Archive for September, 2012

Good News on Two Fronts

September 30, 2012 1 comment

Tony Westlake CD Launch featuring Misha Piatigorsky and Sketchy Black Dog

For those of you eager to get your hands on the CD that Tony Westlake recorded in July and celebrate his life and legacy, make sure you reserve the November 10/11 weekend for a very special concert.

Tony’s wife Elisabeth has sent out the following press release:

Launch of “Listen to Your Heart” CD
Hermann’s Jazz Club
November 10 and 11, 2012

“I am so happy to let you know that Misha Piatigorsky, Chris Wabich and Neil Swainson of Sketchy Black Dog are coming from NY, LA and TO to play Tony’s tunes from his “Listen to Your Heart” album.

The recording session in July was a deeply moving and beautiful experience. I know these three fabulous musicians will recreate that magic for all of us in November. It promises to be a wonderful celebration of Tony’s musical life and legacy. I hope you can be there.

So free up that weekend to be at Hermann’s Saturday and/or Sunday evenings! A huge thank you to Misha who organized the dates at Hermann’s. A trio of cheers for Sketchy Black Dog!

I will let you know as soon as tickets are available. (Gotta make them first!)”

Please note, too, that Arnold Van Klaveren will feature the CD on CFUV’s Rhythm-a-Ning on October 8th from 6 – 8 pm. Tune in at 101.9 or stream it live from the CFUV website.

Ian McDougall 12-tet Concerts on Vancouver Island

The U-JAM jazz society has found a way to bring one of the hottest west coast groups to Vancouver Island – not an easy feat since many of these players live in Vancouver. Here’s what Dave Paulson, who did the lion’s share of the organizing, has to say about the shows in Victoria and Parksville:

“We are very excited to present what I feel is the best in west coast jazz.  Ian has assembled an all star cast including old friends Oliver Gannon and Ron Johnson along with Phil Dwyer, Ross Taggart, Campbell Ryga, and many others.  This is a gathering not to be missed, performing charts specially arranged for the group by Ian and other band members.

Tickets will be available soon for concerts at Alix Goolden Hall on Friday, Nov. 30th, and at Knox United Church in Parksville on Dec. 1st.”
Check the U-JAM website closer to the date for more info.

Categories: Events

Jazz in the Sanctuary

September 21, 2012 Comments off

The Bob Watts Trio is back with a new season of Jazz Vespers at St. Phillip Anglican Church in Oak Bay.  The series kicks off with superb Cuban pianist Pablo Cardenas on Sunday, September 30 at 7:30 pm. A great way to set up your week with quiet reflection and sublime music. Highly recommended!

The Church of the Advent Jazz Vespers in Colwood under the direction of David Enns and Ken Gray is already underway.  Next up is Anne Schaefer on Sunday, October 21 at 7pm. Likewise highly recommended!

Finally, the St. John’s United Jazz Vespers in North Saanich gets underway Sunday, October 14 at 7 pm with Round Midnight. Another great place to enjoy jazz in a quiet, reflective setting.


Categories: Events

The Sorry State of Jazz Funding in B.C.

September 18, 2012 2 comments

It amazes me that so much good jazz can be found in B.C. given the sorry state of arts funding in this province.

BC gives less money per capita to the arts than any other province in Canada.

Yet we have more artists per capita than anywhere else, and Vancouver and Victoria have the highest concentration of all the major urban centers in the country.

You can imagine the effect this imbalance has on our jazz artists, particularly when the limited funds that are available go mostly to the big jazz societies for their once-a-year extravaganzas that are less and less about jazz and more and more about multi-genre music and big name acts.

Our own musicians, relegated to the side stages, see very little of that funding and are generally paid the paltry union scale of about $100 a gig – once a year.

Ian McDougall recently told me that he attempted to get funding from the BC Arts Council to tour his 12tet around the province but was turned down because they don’t fund tours in BC, only in the rest of Canada. The Canada Council has the same policy.

So, a BC jazz band, composed of BC artists, including Juno winners like Phil Dwyer and Campbell Ryga, can’t get money from its own provincial funding body to tour its home province.

Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture?

Contrast this situation with Norway, a country one-third the geographical size of BC with roughly the same population where generous grants go to musicians, venues, and promoters.  The result: Norway boasts over 20 active jazz clubs and has a lively national touring scene – year round.

We could have the same in BC with groups like the Ian McDougall 12tet touring to centers like Penticton, Kelowna, Prince George, and Nelson if the money were there. But it’s not.

The funding bodies will argue that they want their limited funds to promote local artists in the rest of Canada or abroad. Indeed travel grants do allow musicians to tour across the country and sometimes internationally but mounting such a tour is difficult and expensive given our geography. That’s why it doesn’t happen very often – mostly during the jazz festival season.

It would be far better to develop a lively provincial scene that would encourage the establishment of more clubs and create a regular and practical year-round touring route for B.C. artists.

Fortunately, here in Victoria, we do have organizations like U-JAM and the Jazz Vespers folks and Up-Island there’s the Georgia Straight Jazz Society in Courtenay and TOSH in Qualicum. They are doing what they can, but they and others could do a lot more with decent funding.

More on this later.

Categories: General

Tony Westlake 1950 – 2012

September 12, 2012 Comments off

Tony Westlake

I never had the pleasure of meeting Tony Westlake, although I did hear him play at Hermann’s once or twice.  Clearly he was very well loved by the Victoria jazz community.

In his memory I thought I would post a couple of his recordings that are available on You Tube.

I’ve had a query asking whether the CD he recorded in July will be available for purchase. As soon as I have more information, I’ll let you know.  In the meantime enjoy his gentle touch on the piano with these two classic songs:

Categories: General

Joe Coughlin in the Studio

September 11, 2012 Comments off

Joe Coughlin and Miles Black rehearse at the start of their August recording session.

In August I had the privilege of dropping in on two recording sessions with jazz vocalist Joe Coughlin at Electric City Sound here in Victoria. The two-time National Jazz Award winner invited west coast piano sensation Miles Black and Toronto’s Mark Eisenman to join him in the studio for something he’s never done before – record an album of standards with piano and voice only.

Black played for the first two days and then Eisenman, who was on the coast performing with saxophonist Campbell Ryga at MusicFest Vancouver, did the next two. All told they recorded 31 tracks, drawing heavily for material from the legendary duo albums Tony Bennett and Bill Evans recorded in the 1970s.

The results were sensational. Coughlin has never sounded better, with his warm, rich baritone beautifully reproduced by a vintage AKG tube mic on loan from Joby Baker. And with eight mics on the piano, every nuance of the gorgeous Steinway grand provided by Tom Lee Music came through.

Coughlin is busy selecting and mixing the material. Stay tuned for news of an album release.

Categories: General
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