The Nanaimo Musician’s Association Big Band will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 from 2–4 pm at the Branch 256 Legion Hall on Wellington Rd. in Nanaimo. Island Jazz interviewed Bryan Stovell, mentor to Phil Dwyer, Ingrid and Christine Jensen and Diana Krall to understand better how central Vancouver Island has produced so many great players.
1. The Nanaimo area and the Island in general have produced some amazing players who have gone on to international fame. Is it something in the water?
Not the water, but the coal, discovered in the 1850s. The Nanaimo musical ethos began with the Nanaimo Concert Band which formed in 1873, comprised of colliery band musicians from Britain. The NCB is in its 145th continuous year. In 1931, during the Swing Era, the iconic Pygmy Ballroom was built and touring bands of Louis Armstrong, Harry James, and the Dorsey Brothers played there. When Rock music killed Swing in the late 50s, Read more…
Nanaimo drummer James McRae has put together a unique show featuring acclaimed Vancouver vocalist Jennifer Scott, pianist Miles Black, and bassist Rene Worst performing original jazz arrangements of Gordon Lightfoot’s most beloved songs.
Sponsored by Allison Pianos, this show on Saturday, March 18th at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria at 8pm, is sure to sell out. Reserve early!
An exclusive Island Jazz interview with McRae follows.
Where did you get the idea for the Lightfoot show?
Although this idea came to me about 2 1/2 years ago, the process developed in stages. I was humming the song Early Morning Rain in my head and thought it could lend itself to jazz improvisation because Lightfoot writes songs with really strong melodies. I started reharmonizing the song and came up with some ideas that I thought were not bad.
I did a few gigs with Patrick Courtin and Marisha Devoin Read more…
As many of you will already know, Hermann’s, the longest continuously-running jazz club in Canada, is in danger of closing after more than 30 years of operation. Jazz on View, a non-profit society has been formed to raise the funds to save the club.
Victoria trombonist Nick LaRiviere has posted a must-see video supporting the project. I encourage you to watch it now, share it on Facebook and with friends, and visit jazzonview.com to learn how you can help.