valdes Quintet
Has the potential to be one of the most exciting shows of this or any jazz festival. Fraser has known Valdes for years, first studying with him and then going on to perform and record with him. Inspired by their friendship, you can bet both players (and their bands) will be in top form, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Valdes invites Fraser to sit in at some point during his set. If that happens they’ll blow the roof off the Royal Theatre. Both groups will likely do that anyway. If I were to pick one big-ticket show only, this would be it.
Marc Atkinson Electric Band
Marc Atkinson is always worth hearing, and with this new project featuring himself on electric guitar, Joey Smith on electric bass, Chad Geekie on keyboards, and Bill Hicks on drums, Atkinson will be offering cool blues/funk sounds to contrast with his acoustic trio’s gypsy jazz flavours. This is the group’s debut Victoria performance and should be a whole lot of fun. The only catch – Atkinson is opening for Hiromi’s Sonic Bloom at the Royal, and so you will have to pay the big bucks to get in. Mind you, Hiromi sounds pretty interesting, too – should be quite a show.
Maureen Washington Band
I first heard Maureen Washington several weeks ago at Hermann’s, and all I can say is you should take the time to catch her show at JazzFest. There’s a whole lot of sass, energy, and personality in her performance, and she knows how to make a jazz standard come alive. This lady is the real thing.
Emily Braden Quartet/Misha Piatigorsky
Emily Braden has spent a lot of time in New York this past year, opening her ears, refining her vocal style and recording a studio album that Piatigorsky produced for her. Backed by Sean Drabitt on bass, Jesse Cahill on drums and Piatigorsky on piano, she’ll have a lot to say to her adopted home town audience. For his part, the New York-based Piatigorsky is an inspired pianist with incredible energy. His performance last year was a highlight. Expect more of the same.
Sean Drabitt Group
One of Victoria’s hardest working bassists, Sean Drabitt has assembled a fine group, including Brent Jarvis (piano), Roy Styffe (sax), Josh Dixon (drums), Leon Torres (conga), and Emily Braden (vocals) to present the music of the great virtuoso bassist Jaco Pastorius. Drabitt takes his Pastorius seriously – expect a really good show – too bad it’s in Centennial Square (note to JazzFest folks – Market Square was a much better outdoor venue).
Esquimalt High Jazz Combo
Hugh Fraser says that these Esquimalt students are playing at a higher level and sounding better than a lot of college bands he’s heard over the years. They’ve been developing their performance skills all year at Hermann’s A couple of the players, including Sean Fyfe on piano, could well go on to major jazz careers. Definitely worth catching their young energy.
Kind of Blue at 50: Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band
And on the other side of the age and experience spectrum, Drummer Jimmy Cobb has hand-picked a fine group of players to recreate the Kind of Blue session he was part of as a 50th anniversary nod to Miles Davis and this most influential of all jazz albums. He’s already played a number of dates in the US and will take the show to Europe after touring Canada. All indications are from early reviews that it’s worth the price of admission and if you close your eyes, you’ll think you’re listening to the original group.
Scott White Quartet
Victoria bassist Scott White, who has been living and performing in Europe for much of the last 12 years, has assembled a group of favourite musicians (Roy Styffe, Kelby MacNayr, Alfons Fear) to present what he describes as music “loosely in the Ornette Coleman Quartet tradition, with a combination of burning energy, free group composition, some rock energy, hair raising tenderness, and humour as well.” Sounds like fun. The group plans to record a live CD at Hermann’s on July 10, but you can catch them before then at JazzFest.
Roberto Occhipinti Quartet
Toronto-born bassist Roberto Occhipinti, well-known for his work with Hilario Duran and Jane Bunnett, has assembled a fine group of young Cuban musicians including David Virelles on piano, Luis Deniz on alto sax, and Dafnis Prieto on drums. The group’s new album A Bend in the River is getting very positive reviews. Should be an excellent show and it’s at Hermann’s, which usually means a great listening experience.
Larry Roy/Steve Kirby Quintet
Winnipeg-based Larry Roy is reputed to be a great guitarist much in demand as a session player, and backed by Steve Kirby on bass, who has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Elvin Jones, this group is likely to be one of the hits of the festival for real jazz fans.
As I say, more to come at the end of the week…
– Rick Gibbs
© 2009 Rick Gibbs and Island Jazz. Please see the copyright info in the sidebar for permitted uses.
It’s always amazing to me, as I try to keep up with events, just how much high quality live jazz we have in these parts. In addition to the Salt Spring Jazz Festival already covered in a separate story, here’s a rundown of a few other shows happening over the next couple of days.
