Archive for November, 2012

Jazz Vespers x 2 This Sunday

November 29, 2012 Comments off

bachand99You’ve got a choice of two great jazz vespers concerts this Sunday evening. Sixteen-year-old celtic guitar sensation Quinn Bachand (Ashley McIsaac) shows off his considerable jazz chops with Oliver Swain on bass and Aaron Watson of Cold Cut combo fame on guitar. From all accounts this kid was born playing great jazz guitar. 7 pm St. John’s United Church on West Saanich Road in Deep Cove. No admission. An offering will be taken to offset the cost of the series.

If you want to get into the holiday spirit a bit early or can’t make it out to Deep Cove, then be sure to catch Tom Vickery on piano with the Bob Watts Trio. They promise a great program of Christmas tunes in a relaxing, contemplative atmosphere at St. Phillip Anglican Church on Eastdowne Rd. in Oak Bay. 7:30 pm. Offerings welcome.

Get out and support the fantastic jazz on offer in Victoria’s church sanctuaries.

Happy 80th Birthday Ed Bickert

November 29, 2012 Comments off

He’s the quiet guitarist that the very best jazz guitarists in the world from Jim Hall to Pat Metheny are in awe of to this day. Although he became a fixture on the Toronto scene starting in the 1950s, like so many Toronto jazz greats, he’s actually from the west, born near Winnipeg and raised in Vernon, where he first picked up a guitar at age 8. Sadly he no longer performs, but we can still enjoy his timeless, tasteful, amazing playing through his recordings and the magic of YouTube. Here he is from the early years with another BC great – Don Thompson on bass and Claude Ranger on drums.  Oh, and here’s a link to a tribute concert recorded earlier this month by the CBC. Happy birthday, Ed.

Jazz Super-Group Performs in Victoria and Parksville

November 26, 2012 1 comment

Vancouver Island audiences are in for a treat this week when the Ian McDougall 12-Tet, a true jazz super-group, performs live in Victoria and Parksville on Friday and Saturday night.

With celebrated veterans like Phil Dwyer, Campbell Ryga, Ross Taggart, Ron Johnston, Ken Lister, Oliver Gannon, Craig Scott, and Brad Turner – not to mention McDougall himself on trombone – this collection of Juno and Grammy award-winning and nominated artists is one of the most talented jazz groups ever assembled on the west coast of Canada.

They first performed in 2010 at the CBC Jazz Festival – where they received rave reviews – and recorded their first album in Vancouver in March of this year.

Most of these musicians live on the Lower Mainland and are performing on the Island thanks to the efforts of Dave Paulson and U-JAM, the Victoria jazz society dedicated to developing the local jazz scene.

McDougall, who has played in some of the best bands in the world, including the Boss Brass, the John Dankworth Band and the Woody Hermann Thundering Herd says the group is a “hot band” and one of the “most fun” he’s ever worked with.

When musicians this talented are enjoying themselves, you can be sure the result will be one of the best jazz concerts of the year.

The Victoria concert takes place at Alix Goolden Hall and the Parksville show at Knox United Church. Both get underway at 8 pm.

Tickets are $35 for Adults/ $30 for U-JAM members/ and $15 for students and can be purchased in advance through the U-JAM website.

Art of the Trio at Allison Piano and ArtSpring

November 16, 2012 Comments off

Drummer Kelby MacNayr is back with another Art of the Trio show this time featuring musicians from Portland, Oregon: pianist Randy Porter and bassist Tom Wakeling.

Saturday night they appear in a special house concert at Allison Piano in Victoria and Sunday in the beautiful ArtSpring Gallery on Salt Spring Island. Both shows get underway at 7:30 pm.

Porter has appeared nationally and internationally with a host of famous performers, including Stephane Grapelli, Freddy Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis and Sheila Jordan.

Wakeling has been at it for nearly 40 years, performing with everyone from the Fifth Dimension to Lee Konitz, Mel Torme, Herb Ellis and Della Reese.

Whether you catch the trio here in Victoria or on Salt Spring, this promises to be a fantastic show. Highly recommended.

Tickets and more information are available at Allison Piano and ArtSpring.

Categories: Events

Tony Westlake CD Launch

November 8, 2012 Comments off

I’ve been away in Southeast Asia for a month, but I’m happy to be back to discover a whole raft of great jazz I can recommend for the month of November.

First up is the Tony Westlake posthumous CD launch and tribute performances with Misha Piatigorsky, Neil Swainson and Chris Wabich of Sketchy Black Dog at Hermann’s on Saturday and Sunday night (Nov. 10,11)  in Victoria. Both shows get underway at 7pm and will include a short video of Westlake performing, a first set featuring his original compositions performed by SBD, and a second set of SBD’s own material.

Do everything you can to get to one of these shows and to purchase Westlake’s CD Listen to Your Heart recorded in July just six weeks before he died. As I write, I’m playing the title track, a gorgeous song lovingly rendered as a solo piano piece that perfectly sets the stage for this fine collection of original tunes.

Some of the material was written years ago when Westlake turned from actively performing in Victoria to composing as he raised a family and ran a business. Other tunes were written in the last year of his life, a year made possible by a lung cancer drug approved relatively recently in B.C. His wife Elisabeth says the drug gave him a good year and allowed him to realize his dream of returning to music in his retirement, albeit only for a short time.

Piatigorsky, Swainson, and Wabich join him on tracks 2,3,4,6, and 7, with the trio performing the remaining tracks (10 in all) on its own. Westlake’s melodies stand with the best, and while it’s a shame his illness left him too weak to do all the piano work on his own for this recording, there’s something special in Westlake and Piatigorsky  interpreting these songs together with a moving combination of gentleness, soul, passion, and, at times, real fire.

And Swainson and Wabich are always tasteful in their accompaniment with Swainson, one of Canada’s greatest bassists, delivering fine solos on a couple of tunes.

The back story of Westlake’s illness and his desire to see his music recorded before he died adds poignancy to this recording. Even without that it’s a great album. In fact, it includes some of the finest playing I’ve heard from Piatigorsky – he was clearly inspired to give everything he had to this project.

Above all, these are tremendous songs worth recording.

You can listen to the album and purchase it here. Go the Hermann’s website to get more information on the performances.


Categories: Events
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