Home > Events, Interviews > Exclusive Island Jazz Interview with Guitarist Marc Atkinson

Exclusive Island Jazz Interview with Guitarist Marc Atkinson

April 23, 2009

atkinson_trio_07_hires1Guitarist Marc Atkinson is one of the most successful jazz/roots/world music players to emerge from the Victoria scene. Now living on Hornby Island and touring internationally, Atkinson keeps stretching the boundaries of his own remarkable musicianship with various projects, including a brand new electric band. Island Jazz had the opportunity to sit down with Atkinson (virtually speaking) and ask him a few questions about his influences and his latest projects.

1. What are your most important influences and how has each one been significant in your development as a musician?

Well, that’s a big question because my influences are ever-changing, yet they remain a part of my musical endeavors no matter how long ago the particular phase was my focus. For example, I grew up on Led Zeppelin and Bach, became introduced to Miles Davis and Pat Metheny, and have always listened to new groups such as Radio Head, and old groups such as The Hot Club of France. I am a big fan of Tarraff De Hadouks, Jaco Do Bandolim and many other world groups. In short, I listen to all types of music and take from it whatever moves me. My own individual sound takes shape as I compose. I like to create different projects to compose for to satisfy my musical desires: Ei, my trio, The Bills, and now my electric group.

2. How does your early career in Victoria inform what you are doing now?

Victoria is a fantastic town to be a musician in. I logged many hours playing in and around all the different venues and was fortunate to connect with many great players there. Once I started releasing albums, I began to tour and therefore stopped playing primarily in Victoria, perhaps making room for the next batch of musicians to enjoy the same fortune I had. It seems that in Victoria most of the musicians I have connected with have the same interest in playing many styles of music –not just scratching the surface but really diving into it. As a result, there is a great roots, jazz, and celtic thing going on there.

3. How has your trio evolved over time?marc-atkinson1

I like to think that each album led to the next in a natural way. The first recording represented the kind of tunes we were playing in and around town and the second was definitely a reaction to suddenly playing soft-seat theaters. People were listening and we found poetic license. The third recording combined the two with further confidence and the fourth album was a return to my earlier days of guitar playing in that I do a lot more finger picking. Perhaps it is more of a ‘guitar’ album and less of a gypsy influenced sound. When I play live, I get to pick and choose on a whim my faves from the 48 recorded tunes.

4. What are your current goals for the trio?

My goal at this time is to continue to find great opportunities to play music in quality venues. We have begun touring in the UK and plan to play more often in the US. We are beginning to be invited to guitar festivals as far away as Australia and this is exciting for us. As far as recording again, I have a plan to change it up and perhaps do a quartet! I like the challenge of writing, so this will keep it fresh. Not sure what the fourth instrument will be yet. Maybe the kazoo.

5. What is your electric band project all about and why did you decide to head in this new direction?
I have never let my Gibson or Tele gather dust. I have been waiting for the right time and musicians to come along: Bill Hicks on drums, Chad Geekie on Rhodes and Hammond and the great Joey Smith on an electric 5 string bass. I am currently focused on writing the music for a CD perhaps to be recorded in January. This project just started. We have only played once and rehearsed once but it feels great. I am very excited. It is groove based in that you can alway tap your toe or dance, yet we stretch out quite far with the improv. It’s quite a lot like my trio melodically and feelwise but big sounding. We even do a couple of the tunes from the trio repertoire. We debut at the Royal Theatre for the Victoria Jazz festival. Should be fun. There will be some sound samples on my website soon.

Marc Atkinson will appear with his trio at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney on Friday, May 1 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $18 for students. For more information and to reserve seats call (250) 656-0275

You can learn more about Marc Atkinson, hear some of his music, and sign up for his free newsletter at www.marcatkinson.com

© 2009 Rick Gibbs and Island Jazz
Categories: Events, Interviews
  1. Rick Gibbs
    April 28, 2009 at 2:51 am

    The Victoria Event Centre
    2-1415 Broad Street
    Victoria, BC V8W 2B2
    (250) 380-1280

  2. Donna Mac
    April 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Please advise the address of the Victoria Event Centre for Sat. May 2nd for Marc A and Emily B
    Thanks D

  3. Tina Talbot
    April 24, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Marc Atkinson is great and will be a special guest with Emily Braden and The Deepdowns at the Victoria Event Centre on Saturday, May 2nd. Tickets ($15) are available at Lyle’s Place.
    Also, it’s funny Marc should mention kazoo, I am going to see Emily Braden play the kazoo at Hermanns tonight!

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