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Four Great Guitarists in Victoria

April 26, 2013
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John Pizzarelli appears at Alix Goolden Hall Sunday night.

This weekend will be a jazz guitar lover’s dream with not one but four accomplished guitarists appearing in Victoria on Sunday.

First up is “The Great Guitars,” a dynamic three-generation trio of Oliver Gannon, Rob Cheramy, and Quinn Bachand put together for U-JAM’s Jazz at the Gallery series Sunday afternoon at 2 pm at the Victoria Art Gallery ($30).

Gannon, of course, has been a fixture on the Vancouver jazz scene since the 1970s, best known  for his celebrated collaborations with saxophonist Fraser MacPherson that included three tours of the USSR, but admired throughout the land by those who acknowledge him as one of the top players in the country, and strongly suspect if he had emerged on the New York scene, he would have been a household name. (Gannon’s playing even caught the ear of the great Joe Pass who, overhearing him in Vancouver years ago, asked “Who is that guy playing guitar?”)

Rob Cheramy has been around just as long in Victoria, working with the likes of Tommy Banks, Herb Ellis, Paul Horn and Roy Reynolds and well known as the teacher of hundreds of aspiring guitarists through his private teaching and his work on the jazz faculty at the Victoria Conservatory.

Quinn Bachand, the youngest member of the trio, is a Victoria prodigy, fluent on guitar, banjo, bouzouki and fiddle. Still in his teens, Bachand has toured internationally with Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, and has been called by MacIsaac “Canada’s top Celtic guitarist.” But he’s long had a virtuoso jazz streak in him, too, which will be on display Sunday.

The trio will be backed by Joey Smith on bass.

If that’s not enough guitar for you, acclaimed jazz guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/bandleader John Pizzarelli brings his silky smooth quartet to Alix Goolden Hall Sunday night at 7:30 pm ($40) as part of the Victoria Jazz Society’s year-round concert offerings.

Pizzarelli doesn’t need much introduction given that he’s the son of jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli and has swung his way through 40 albums recorded under his own leadership and as a sideman with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, George Shearing, and Paul McCartney.

Pizarelli’s latest project Double Exposure, which will likely be featured in this concert, is an album of pop hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s rendered with the sound of various landmark jazz recordings from the 1950s. (Seals and Crofts’ Diamond Girl, for example, has the sound and feel of Miles Davis’ So What). Pizzarelli got the idea from the albums that were around his house in the late 70s and early 80s – his Dad’s jazz albums and his sister’s pop albums.

Pizzarelli will also give a free jazz workshop at Alix Goolden on Sunday afternoon as part of VJS’s educational outreach.

If you can manage it, I’d say go for both shows. If you can make only one, The Great Guitars will be the more intimate and unique, with the Pizzarelli show reliably smooth and mainstream. Both are well worth the price and your time.

More information on both shows is available at the websites linked above.

Categories: Events
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