Trombonist Nick La Riviere returns to Hermann’s on Friday April 1 (8 pm) with his highly original septet, featuring strings (2 violins and a cello), trombone, conch shell, a rhythm section (Karel Roessingh, piano; Joey Smith, bass; and Damian Graham, drums), and an appearance by vocalist Aurora Scott.
La Riviere, never one to produce a stale show, has written new music and arranged other material specifically for this performance. He promises a vibrant mix of standards, funk, Latin and “even bit of humour.” Don’t be surprised if he pulls out a smoke machine and a disco ball. (It could happen – you read it here first).
Should be a good show. Reservations recommended. 250 388-9166. Tickets $15. www.NickLaRiviere.com
We all enjoy summer jazz festivals but one of their shortcomings is the void they leave during the rest of the year. We have our own world class local players performing year round but where are the greats in the mix? Where’s the cross fertilization?
Allison Piano is sponsoring a jazz series in April that corrects that imbalance. Legendary New York tenor saxophonist Houston Person will appear with Miles Black (piano), Jodi Proznick (bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums) on Monday, April 25 at the Belfry Arts Centre in Victoria (7:30 pm) and again on Tuesday, April 26 – this time with Phil Dwyer taking the piano seat – at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo (7:30 pm).
We’re all guilty of overusing the term “legend” but in Houston Person’s case it really is deserved. He’s recorded more than 75 albums as a bandleader on major labels, and he toured, recorded, and performed for years with the great jazz singer Etta Jones (not to be confused with the popular singer Etta James). His list of credits also includes Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Joey DeFrancesco and Ron Carter.
Person is known as a soulful, passionate, melodic player with huge audience appeal. He prefers to play music that people can connect with emotionally rather than cerebral, elitist jazz that appeals to just a few. In a 2004 All About Jazz interview he summed it up by saying, ” … the only real barometer that you have is the people, and I realized that a long time ago.”
My own experience with Houston Person’s music is an appearance he made in Victoria some years ago with Hugh Fraser, and a duo album he recorded with bassist Ron Carter (Just Between Friends), which has become one of my favourite recordings. Based on those listening experiences, all I can say is don’t miss him – he’s a phenomenal player who will leave you feeling really good and deeply in love with jazz all over again.
And speaking of phenomenal musicians, the Allison Piano series opens with a unique “twin grand piano” appearance featuring Louise Rose and Miles Black at the Belfry Arts Centre on Monday, April 18 at 7:30 pm. It’s pretty rare to experience a duo piano show of any sort – let alone two musicians of this calibre seated at grand pianos on the same stage. Highly recommended.
Tickets for all the shows are available at Allison Piano(250 384 3935). Or you can contact The Belfry Arts Centre (250 385 6815) or the Port Theatre in Nanaimo (250 754-8550).
You can read the full All About Jazz interview with Houston Person here.