The good folks at Allison Piano are carrying on their legacy of hosting great jazz pianists in Victoria.
This Friday, February 1st at 7:30 pm they welcome Toronto native Jamie Reynolds on a Canada-wide tour in support of his debut album Time With People.
Bassist Gary Wang and drummer Eric Doob, also rising young talents on the New York scene, will join Reynolds.
Reynolds’ album features a dozen original compositions that have already received strong reviews in Downbeat Magazine and All About Jazz.
A listen on Reynold’s website reveals melodic, reflective, and deeply personal material, somewhat reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, that should suit the intimate Allison Piano venue perfectly.
A number of the compositions, including “Ideas of North” and “Locks” are inspired by Reynold’s memories of growing up in Canada.
The album, by the way, is released on Fresh Sound, the Spanish label responsible for recordings by Kurt Rosenwinkel, Seamus Blake, and a host of other young jazz stars, as well as reissues of classic albums from the 40s, 50s and 60s.
It’s going to be a tough call on Friday night with a gypsy jazz tribute featuring Quinn Bachand, Richard Moody, Joey Smith, and Reuben Weir heating up Hermann’s at 8pm, but based on what I’ve been hearing on Reynolds’ website, I think I’m heading for the show at Allison’s.
If you are torn, you can always catch Reynolds for the first set and then head over to Hermann’s later. The tickets are reasonable for both shows and are available at the usual outlets.
There’s a host of great jazz and jazz events to choose from as we close out the month of January. Here’s a sampling:
VJS presents the Morgan Childs Quartet: BC native Morgan Childs is on tour in BC with his Toronto-based quartet and appears at Hermann’s this Friday night at 8pm. Childs’ group features three Toronto musicians with impressive pedigrees: saxophonist Kelly Jefferson fronts the group, with former Boss Brass pianist Dave Restivo and one of Toronto’s most in-demand bassists, Jon Maharaj. Tickets: $15.00 incl. HST Advance/VJS Member ($18.00 incl. HST @ the door). I believe he has up-island dates to0 but haven’t been able to find them! Check local listings.
Art of the Trio and solo performance with pianist George Colligan: The acclaimed Portland/NYC based pianist George Colligan returns to Victoria for two shows this Saturday, January 26. At 4 pm he’ll do a solo performance at Allison Piano (2328 Government St. $20.adults/$10. students) and in the evening he’ll appear at Hermann’s in an Art of the Trio show with percussionist Kelby MacNayr and bassist Sean Drabitt ($20/18 (VJS, Ujam, Tango Soc) $15 student). Retain your ticket from the solo show and get 50% off the evening performance.
Post-Apocalyptic Saxophone with Monik Nordine: No, this isn’t another prediction about the end of the world delivered to saxophone music. It’s saxophonist Monik Nordine’s take on the unique history of the saxophone and its sonic and acoustic possibilities that will include a demonstration by the Camosun Saxophone Quartet. It’s free. Thursday, January 31, 2013 Noon – 1pm (Wood Hall Auditorium),Victoria Conservatory of Music.
Jazz Vespers in Mill Bay with Pablo Cardenas: Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay offers a serene and scenic performance space for The Pablo Cardenas Fusion Ensemble featuring Pablo Cardenas piano, Peter Dowse on electric bass and Kelby MacNayr on drums. They’ll take you on a journey from Gospel to Classical, Latin and World music fused with jazz. Saturday January 26, at 4:30 pm – Admission by suggested donation of $10 985 Shawnigan Mill Bay Rd. Info: Pat Selman 250-743-4301
Jazz at the Gallery with Phil Dwyer: As mentioned in a previous post, the fourth season of Jazz at the Gallery gets underway this Sunday with a performance by the great Phil Dwyer. See the previous post for details.
Jazz at the Gallery, a joint venture of U-JAM and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV), begins its fourth season on Sunday, January 27 at 2 pm with a performance by multiple Juno Award-winning pianist/saxophonist Phil Dwyer, accompanied by bassist John Hyde and percussionist Hans Verhoeven.
As U-JAM’s Dave Paulson reports in a recent press release, Dwyer burst on the Canadian jazz scene when he was still in his teens, causing Mark Miller, the Globe and Mail jazz critic for many years, to declare that he startled jazz audiences with his “unprecedented command of both tenor saxophone and piano” and with his “extraordinarily authoritative playing” setting the country on its ear.
Years later Dwyer continues to startle and inspire audiences with his phenomenal command of both instruments and his profound musicality. This promises to be one of the best concerts in the history of the series and is sure to sell out.
U-JAM and Art Gallery members enjoy a discounted ticket price of $25.00. The regular price is $30. Tickets 250-384-4171 ext. 0. Tickets include admission to the Gallery’s exhibits on the day of the performance.
