Archive for October, 2009

Jazz Around the Island (Oct. 30-Nov. 6)

October 30, 2009 Comments off

Hugh Fraser appears with his quintet at Hermann's this weekend.

The Hugh Fraser Quintet, a Juno-winning bebop group that needs no introduction, appears tomorrow night (Saturday, Oct. 31) at Hermann’s in Victoria (8pm).

On Sunday, Nov. 1, you can catch the Bayside Big Band performing at the St. John’s United Jazz Vespers in Deep Cove (7pm). This 16-piece group started on the Saanich Pennisula in the 1970s and replicates the spirit and style of the swing era dance bands.

Traditional jazz fans won’t want to miss CanUS doing their New Orleans thing with special guest Al Pease at Hermann’s on Sunday, Nov. 1 (4:30pm, $12).

Glenlyon Norfolk School hosts a jazz night at Hermann’s on Tuesday, Nov. 3 starting at 6:00 pm. The show will feature the Glenlyon Norfolk School Senior Combo, Jazz Band and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Also appearing will the the UJAM All-stars, a student group sponsored by the UJAM jazz society, and a professional quartet led by Dave Paulson. Admission by donation. Doors open at 5:00 pm. The show is open to the public and will feature a jam session at the end.

The Cameron Wigmore Quintet appears at the Thursday Night Jazz Club at the Elk’s Hall in Courtenay on Nov. 5 (7:30 pm). Bring your horns since the last set will be a jam.Also on Thursday you can catch the Esquimalt High Jazz band (4:30pm) and the Tom Vickery Trio (8pm) at Hermann’s.

Pianist Brent Jarvis launches his new CD, Daedelus: Poetry by Dorothy Livesay on Friday, Nov. 6 at Hermann’s (8pm). Island Jazz will be profiling Jarvis and his new CD in an article to be posted this week. Stay tuned.

Categories: Events

Jazz Around the Island (Oct. 23-Oct. 28)

October 23, 2009 Comments off
Guitarist Bill Coon performs in Courtenay on Sunday night.

Guitarist Bill Coon performs in Courtenay on Sunday night.

Pianist Ron Hadley appears with Kelby MacNayr and Friends in Victoria tonight (Friday, Oct. 23) at Hermann’s (8pm/$10) and again on Sunday (Oct. 25) as the Ron Hadley Sextet at the The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum (2:30/$15) . In fact the “friends” and the sextet are one and the same with MacNayr on drums, Vancouver’s Rick Kilburn on bass, Roy Styffe on sax, Alfons Fear on trumpet and flugelhorn and Liam Hockley on clarinet. This stellar group will perform Hadley’s original tunes in both shows.

National Jazz Award winning guitarist Bill Coon performs with his trio (Darren Radtke, bass; Bernie Arai, drums) at the Elks Hall in Courtenay on Sunday, October 25 at 7:30pm. Coon is an outstanding guitarist based in Vancouver. Heavily influenced by Jim Hall (he studied with him), Coon plays strikingly original intrepretations of jazz standards and his own compositions. More info here.

Pianist Dave Paulson performs with his trio (Ben Beaudet, guitar; Don Cox, bass) on Saturday, October 24 at Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay as part of their jazz vespers program. (4:30 pm /suggested donation $10). Paulson’s musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, and many others, including vocalist Kurt Elling and composer/pianist David Frishberg. More info here.

U-JAM hosts its monthly event at Hermann’s on Wednesday, October 28 (8pm). Check it out; this is a jazz society dedicated to the local Victoria scene and well worth supporting. More info here.

Big band lovers can catch the Don Leppard Big Band on Saturday, Oct. 24 (3:30pm/$5) and the Monday Night Big Band on Oct. 26 (8:30pm/$10), both at Hermann’s in Victoria.

