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.
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.
Trombonist Nick La Riviere is back at Hermann’s next Friday with a string-loaded septet that promises a great show. Adrian Dolan, Karel Roessingh, and Damian Graham are just three of the musicians who will help La Riviere serve up his lively sound. He also promises “a very special guest” who usually only plays big theatre gigs. Friday, Feb. 24, 8pm, Hermann’s, Tickets $16 at the door. 250-388-9166 for reservations.
Vancouver vocalist and pianist Flora Ware returns to the Island next week with her unique brand of hip jazz and original soul/pop. I recently
listened to her debut album Insight produced by Rick Kilburn and Peter Berring and I can tell you this lady is good. She’s been compared to Nora Jones but frankly Ware is better, at least on record, with more power and intimacy in her voice. She’s at the Elks Hall in Courtenay on Thursday, Feb. 23, the Duncan Garage Showroom on Friday, Feb. 24, and Hermann’s on Saturday, Feb. 25. All shows are at 8pm. For the Victoria show at least, she’ll be joined by John MacArthur on guitar, Damian Graham on drums, and Victoria-born-and-raised Sam Shoichet on bass. I’d reserve for this one. More info and music samples at her website.
Jazz at the Gallery presents the Tony Westlake Trio in concert on Sunday, February 26 at 2 pm at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The Spencer Mansion offers a beautiful setting for the kind of intimate piano jazz that Westlake will deliver . As Joe Coughlin remarked following his appearance there in January, it’s like attending one of the old salon concerts in the homes of the wealthy. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and you can take in the art as well. Tickets are limited and so get them early. $30/$25 for U-JAM and AGGV members. (250) 384-4171
If you like your jazz with food, a number of weekly restaurant and lounge shows are also happening this month. U-JAM has an excellent calendar on their site listing the venues. Check it out here.
If you are in Nanaimo tonight (Friday, Feb. 17) take in The Marty’s at the Front Street Grill with vocalist Joan Wallace. The Marty’s are Marty Steele on keys, Marty Howe on flute and jazz chromatic harmonica and James McRae on drums. They promise a lively mix of standards, bossa nova, and hot Latin. 8 – 11:30 pm. No cover. If you can’t make it this Friday, or you would like to sit in with the Marty’s, go down to Diners on Tuesday Feb 21st 8:00 to 11:00pm, where they’ll open with a Gershwin set and then host a “Master Jam” at Rendezvous.
Award-winning vocalist Joe Coughlin makes a rare Victoria appearance this Sunday, January 29 from 2-4 pm at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria when he kicks off the 2012 edition of Jazz at the Gallery.
Coughlin will appear in an intimate trio setting with Jodi Proznick on bass and Tony Genge on piano.
A three-time National Jazz Award winner, Coughlin has garnered critical praise around the world and is arguably one of the best interpreters of the American songbook performing today.
The concert is a co-production of the AGGV and U-JAM.
Tickets are $30 ($25 for AGGV and U-JAM members). More info here.