I learned today from Cory Weeds that The Cellar in Vancouver has a Kickstarter campaign underway to fund an album in honour of the late Ross Taggart. Ross grew up in Victoria and was a huge part of the jazz scene here. I hope that every jazz fan on Vancouver Island will get behind this project. Act now because there are only 22 days left in the campaign and they need your support. Here’s an excerpt from the campaign description:
Jill Townsend Big Band Records Compositions of Ross Taggart
Arranger extraordinaire Jill Townsend will arrange 10 compositions of the late Ross Taggart and record them with her all star big band!
On January 9th, 2013 saxophonist, pianist & composer Ross Taggart succumbed to cancer. Ross’ passing hit the Vancouver, Canadian and North American jazz scenes very hard and his presence has been sorely missed by all. Ross was a larger than life figure, always making people laugh and continuously putting the needs of others ahead of his own. Ross had an instantly recognizable tenor saxophone sound that was big and robust a la Dexter Gordon and his touch on the piano was remarkable. He had the rare gift of making everyone around him play better and sound better and feel better.
Ross left a large legacy of compositions behind that have been played and recorded by many. In collaboration with award winning bandleader Jill Townsend, Cellar Live had the idea of getting Jill to arrange 10 of Ross’ compositions for her big band of which Ross was a founding member, and recording them to make up the big band’s second CD.
You can pledge and read more at Kickstarter.
Because I’m presently working on longer writing projects, including a book on the west coast jazz scene, I’m only occasionally posting updates on current jazz events.
Musicians and promoters can advertise their own performances and events by clicking on “Upcoming Events” (above) and posting a simple blurb or a complete press release in the comments section.
Jazz fans can find out what’s going on by reading those press releases at Upcoming Events and by going to the Calendars page. (The U-Jam calendar link on that page has the most complete listing for Victoria).
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.