Trombonist Nick La Riviere launches his debut album Too Much To Do tonight (Monday, August 31) at Butchart Gardens, and with personnel like Ross Taggart on piano, Sean Drabitt on bass and Jesse Cahill on drums, the show promises to be a highlight of the summer jazz season.
La Riviere is known for his eclectic and unconventional approach to music and this new project is no exception. The album features more than a few musical surprises and the launch is likely to do the same.
The show gets underway at 7:30 pm. Admission to the gardens is $28 for adults and $14 for youths under 17.
Island Jazz will be running a more in-depth feature on La Riviere’s new album soon. It can be purchased at Long and McQuade in Victoria.
For more info go here.
– Rick Gibbs
I’ve just spent time on Guy MacPherson’s (son of the legendary Fraser MacPherson) Vancouver Vintage blogsite devoted to the storied (and multi-imaged) history of the Vancouver jazz scene. http://vancouvervintage.blogspot.com/ It’s a fabulous resource that he’s building partly in honour of his late dad but mainly in recognition of what was (and still is) one of the greatest jazz scenes in North America. Guy had much of the material up on You Tube but was shut down. I’ll let him tell the story Read more…
“To advocate, mentor, educate, and act as a resource for the community of musicians and music lovers who share a passion for jazz in its many forms.”
Until last year, I didn’t have a clue what U-JAM was. I’d see their monthly meeting listed on the Hermann’s calendar and wonder about it but never follow up. Then came an assignment from Monday Magazine that led to a conversation with Dave Paulson, a key figure on Victoria’s music scene for many years, and one of the founders of U-JAM.
Paulson enlightened me and not long after that I joined the society, seeing in it Read more…
Unhappy with the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) study reported recently in The Wall Street Journal that found the jazz audience on the decline in the U.S.,(see Can Jazz Be Saved? ), a group of jazz journalists, broadcasters and advocates has launched a grass roots Twitter campaign to prove the study wrong.
The idea is to get people attending live jazz events over the next few weeks to report on the performers they hear and Read more…
and we’re not talking about chord progressions…
Change is definitely in the air as we leave the summer festival season behind and anticipate a fall of great improvisational music. There’s lots going on – some that can be reported now and some later – but rest assured Island Jazz will do what it can to keep you informed.
Along those lines, we want you (particularly musicians and producers) to keep us informed as well. You’ll notice we’ve launched a new interactive Events Calendar that can be accessed at the top of the page. It’s interactive in the sense that jazz musicians and jazz event producers will be able to list their own gigs. Our hope is it will become a one-stop calendar for all the jazz happening in our region. Time will tell. We’re running it as a trial for August and September but hope to make it permanent soon. Stay tuned (and if you have an upcoming gig in our area (Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands primarily) do get it on the calendar – that’s the only way it will work.
Other changes are in the works at Island Jazz. What started as Read more…
Now, there’s a provocative title – and one that I stole in part from a recent Vancouver Jazz Forum thread which in turn lifted its title from an article by Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal that claims jazz may be in serious trouble if recent statistics are any indication of its declining popularity.
Teachout cites a number of statistics from a National Endowment of the Arts survey that he says Read more…
Just a quick note highlighting a couple of not-to-be-missed jazz events this weekend:
The first is Anne Schaefer’s appearance with Scott White (bass) and Kelby MacNayr (drums). Schaefer is a completely original vocalist and multi-instrumentalist well worth hearing. Her original compositions defy categorization, embracing as they do, jazz, roots and world music. She’ll be presenting material from her soon-to-be-released (we hope!) new album The Waiting Room. Her debut recording of a few years ago (12 Easy Pieces) received rave reviews across the country. Go hear Anne live and help get the new one out. Hermann’s, Saturday, October 22 at 8pm. $10 cover.
The second is the Brio Trio with special guest Monik Nordine on saxophone, James McRae (drums), Marisha Devoin (bass) and James Darling (piano). They’ll be featuring the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim as played by Joe Henderson. With Nordine on sax, this is sure to be a great show. Nordine is a formidable player now living in Nanaimo whom Victoria audiences don’t get to hear often enough. Here’s your chance. Hermann’s, 8pm, Sunday, August 23. $10 cover.
– Rick Gibbs
Jazz in the Garden 2009
Phil Dwyer and the folks at Milner Gardens did a superb job producing this year’s Jazz in the Garden, now the flagship event of the newly established Phil Dwyer Jazz Festival. Dwyer’s own status as a highly respected Canadian musician allowed him to attract some of the best talent on the continent, from the rapidly-rising Amanda Tosoff Quartet, to the likes of Don Thompson, PJ Perry, and Michel Donato – not to mention scoring Paul Grant as emcee for this year’s event. The weather was perfect, the crowd huge, and the music superb. As well, CBC radio recorded a segment for later broadcast on Hot Air. Jazz fans on Vancouver Island are truly blessed to have such high quality jazz events. Kudos to all involved.
