Musicians and promoters can now post their own jazz events on the site by clicking on “Calendars and Upcoming Gigs” (above) where jazz fans can view them.
May always seems to be a good month for jazz on the Island. Here’s a few noteworthy upcoming shows:
The Crofton Hotel Pub continues its weekly series just a stone’s throw from the Salt Spring Island ferry terminal on Sunday, May 19 with an appearance by Courtenay-Comox vocalist Dale Graham backed by a quartet featuring Rick Husband on guitar, Mike Eddy on keyboards, Don McKay on electric bass and Ron Joiner on drums. (2-5 pm, $10).
Kelby MacNayr’s Art of the Trio series welcomes Juno-winners Phil Dwyer(sax/piano) and Ken Lister (bass) to Hermann’s on Friday, May 17. The trio will explore new selections from the Great American Songbook and the legacy of great saxophone and piano performers including John Coltrane, Bill Evans and more. (8pm,$20,$18, $15)
The Barracuda Saxophone Quartet (Monik Nordine, Tom Ackerman, Chris Watt and Rainer Roth) will be joined by Pablo Cardenas on piano and Petra Kixmoller doing spoken word to perform The Threepenny Opera at Merlin’s Sun Theater, 1983 Fairfield Road on Saturday, May 18th 7:30pm. $20/$22 contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Vocalist Melinda Whitaker appears on Friday, May 24th at Hermann’s with guitarist Henry Young. Young is a Vancouver guitarist well known for his work with Nina Simone. Joining Young and Whitaker will be the Brent Jarvis Trio. (8pm, $25).
There’s lots more great jazz going on. Check the calendars and upcoming gigs page (above) for more info.
In my previous story on the Ken Lister CHLY (Nanaimo) interview, I reported that Kerilee McDowall founded the CFUV (Victoria) show Rhythm-a-ning.
According to Arnold van Klaveren, the show’s host, that information is incorrect. Van Klaveren says he originated his show on CFUV in Victoria in April 1989 and at the time there was no other show of that name being broadcast by CFUV.
I’ve corrected the Lister story and apologize for any confusion.
I’ve been meaning for a long time to highlight Kerilie McDowall’s jazz radio show Rhythm’a'ning broadcast in Nanaimo on CHLY.
What better occasion than her two hour interview with bassist Ken Lister recorded on April 29. It’s a great interview with a wonderful mix of music. I encourage you to have a listen.
McDowall, a former jazz guitarist and composer, describes her show as an eclectic mix of new sounds with “fun ventures into the past.” You can tune in live on Mondays from 5-7 pm at 101.7 FM in Nanaimo or on the internet at www.chly.ca
There’s a lot of great jazz happening on the Island this weekend. Here’s a sample:
Acclaimed Montreal saxophonist Joel Miller brings his award-winning sound to Hermann’s in Victoria on Sunday night (8pm, $15 with a discount for VJS members), where he’ll feature tunes from Swim, which has just won an East Coast Music award for best jazz album of the year and a Juno for best contemporary jazz album. Christine Jensen, Miller’s wife, will also appear, playing tunes from her own Juno-winning album Treelines. Kelby MacNayr and Sean Drabitt complete the quartet. Don’t miss this one. More info here.
Speaking of saxophonists, Wayne Kozak, well known for his work with Powder Blues and an in-demand Vancouver session player since the 1970s (Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight among others) brings his formidable jazz chops to the Crofton Hotel Pub and its newly-minted jazz series. Joining Kozak is a who’s who rhythm section that includes Ken Lister on bass, Buff Allen on drums and Thomas Kinzel on piano. This one happens on Sunday from 2-5 pm. $10 cover.
Hermann’s also hosts a tribute to Sonny Rollins Friday night with the Andrew Greenwood Quartet and a CD release concert on Saturday night featuring the Tim Johnson Quintet. More info here.
I’ll leave you with a video featuring Joel Miller in conversation and in the studio recording his latest album.
This weekend will be a jazz guitar lover’s dream with not one but four accomplished guitarists appearing in Victoria on Sunday.
First up is ”The Great Guitars,” a dynamic three-generation trio of Oliver Gannon, Rob Cheramy, and Quinn Bachand put together for U-JAM’s Jazz at the Gallery series Sunday afternoon at 2 pm at the Victoria Art Gallery ($30).
