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Salt Spring Jazz Festival Offers Great Local Music Fare This Weekend

June 17, 2009

The fourth annual Salt Spring Jazz Festival kicks off this Thursday, June 18, with a performance by Victoria blues pioneers Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues Band, a group that once shared the stage with the likes of Paul Butterfield, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Muddy Waters, and is now celebrating its 30-year reunion.

The band, which began at the SUB pub at UVic in the early 80’s and went on to become RCA recording artists, reunited in 2004 to promote the release of their retrospective (and still available) CD Bluesography and since then have continued to perform their high-energy, toe-tapping, Chicago-style blues to appreciative audiences.

Uncle Wiggly’s is just one example of the fine local groups performing at the festival over the weekend.  Friday sees Salt Spring Island musicians Billie Woods, Michael Wall and James Cowan perform a Latin jazz concert at Artspring. Three groups appear Saturday, namely Swing Shift, a community jazz big band led by Monik Nordine; the June Katz trio; and Two Much Guitar featuring Canadian guitar legends Oliver Gannon and Bill Coon.  Cuban percussionist Jose Sanchez and his Latin band close the festival on Sunday night.

A jazz jam will also be part of the program on Friday night and Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon will offer a free two-hour jazz guitar workshop on Sunday morning, open to everyone interested in learning more about their approaches to the instrument.

The organizers have put together a very worthwhile festival that focuses on the fine local talent in our area. For more information, visit the Salt Spring Jazz and Blues Society website at http://www.saltspringjazzfest.org/

-Rick Gibbs

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