For those who didn’t see it, here’s the obituary for Ross Taggart that appeared in the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper today:
January 16, 2013
TAGGART, Ross Thomas Died surrounded by family and close friends on 9th January 2013 after a brave and gallant struggle with kidney cancer. He was 45. Born in Victoria, BC, Ross showed great interest in music from an early age. At 18, he moved to Vancouver and embarked on a free lance jazz career, eventually becoming a prominent and beloved figure on the North American jazz scene. Ross lived generously and compassionately; he loved with an open heart, always, and appreciated the truly valuable things in life – art, music, drama, good food, the beauty of nature, friends and family. His unique sense of humour meant he carried the gift of laughter wherever he went. Those of us fortunate enough to have known him will miss him more deeply than words can express. His loss will also deeply affect the Vancouver/Vancouver Island jazz community whose steadfast devotion was a comfort to both Ross and his family during these dreadful last three months. In addition, family and friends alike are very grateful to the truly extraordinary Palliative Care Team at Vancouver General Hospital. A service celebrating Ross’s life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday 19th January at Cordova Bay United Church, 813 Claremont Ave. Joy he gave; joy he has found.
A memorial for saxophonist and pianist Ross Taggart is planned for Saturday, January 19 at 1 pm at Cordova Bay United Church, 813 Claremont Ave., in Saanich.
Ross’s life will be celebrated through a service and with music from his fellow musicians.
Everyone is welcome.
Radio shows in Victoria and Vancouver are dedicating their broadcasts this week and next to the memory of saxophonist and pianist Ross Taggart who died of cancer yesterday in Vancouver at age 45.
Shaukat Husain devoted his entire Straight, No Chaser program on Victoria’s CFUV last night to Taggart. In an email sent after the broadcast he wrote, “I’ve just come back from CFUV after doing a two-hour show on dear Ross whom I’ve known since he was 16 years old.” This very personal tribute will be available here in the CFUV archives from January 10-16 if you missed it.
CBC broadcasters Margaret Gallagher and Rick Cluff payed tribute to Taggart this morning on CBC Vancouver’s Early Edition. The show is archived and the tribute begins at the 2:00 hour mark. It includes clips from Campbell Ryga and a wonderful anecdote about Dave Brubeck commenting on Taggart’s playing in which he said “I’m going to have to break his hands. He’s just too good.”
Margaret Gallagher will devote this Saturday’s CBC Hot Air broadcast at 5:05pm to the memory of Taggart.
Ian McDougall Pays Tribute to Ross Taggart (1967-2013) as Remembrances Pour in from across the Country
Trombonist Ian McDougall spoke for hundreds of jazz musicians and thousands of fans on Vancouver Island and across the country this afternoon when he said, “We lost a fantastic man,” referring to the death in Vancouver early this morning of beloved saxophonist and pianist Ross Taggart.
He was speaking on CBC Victoria’s local afternoon radio show All Points West.
Holding back tears, McDougall said Taggart was “one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life,” noting that he was a kind and good man with a wonderful sense of humour he kept even as he was dying of cancer.
“He was one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life.”
McDougall first met Taggart in 1986 when Taggart, about to graduate from Claremont High School in Victoria, came to his house to audition for a big band McDougall was launching at UBC in Vancouver. He recalled Taggart pulling out his tenor sax and blowing a beautiful Coleman Hawkins solo that showed not only his incredible playing skill at a young age but also his deep respect for jazz tradition. “I’ve never forgotten that moment,” said McDougall.
Uncertain if he would get a seat in the band, Taggart then told McDougall he could also play piano just in case he wasn’t good enough on saxophone. McDougall, in fact, was so blown away by his sax playing that he’d already decided to give him a seat. “He was so humble,” said McDougall, adding that he kept that quality throughout his life.
“We lost a fantastic man.”
Taggart went on to play in some of the most influential bands on the west coast, including the Hugh Fraser Quintet, VEJI, and the Ian McDougall Sextet. He studied in New York and Toronto and shared the stage with talents like Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Bud Shank, Phil Woods, Tommy Banks, Rob McConnell, Don Thompson, and Fraser MacPherson.
He also worked with the Arts Club Theatre in productions of “Ain’t Misbehavin”, and “Five Guys Named Moe”, Colin James, the Powder Blues, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, the CBC Radio Orchestra, David Foster and Raffi. He was featured on numerous recordings by other artists as well as at least four of his own as a leader. He was widely regarded as one of the best players in Canada and performed internationally many times.
“A musician we all learned from, a friend we all laughed with.”
The Ottawa Citizen’s Peter Hum reported on his jazz blog today that Taggart got into jazz after hearing an Oscar Peterson recording when he was only 14. He then sold all his rock albums and bought jazz records.
Hum also reported on the many remembrances coming from across the land, including one from Mike Herriott in Toronto that recalled Taggart as “a musician we all learned from, a friend we all laughed with, and one of the most thoughtful people I’ve known.”
CBC music reported saxophone great Campbell Ryga saying he always recognized Taggart’s sound for its “grace, elegance and heart,” as well as his thorough command of “the history of the tenor saxophone.”
CBC’s Hot Air plans a tribute this Saturday at 5:05 (PST) on CBC Radio One and a memorial is planned for later this month in Victoria, Taggart’s hometown. Stay tuned for more info.