Retired CBC Hot Air host Paul Grant was a more-than-fitting emcee. Grant opened the afternoon by remarking that he had emceed the Kaslo Jazz Festival for a number of years and always thought it had the most spectacular outdoor setting. However, looking around him at the west coast beauty of Qualicum’s Milner Gardens, he said, “I think you’ve got them beat.”
Phil Dwyer paid tribute to Grant by noting all the fine years of radio Grant has produced and adding that he’d personally listened to Hot Air since he was about eight years old. For his part, Grant said that the first time he met Dwyer in person, Dwyer had scatted the entire Hot Air theme for him. “He won my heart from that day forward.”
The Amanda Tosoff Quartet with special guest Ingrid Jensen
The Amanda Tosoff Quartet from Vancouver, this year’s winner of the GM Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival, opened the show with a superb set of mostly original tunes that more than demonstrated that jazz is in good hands with fine young musicians like pianist Tosoff, bassist Sean Cronin, drummer Morgan Childs, and saxophonist Evan Arntzen. The thrilling trumpet and flugelhorn work of Ingrid Jensen helped this group soar.
The Marc Atkinson Trio
Jazz in the Garden proved to be the debut gig for The Marc Atkinson Trio’s new rhythm guitarist, Michael Hamilton, originally of the String Bustin’ Cats. He’s so new, in fact, that Atkinson said they’d had time for only one rehearsal. It didn’t seem to matter, though, as this venerable gypsy jazz group, anchored by Joey Smith on bass, cooked on a mix of standards and Atkinson originals.
The Seamus Blake Quartet with Phil Dwyer
Saxophonist Seamus Blake remarked that when he was growing up in Vancouver, Phil Dwyer was his idol. He remembers being a 15 year old watching Dwyer, who was then about 19, perform with the likes of Hugh Fraser. Blake said he’d go home after the gig, pick up his student saxophone, stand in front of the mirror, and wish that he could play as well. For his part, Dwyer acknowledged Blake’s remarkable development as a player, to the point where he is now making his mark in New York City. Blake said this was only the second time the two have ever played together and so he was pretty excited to have Dwyer (on piano) be part of his quartet. With the addition of Ken Lister on bass and Jon Wikan on drums, the group delivered a killer set. Paul Grant summed it up at the end by saying, “Not enough!” to a cheer from the crowd. Alas, no encore ensued since there was a still another group to be heard. However, this set was recorded by CBC radio and will be broadcast on Hot Air sometime in the fall.
The Canadian Jazz All-Stars with Vocalist Joani Taylor
As Paul Grant said when he introduced the group, the label “all-star” shouldn’t be used lightly. With over 120 years of experience at the top of the jazz world between them, PJ Perry, Don Thompson, and Michel Donato certainly qualify for the term. And they lived up to their title, delivering a lively set of bebop standards and original tunes capped by a performance from Joani Taylor that demonstrated she still has much of the power and expressiveness that made her one of the most respected vocalists on the Canadian scene.
You can see more photos at the new Island Jazz Flickr site here:
From a PJ Perry Talk to a Noah Becker Jam There’s Enough Jazz Happening To Make You Wish You Could Be in Two Places at Once
Jazz fans on the Island have a lot to choose from over the next few days. Here’s a quick rundown.
If you are in the Qualicum area this weekend, be sure to make your way to The Qualicum Beach Community Hall on Saturday afternoon to hear PJ Perry talk about his life in music ($10 – 2-3:30pm) and to The Old School House to hear Don Thompson present a “Words and Music” workshop in which he will discuss his approach to playing and composing ($10- 4:30- 6pm).
On Saturday evening at the Qualicum Beach Community Hall, Phil Dwyer’s top level college students present their windup concert following their week-long jazz camp. These are some of the best young players in Canada and the US and are well worth hearing ($10 – 7:30 pm).
All three of the above events Read more…
One the most anticipated and best attended jazz events on Vancouver Island is finally here: the annual Jazz in the Garden concert at Milner Gardens near Qualicum Beach.
The Phil Dwyer-organized event gets underway at noon on Sunday, August 16, under what are forecast to be sunny skies in one of the most spectacular outdoor music settings imaginable, a 28-hectare garden and woodland paradise overlooking Georgia Strait.
I attended the event for the first time last year as part of an assignment for Coda Magazine, and all I can say to jazz fans on southern Vancouver Island and the mainland is don’t let the Malahat or the Strait of Georgia get in your way.
Once again Dwyer has assembled a stellar cast of musicians, including Read more…