Jazz Around the Island (March 19-28)
Two major jazz events are happening in Victoria this weekend. The first is an appearance by Vancouver vocalist June Katz at Hermann’s on Saturday night (March 20) with Hugh Fraser (piano), Dan Brubeck (drums), Ron Thompson (bass), Noah Becker (saxes), and Lorae Farrell (trumpet). Billed as “Romancing the Seasons,” the show will feature seasonal tunes from Katz’s latest album to celebrate the arrival of the vernal equinox. Katz, of course, is a highly respected jazz vocalist who has been on the Vancouver scene since 1973 and helped “school” a veritable who’s who of young west coast jazz artists over the years. (8 pm/ $20).
The second is a jazz vespers appearance by the Brooke Maxwell Seven at the Church of the Advent in Colwood on Sunday evening (March 21). Contrary to the name, the group is actually a trio featuring Maxwell on vocals, sax, and keyboards, Joey Smith on bass and Kelby MacNayr on drums. It might as well be a septet since Maxwell has the energy and versatility to make up for the four musicians who aren’t there. (7 pm/ freewill offering).
In other news, there’s still a few seats available for trombonist Ian McDougall’s Jazz at the Gallery appearance next Sunday, March 28 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. McDougall will be appearing in a quartet featuring Jodi Proznick on bass, Craig Scott on drums and Ron Johnston on piano. Like the two previous Jazz at the Gallery shows, this one promises to be a stellar concert in the intimate setting of the Spencer Mansion. (2 pm/ $23 & $25). Phone the Gallery to reserve (250 384-4171 ext. 0).
Drummer James McRae’s Nanaimo-based Brazilian group The Big Bossa has three performances set for next weekend. They appear at Hermann’s in Victoria on Friday, March 26 (8 pm); at the Red Martini Grill in Nanaimo on Saturday, March 27 (8 pm); and at the Elks Hall Jazz Club in Courtenay on Sunday, March 28 (7:30 pm). McRae’s dynamic octet includes young performers as well as seasoned veterans and offers new takes on seminal compositions by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. More info at theiconoclast.com
Other upcoming events worth taking in include U-JAM’s annual general meeting at the Victoria Golf Club on Friday, March 26 (6pm) with performances that will include the Young Jazz All Stars starting at 7 pm. The Flora Scott Quartet appears at Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay on Saturday, March 27 (4:30 pm).