The Harvest of Music Festival in Qualicum Beach, featuring an eclectic mix of music (including lots of jazz) gets underway this Friday, October 2 and runs until Wednesday, October 7. You can view a daily list of events here.
The Marc Atkinson Trio is currently on tour in our area. You can catch this stellar gypsy jazz group on Pender Island this Wednesday, Sept. 30, on Salt Spring Island at the ArtSpring Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 1, and then on Saturna Island on Saturday, Oct. 3. More info can be had here.
In Nanaimo on Friday night, The Big Bossa, an eight piece group led by drummer James McRae, appears at the Red Martini Grill. You can learn more about this group and get more details here.
UJAM kicks off its monthly fall program this Wednesday night (Sept. 30) at Hermann’s with an appearance by Chafafa. More details can be found on the Hermann’s calendar here.
Also, at Hermann’s this week you can catch Read more…
The Gillian Stone Quintet, a mid-Island group featuring Gillian Stone on vocals, Cameron Wigmore on sax, Trevor Davies on guitar, Shawn Daikin on bass and Johnny Lucas on drums, plays at Hermann’s in Victoria on Friday night and the Vault Coffee House in downtown Nanaimo on Saturday.
Also on Saturday you can hear Crossing Borders, a much heralded Canadian-American Read more…
That’s precisely what she’s doing on her current west coast tour promoting her new album Second Side, a recording that was motivated in part by a desire to reach out to a different generation than is normally found in jazz clubs and festivals across the nation.
Disterheft won the Juno in 2008 for the best traditional jazz recording with her album Debut but points out that even that recording was anything but traditional, suggesting that while the new album might seem like a departure, it’s really an evolution. Of Debut she says, “It spans 50s/60s Blue Note to free music to some featured vocalists,” acknowledging,however, that ” it is more in the jazz realm.”
With the Juno came Read more…
Qualicum Beach enjoys one of Vancouver Island’s most innovative and active music scenes, thanks in part to the efforts of musicians like Ron Hadley, who coordinates music programming for The Old School House Arts Centre (TOSH). One of the TOSH programs, the annual Harvest of Music Festival, gets underway on Friday, October 2. Island Jazz sat down with Hadley to learn more about this event, which will feature some class jazz acts, including Phil and Ben Dwyer, the Sara Marreiros Quintet, guitarist Darryl Jahnke, and a special Quintet Concert Tribute to guitarist Wes Montgomery.
1. What is the Harvest of Music Festival?
This year it is six days (October 2-7) of concerts/workshops featuring superb musicians from all over the world in a wide variety of genres. There are noontime concerts, two Saturday afternoon creative dance and mime/masked movement workshops, a Sunday afternoon solo piano recital and special evening events in the gallery of The Old School House Arts Centre. There will also be performances Read more…
Trombonist Nick La Riviere certainly can’t be called conventional or boring.
Take his most recent Trombone Mayhem show at Hermann’s in Victoria. At the beginning of the second set, he called up a special guest guitarist/vocalist who’d been pretending to be an audience member, and the group promptly launched into the “Trombone Mayhem Ultimate Dance Party,” complete with Kool and the Gang, and Earth, Wind and Fire tunes La Riviere had arranged, along with disco lights and a smoke machine that he’d cleverly set up before the show.
Then there’s his music education. These days most aspiring jazz players complete Read more…
Mark DeJong and the Outer Bridge Ensemble appear tonight (Friday, Sept. 18) at Hermann’s in Victoria as part of a Western Canadian tour that is taking them through BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. DeJong is a well-respected tenor saxophonist from Saskatchewan and the Outer Bridge Ensemble a group that originated in New Jersey in 2003. Their album “The Unknown” was nominated this year for a Western Canadian Music Award for the Jazz Recording of the Year. They’ve opened for everybody from Kenny Werner to John Scofield and have made appearances at festivals across the country. Definitely an act to catch. (8pm, Hermann’s, $15 at the door). You can check them out and listen to their music here.
The Church of the Advent in Colwood kicks off its fall jazz vespers season this weekend with the Karel Roessingh Trio, featuring Roessingh on piano, Sean Drabitt on bass, and Josh Dixon on drums. Roessingh is always a class act well worth hearing and there’s no better setting than the relaxed sanctuary in Colwood, where instead of clinking glasses and chatter, you’ll get silence and deep appreciation of the music. If you haven’t taken in a jazz vespers event before, this is a good place to start. It gets underway at 7pm on Sunday. Directions and more info can be had here.
Before jazz vespers on Sunday you can catch three generations of jazz when the Arntzen’s (Lloyd, Tom, Leif, Evan, Miles) appear at Hermann’s. This remarkable musical dynasty from Vancouver will appeal to a wide range of jazz fans. You can read more about them here. (4:30 pm, Hermann’s, $12)
Across the water (almost within shouting distance of Qualicum and Parksville), the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival is happening this weekend. And so, if you’ll be in the Sechelt area, be sure to check it out. Looks like they’ve got a great lineup, including Mark DeJong, Jim Rotondi, Pat Coleman, Laila Biali and much more. More info can be had here.
Even before the recent changes announced to the Canada Council grant system that have raised the concerns of artists like Christine Jensen (see related story), jazz musicians across the country have long struggled with the grant process.