Gannon, of course, has been a fixture on the Vancouver jazz scene since the 1970s, best known for his celebrated collaborations with saxophonist Fraser MacPherson that included three tours of the USSR, but admired throughout the land by those who acknowledge him as one of the top players in the country, and strongly suspect if he had emerged on the New York scene, he would have been a household name. (Gannon’s playing even caught the ear of the great Joe Pass who, overhearing him in Vancouver years ago, asked “Who is that guy playing guitar?”)
Rob Cheramy has been around just as long in Victoria, working with the likes of Tommy Banks, Herb Ellis, Paul Horn and Roy Reynolds and well known as the teacher of hundreds of aspiring guitarists through his private teaching and his work on the jazz faculty at the Victoria Conservatory.
Quinn Bachand, the youngest member of the trio, is a Victoria prodigy, fluent on guitar, banjo, bouzouki and fiddle. Still in his teens, Bachand has toured internationally with Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, and has been called by MacIsaac “Canada’s top Celtic guitarist.” But he’s long had a virtuoso jazz streak in him, too, which will be on display Sunday.
The trio will be backed by Joey Smith on bass.
If that’s not enough guitar for you, acclaimed jazz guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/bandleader John Pizzarelli brings his silky smooth quartet to Alix Goolden Hall Sunday night at 7:30 pm ($40) as part of the Victoria Jazz Society’s year-round concert offerings.
Pizzarelli doesn’t need much introduction given that he’s the son of jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli and has swung his way through 40 albums recorded under his own leadership and as a sideman with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, George Shearing, and Paul McCartney.
Pizarelli’s latest project Double Exposure, which will likely be featured in this concert, is an album of pop hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s rendered with the sound of various landmark jazz recordings from the 1950s. (Seals and Crofts’ Diamond Girl, for example, has the sound and feel of Miles Davis’ So What). Pizzarelli got the idea from the albums that were around his house in the late 70s and early 80s – his Dad’s jazz albums and his sister’s pop albums.
Pizzarelli will also give a free jazz workshop at Alix Goolden on Sunday afternoon as part of VJS’s educational outreach.
If you can manage it, I’d say go for both shows. If you can make only one, The Great Guitars will be the more intimate and unique, with the Pizzarelli show reliably smooth and mainstream. Both are well worth the price and your time.
More information on both shows is available at the websites linked above.
I’ve been searching all morning for metaphors that will adequately describe Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson stepping onto coastal BC stages in April to promote their new duo album Look for the Silver Lining.
Given the album’s title and the gravity, imagination, and intelligence each brings to the situation, I think only one will do: it’ll be somewhat akin to attending a spiritual congress featuring the Dalai Lama and Desmund Tutu.
While that’s over the top and will likely embarrass them, the point is you’ll be hard pressed to find two more engaging, authoritative, and respected voices in Canadian jazz.
Together they bring 80 years of world class experience to the music. Thompson, of course, emerged in the sixties playing bass for the likes of John Handy and Paul Desmond. And Dwyer has been on the scene since the mid-80′s when at 19 he joined the Hugh Fraser Quintet and went on to play with Kenny Wheeler, Renee Rosnes and, of course, Don Thompson.
Both are multi-instrumentalists, respected composers and arrangers, and Juno award-winners. More important for an audience, when just one of them steps on the bandstand, the level of the music kicks up three, four or five notches. Put two of them up there – particularly with the freedom afforded by a duo setting and their 30 years of musical friendship – and you’ll experience unprecedented beauty, imagination, and swing.
All three qualities are apparent on the album. I’ve enjoyed a few truly great duo albums over the years: Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, Jim Hall and Ron Carter, Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden, Fraser MacPherson and Oliver Gannon. This one is right up there with Dwyer playing sax that will make you dance and weep, and Thompson accompanying on piano with the grace, presence, and style that can only come from years of playing with the very best musicians in the world.
It’s a gorgeous album and it’ll be a great tour.
Here are the dates. Check out your local venue for details.
April 12-Victoria GNS school. Dave Paulson/UJAM presenting
April 13-Parksville/Knox United Church
April 15-Powell River/Brooks Secondary School
April 18-Gabriola Island/The Haven
April 19-Mill Bay/Sylvan United Church
April 20-Denman Island/Denman Hall
April 21-Colwood Jazz Vespers
Look for the Silver Lining, featuring ten beautifully rendered standards and dedicated to the memory of Ross Taggart and Ted Godwin, can be purchased directly from Dwyer’s website or at the gigs.