Toronto vocalist Christine Duncan appears at Hermann’s on Saturday (June 20) with Vancouver sax player Bill Runge, supported by Islanders Hugh Fraser (piano), Ken Lister (bass) and Josh Dixon (drums). Duncan is something of a vocal sensation with her Read more…
The fourth annual Salt Spring Jazz Festival kicks off this Thursday, June 18, with a performance by Victoria blues pioneers Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues Band, a group that once shared the stage with the likes of Paul Butterfield, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Muddy Waters, and is now celebrating its 30-year reunion.
The band, which began at the SUB pub at UVic in the early 80′s and went on to become RCA recording artists, reunited in 2004 to promote the release of their retrospective (and still available) CD Bluesography and since then have continued Read more…
The jazz festival whirlwind is on the horizon, but there’s a lot of local stuff happening before it gets here that you just might want to catch, including two really good shows at Hermann’s this weekend.
Tonight (Friday, June 12) the Jon Miller Quartet performs, featuring Rob Cheramy on guitar, Roy Styffe on sax, James Young on bass, and Miller on drums. As their debut release Orchidology amply demonstrates this is a group with a lot to say, as they explore a number of fine original tunes penned by Miller and the others.
Miller reports that his album is doing well and has cracked the top ten jazz list nationally on college radio. Given that campus radio stations, like Victoria’s own CFUV, are the last bastion of deejay programming (ie. there are actually individuals listening to CD’s and making decisions about what is worth playing and what isn’t), that says something. If you missed this quartet when they released the CD, do try to catch them tonight.
Kelby MacNayr’s Art of the Trio series is a project in which MacNayr (on drums) collaborates with various pianists and bass players in an ongoing exploration of the extensive repertoire presented by the great piano jazz trios of the past. MacNayr teams up Saturday night with George McFetridge (piano) and Colin Nealis (bass) in what promises to be another fine offering.
McFetridge, who now spends much of his time composing (some of that work will likely be on offer tonight,too) has shared the stage with many jazz greats, including Buddy Rich, Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Woody Hermann, Fraser MacPherson and Pat LaBarbera. Colin Nealis is a fine young up-and-coming bass player, and, of course MacNayr is one of the busiest drummers on the west coast for a reason. Well worth a listen.
8 pm start for both shows.
Stay tuned for an update on more shows coming this week.
– Rick Gibbs
© 2009 Rick Gibbs and Island Jazz. Please see the copyright info in the sidebar for permitted uses.
The Phil Dwyer Academy of Music and Culinary Arts (PDAMCA) in Qualicum Beach offers a tremendous
opportunity for aspiring and accomplished players alike not only to develop their soloing chops by studying with some of the best players in the business, but also to learn to cook in a more literal sense, since the camp also teaches the culinary arts with a focus on local foods.
Students take breaks from playing by visiting some of the local food producers in the area and learning to do a little cooking themselves as they help prepare meals for the group.
Dwyer says the camp, now in its fifth year, has been growing rapidly. Last year, his Week 1 offering, aimed at 14-21 year olds, doubled in size.
This year, he’s added an adult program and some special workshops/events that will appeal to a wide range of players and jazz fans alike.
The instructors include Read more…
Readers of Coda, Canada’s national jazz magazine, have no doubt been scratching their heads for the last six months (at least) wondering what had happened to the magazine.
The same has been true for Coda’s writers (including this correspondent) whose articles disappeared into a black hole before they finally learned a few months back that Coda had suspended publication with no word on when (or if) it would reappear.
It had been suggested in a couple of online forums that publisher Mark Barnes should Read more…
It’s been hard to miss all the press that vocalist Joe Coughlin has been getting of late, what with his latest National Jazz Award for male vocalist of the year and the recent launch of his new CD.
The new recording, his sixth, is well worth all the attention. Recorded live at The Cellar last July with his “Vancouver band,” Lowdown West Broadway is a fine album, displaying not only the Read more…
You need look no further than the truckload of awards 20-year-old Vancouver saxophonist Eli Bennett has collected to realize that he’ll soon be a major force on the international jazz scene.
About to enter his third year on full scholarship in the jazz program at Humber College, Bennett has been playing professionally since he was 14. At 15, he was named the best high school saxophonist in Canada.
Since then he’s collected Fraser MacPherson, Dal Richards and Oscar Peterson scholarships and grants, the Yamaha Kando award for the best young musician in the country, a Downbeat award, Grammy Foundation honours, and the International Yamaha Young Performing Artists Award for the best international saxophonist in any genre under 21 – the first Canadian to win that award since the program began in 1989.
Most recently he received the CBC Galaxie Rising Star award at the National Jazz Awards in Toronto.
Bennett, who is back home on the coast for the summer, will be appearing with his quartet (Amanda Tosoff on piano, Josh Cole on bass, and Darryl Bennett on drums) in Courtenay this Sunday, June 7,courtesy of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society. He’ll also be at The Cellar in Vancouver this Thursday night.
Island Jazz sat down with Bennett to learn more about him.
1. How did you find your way into jazz?
I first picked up the saxophone Read more…