Mounds of paperwork with an uncertain outcome is one of the oft-cited problems. Pianist Brent Jarvis says he spent an entire week putting together a grant application for his most recent recording project but in the end stuffed all that paper in his shredder, after realizing that even if he did get the grant, he couldn’t do the project because it would cost him too much money because of all the Canada Council requirements. He reckons the project would have cost twice what it did using private money, even with the grant in hand.
Another problem is the bizarre Catch-22′s associated with Read more…
Saxophonist/composer Christine Jensen is calling for action against the Canadian government following a recent decision to “redirect” Canada Council funds that were originally dedicated to Specialized Music grants. Jensen is concerned that this decision will further weaken an already fragile creative music industry. The entire text of her letter follows. I encourage you to read it and take action if you see fit.
– Rick Gibbs
I am writing to encourage you to take action against Canada’s government and the massive blow they have dealt to the already fragile creative music industry in Canada by redirecting funding in the Canada Music Fund. This is an especially crippling cut to jazz and improvised music, as the Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Specialized Music recording program is an integral link to the independent artist’s creative output. I am most concerned that the music industry will lose a large portion of creative content with the re-direction of these funds into FACTOR, MUSICACTION, SOCAN, and digital and international market development.
In the past, support from this Canada Council program has given artists like myself the opportunity to employ Canadian musicians, composers, arrangers, recording engineers, producers, recording studios, graphic artists, publicists, photographers, record labels, and agents. This grant program has enabled the artist to present high quality recordings in Canada and abroad to festival programmers, jazz clubs, radio programmers, reviewers, retail outlets and educators, thus allowing us to make strong international presence felt. Please note, the Canada Council’s Grant for Specialized Music Sound Recording program does not fully fund recordings, but allows up to 60% of production costs before the pressing of the CD.
Please send a letter or email to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Heritage Minister James Moore as well as to opposition critics, and your riding MP. If you are in the Montréal area, there is a meeting on September 28 regarding these cuts, organized by le conseil québécois de la musique.
I have also just read and signed the online petition:
“Canadian Recording Arts Grant Cut”
hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
A few highly recommended jazz events in the Victoria area over the next few days:
On Thursday night you can catch the venerable Tom Vickery Trio at work at Hermann’s (8pm). Vickery has been at it for so long at Hermann’s (24 years) with his weekly gig that it’s easy to get complacent about his presence on the scene. We shouldn’t – he’s a dynamic player and always has a few surprises to offer, particularly in the second set when he calls up other artists to sit in.
Saxophonist Noah Becker brings his trio (Sean Drabitt on bass, Matt Pease on drums) to Hermann’s on Friday night (8pm) for a show/jam that promises to kick up more than a bit of improvisational excitement. Becker has played with the best, not only here but also in New York, and he’s a creative tour de force. And since he’s advertising the event as a jam, you can expect a few other notable players to show up that will just add to the fun.
Lorae Farrell and the Hypatia Creative Women’s Jazz Orchestra appears on Saturday night with another of their unique collaborations, this one a tribute to the great Billie Holiday, featuring June Katz on vocals and Ross Taggart on piano. Katz, originally from New York, moved to Vancouver in 1973 and became a major force on the jazz scene both as a performer and mentor to young musicians coming up (including Ross Taggart). This will be Katz’s first show in Victoria in almost two decades – definitely worth checking out.
The Jazz Vespers season gets underway on Sunday at St. John’s United in Deep Cove (7 pm) with an appearance by the Aaron Scoones Quartet (Kelby MacNayr on drums, James Young on bass, and Brooke Maxwell on piano). Scoones is a refreshing young vocalist who studied in Victoria with Louise Rose and in Boston at the Berklee College of Music. He draws his inspiration from singers like Kurt Elling and Bobby McFerrin as well as Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. Local musicians like Ron Hadley and Daniel Lapp have often featured Scoones in their shows and consider him to be a real treasure with deep talent and a warm, engaging stage presence. We’ll likely be hearing a lot more from him since he’s now working on his debut album. Catch him now on the way up.
– Rick Gibbs
Too Much To Do
Nick La Riviere
Reviewed by Jeremiah Sutherland
If Nick La Riviere’s debut release Too Much to Do were a person, you’d want it sitting next to you on plane trip because it’s just so darn entertaining. The album is exuberant, multi-faceted, humorous, outgoing and just fun to be around.
La Riviere has worked hard to present previously penned songs in a new light, while showcasing his own songwriting skills. He’s not necessarily breaking any new ground; just carefully and cleverly reworking what’s already out there. This means that the music is accessible for casual jazz fans, while still being of interest to the educated fan or trained musician.
Speaking of musicians, some of the biggest names in West Coast jazz, including Ross Taggart(piano), Jodi Proznick (bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums) lend their skills to this effort. La Riviere plays excellent trombone (and conch shell) on this release and did all the arrangements as well as writing four of the nine tunes.
Interestingly La Riviere also incorporates strings (Cam Wilson and Julian Vitek: violins; Peggy Lee: cello) as key members of the group, writing complex parts for them (as opposed to the typical ‘sweetener” often used in popular music). The end result is very much like the work of Stephan Grappelli.
Kudos to the recording engineer and post-production folks. This is a very well recorded CD. Everything fits beautifully on the acoustic stage and all the instruments come through sweet and clear.
LaRiviere’s album is a well-crafted gem in all respects. Properly promoted and supported, there’s no reason why the CD shouldn’t be showing up in a lot of places.
– Jeremiah Sutherland