Categories: Events

Building a Thriving Jazz Community: The Georgia Straight Jazz Society Knows How to Get It Done

October 22, 2009 Comments off
The Georgia Straight Big Band is just one of the groups encouraged by the Georgia Straight Jazz Society

The Georgia Straight Big Band is just one of the groups developed by the Georgia Straight Jazz Society

The Comox Valley’s Georgia Straight Jazz Society (GSJS) could teach a lot to jazz societies across the country.

While many such organizations fall into the trap of promoting touring acts over local players, the 150 member GSJS has found a way to encourage both and is quickly becoming one of the most dynamic and successful promoters of jazz in our region.

Founded in 2006 by a small group of volunteers, the non-profit GSJS runs a weekly jazz club in Courtenay that regularly sees up to 90 people filling the Elks Hall to hear local groups. It also offers a highly successful annual concert series featuring touring players, and has developed educational initiatives such as a bursary fund and youth “big band challenge” that encourage the development of young talent in the region.

“It’s all about maintaining relationships with local players.”

As well, GSJS has forged relationships with local businesses and with players from around the island (including Campbell River, Parksville-Qualicum, Nanaimo, and Port Alberni), and it has launched a community big band which now functions as a separate entity under the direction of Greg Bush from Vancouver Island University.

The Society also maintains Read more…

Categories: Profiles

Jazz Around The Island (Oct. 15-22)

October 15, 2009 Comments off

The Big Bossa - Oct16 Poster The Big Bossa, an eight piece ensemble featuring the music of Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim, performs Friday night (Oct. 16) at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria (8pm/$10).

James McRae, the group’s music director, notes that although Jobim had a huge influence on jazz beginning in the late 1950’s when Joao Gilberto first performed his work (followed by the likes of Stan Getz,Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald among others), contemporary audiences aren’t necessarily aware of just how interesting and challenging his music is.

McRae says that the songs seem simple but are actually very difficult to play, in part because of their harmonic and rhythmic complexity. As well, most audiences know tunes like The Girl from Ipanema (made famous by Getz, Joao Gilberto and vocalist Astrid Gilberto in a 1960’s recording), but aren’t necessarily aware of other even more interesting works like The Waters of March.

The Big Bossa hopes to shed more light on the depth and scope of Jobim’s work by performing some of these lesser known tunes, along with more familiar compositions.

Performing with McRae (drums) are Dan Craven(sax), Phil Hamelin(trumpet and piano), Darren Nilsson(trombone), Andrew Osborne  (vocals),  Nicolas Sheasgreen (bass), Brad Shipley (guitar), and Gillian Stone (vocals).  More info here.

Much-heralded Toronto jazz vocalist Cara Matthew appears Sunday night at Hermann’s (8pm $15) with Atilia Fias (piano) and Richard Brisco (drums). Matthew sings contemporary tunes by the likes of Elton John, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell, fusing pop classics with jazz and blues, creating her own unique interpretations.

Her debut album Make You Feel My Love was released in August.  She’s currently on tour across the country promoting the album. More info here.

The Island Big Band is scheduled to perform Monday night (Oct. 19) at Hermann’s with saxophonist Noah Becker slated for a show on Wednesday night Oct. 21).  The Tom Vickery Trio and the Esquimalt High Jazz Band perform on Thursday (Oct. 22).  For more details check the  Hermann’s website here.

Tonight at the Elk’s Hall Jazz Club in Courtenay, you can catch the Dan Craven Octet (7:30 – 10 pm) and Sunday night Jazztet appears at The Griffin Pub in Comox (5-9 pm).

– Rick Gibbs

Categories: Events

Jammin’ with U-JAM

October 8, 2009 Comments off

U-Jam (Universal Jazz Advocates and Mentors’ Society) has announced a new series of jam sessions designed for amateur musicians wanting to learn the art of  improvisation.

Held once a month at the Tom Lee Music Recital Hall in Colwood, the sessions provide the opportunity for interested players to participate in small ensembles led by  mentors.  All ages, instruments, and abilities are welcome.

The sessions are free with an annual U-JAM membership ($10).

The next session is Monday, October 19, 7-9 pm.  For more information go to

– Rick Gibbs

Categories: Events
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