In the spirit of giving here’s a few ideas for the jazz fans on your Christmas List:
1. Buy a local jazz album. Here are a few suggestions: Saloon Standard by Joe Coughlin, The Ian McDougall 12tet Live, The Measure of Light by the Kelby MacNayr Quintet Look for the Silver Lining by Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson, Christmas Is by Maureen Washington, Lucky So-and-So by Melinda Whitaker. Those are just a few options. Search your favourite local jazz artist at iTunes or CD Baby and you’ll find many more choices. Ask at Lyle’s or Ditch Records in Victoria and encourage them to stock local players.
2. Buy a ticket to a local jazz event. U-JAM’s Jazz at the Gallery is a good bet and sells out every year. Check out the local jazz vespers series around Victoria as well as the Victoria Jazz Society’s offerings.
3. Take your friends to the annual New Years eve show at Hermann’s featuring the Victoria Jazz All Stars. It’s always packed and a lot of fun.
Because I took an interest in the Jill Townsend/Cellar Live Ross Taggart recording project and a lot of the funding came from Vancouver Island donors, I thought I should draw your attention to the latest Kickstarter update released today. I had begun to wonder if the project had died on the vine, and so it was great to hear that progress has been made thanks to the freedom of the summer and the facilities at the Banff Centre.
Here’s the update from Jill Townsend and Bill Coon and a short video:
“The Leighton Artist’s Colony at the Banff Centre consists of nine private studios, dedicated to writing, painting, music and multidisciplinary arts. In late August, Bill and I spent two amazing weeks in our studio with a grand piano where we worked on arranging several of Ross Taggart’s compositions for the 17-piece large ensemble. We each spent 6 hours or more in the studio every day, trading off every two hours. The opportunity to have this kind of quiet, focussed and uninterrupted time to spend on writing music was absolutely fantastic and the beauty of the surroundings was breathtaking. The writing continues now and throughout the fall season.”
The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Summer Jazz program which begins on July 2nd has a new look. Program coordinator Damian Graham writes the following:
“This summer I am running a Jazz Academy at the VCM. It consists of 4 night classes (5-9pm) with our VCM Faculty (Rob Cheramy, Joey Smith, Monik Nordine, Bruce Hurn, Gergana Velinova and myself) as well as 3 weekend workshops featuring The Chris Sartisohn Group (Django and Beyond) Michael Kaeshammer and Paul Pigat (Blues and the Boogie) and The HiFi (New Orleans Brouhaha).
Along with the classes we will be putting on three concerts featuring the clinicians and some students at Hermann’s and The Metro Theatre.
I am really excited about the talent that has agreed to come on board and share their craft and love of music. We are looking for people with a keen interest in improving their playing and learning hands on about improvising and the history of the music. All ages and skill levels are welcome but a couple years of playing is recommended to get the most out of the classes.”
Here’s a link for more information. The registration deadline is this Friday, June 14.
I asked a few of Victoria’s premier jazz musicians to pick three JazzFest shows they would most recommend. Here are their picks:
Saxophonist Monik Nordine likes
Vijay Iyer Trio
David Murray Infinity Quartet featuring Macy Gray
Vocalist Joe Coughlin chose
And pianist Brent Jarvis picked
With the repeats on Herbie Hancock and Esperanza Spalding (no surprise there) that gives you six surefire shows to add to your must see list for this year’s JazzFest.
No need to wait for JazzFest to hear elite international musicians. Two shows at Hermann’s this week promise performances that will stand with the best.
First up is the Jennifer Scott Jazz Quartet, featuring Scott on vocals and piano, Rene Worst on bass, Monik Nordine on saxophones and James McRae on drums. Scott and Worst are both highly regarded musicians with international reputations. Worst’s performance credits are a mile long and include names like Chet Baker, Ernestine Anderson, David Bowie and Joe Pass. Scott is no slouch herself with major performance credits in the U.S. and Canada that include Clarke Terry and Kenny Wheeler.
The Tom Vickery Trio welcomes saxophonist Mark Lewis to Hermann’s on Saturday night. Lewis has authored more than 1,600 compositions and recorded and produced over 20 albums. He’s played with the likes of Bobby Hutcherson and Randy Brecker and was a regular sub for Stan Getz and John Handy when he lived in San Francisco, putting him in pretty lofty company. 8pm, $10/$15.
Both of these shows are highly recommended.