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.
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.