Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Valdy Goes Big Band with the Victoria Jazz Orchestra

February 20, 2019 Comments off

Valdy photo by David Borrowman

Juno-winning folk legend Valdy will team with the Victoria Jazz Orchestra (VJO) in a unique cross-genre show on Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 pm at Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria.

Island Jazz interviewed Valdy and VJO director Monik Nordine by email to learn more about the show. If anything emerged from the separate interviews, it’s that while the music industry (and music journalists) like to put things into boxes, musicians see only commonalities. I’ve combined the two interviews into one edited version for simplicity.

IJ  Monik, How did the VJO get involved in this project?

MN I was the director of the Swing Shift Community Big Band when I lived on Salt Spring Island and my dad, Ron Nordine, was a trumpet player in that group for over 20 years.  My friend Derrick Milton is now the director of this group and the idea for the show “Valdy Goes Big Band” came from him. When they presented this show on Salt Spring Island last June, my partner Chris Watt and I went over to see it and it was just such a wonderful presentation I thought we should do it with the VJO.

IJ  Valdy, What attracted you to the project?

V There is a lift playing with other musicians, a lift not available as a
solo artist. The audience is equally important in both cases, providing a raison d’etre,
but duos, combos, stage bands, symphonies all provide such fertile ground
for dicking around with the music; harmonic structure resonates in such
different manners when playing with keyboard, bassoon, horn section,
rhythm section, strings.

IJ  Monik, can you say a bit about the challenge of melding folk music with jazz?

MN In my interview with Valdy he said that he sees folk music as the root or basis of all music and I would have to agree with him on this.  If I define myself as a jazz artist (which I do) but recognize folk music as the basis of all music then these two styles must have commonalities.   So what we are working with is the things we have in common, which is melody.  Valdy is a big jazz fan and his songs lend themselves well to “jazzification”.

IJ  Valdy, can you elaborate on your feelings about the relationship between folk and jazz?

V I have a rather broad definition of folk music: the music most played by,
most sought after, and most enjoyed by humanity. This is a vast, inclusive
category, allowing me to delve into every genre, from hip-hop to jazz to
nursery rhymes to torch songs. These genres may be exclusive, but folk is
inclusive, allowing musical adventure and cross-pollination.

IJ  How did your interest in jazz begin and develop?

V Henry Mancini was my doorway, my portal, to melody and accompaniment,
starting with “Music from Peter Gunn” 1956 in Ottawa. Then it was Dave Brubeck; I was a piano student for five years – only got to grade three, poor student – but learned a couple of his riffs, which enhanced my melody-making, also in Ottawa circa ’59 to ’62.

IJ  Monik, can you tell us a bit more about the program?

MN Valdy has had input on the program of course as he is the featured artist and we will be performing some of his material with the jazz orchestra. Valdy will sing a few jazz standards with the big band accompanying him. Valdy is a big jazz fan, and this really carries through in his delivery of the standards.  The VJO will be augmenting the concert with VJO material, some new and some familiar, and at least two of my own original compositions.

Monik Nordine photo by Luis Porretta

Tickets ($32/$37) can be purchased through the Victoria Conservatory of Music and


Categories: Events

Holiday Swing Workshop for Guitars and other Instruments with Dale Rasmussen

December 1, 2018 Comments off

Holiday Swing Victoria Dec 9

Guitarists, other instrumentalists and singers might want to check out this holiday workshop offered by veteran musician and vocalist Dale Rasmussen. I’ve had the pleasure of jamming with Dale and can guarantee you’ll have a great time working with him. You can learn more about him at his website.

Here are the workshop details from Dale. It’s open to players, players who sing, and singers.

When: Sunday Dec 9 from 1-3pm
Participants will learn how to liven up their favourite seasonal tunes using some very cool swing and jazz chords, changes that I use when performing. We’ll be working mostly from popular secular favourites, using charts I’ve prepared that will work for both male and female singers.

It’ll help if participants have some knowledge of moveable swing chords on the guitar, mandolin, or other chordal instrument. (Fiddlers, singers, etc are welcome, too.)

The session will take place at my house: 4434 Valmont Pl. in the Mt Douglas Park area of Gordon Head.

Registration is $25. Space is limited.

To sign up, email or phone 778-533-0406.


Categories: Events

Three Jazz Guitar Greats Visit Vancouver Island

May 19, 2018 Comments off

First up is Canadian great Bill Coon who appears this Sunday, May 20, with the Roy Styffe Trio at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria.

The Vancouver-based Coon is an astonishing guitarist who studied with the great Jim Hall when he was coming up and is not to be missed, particularly in this fine trio setting with Styffe on alto sax and Ken Lister on bass.

The show gets underway at 7pm. Contact Hermann’s for ticket info.

Young Montreal jazz guitar phenom Sam Kirmayer performs at Hermann’s on Friday, May 25th with Sean Fyfe on piano, John Lee on bass and Valerie Lacombe on drums.

The 27-year-old Kirmayer, whose inspirations include Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, has won several awards and been hailed by CBC has one of the top young jazz musicians in Canada.

His bandmates are no slouches either. This will be a great showcase of the new generation of jazz talent in Canada.

Kirmayer is on a western Canadian tour that will also take him to Port Alberni, Cumberland, Crofton, and Vancouver. See his website for details.

Finally, Victoria audiences will be treated to one of the world’s great jazz guitarists when Julian Lage appears with his trio as part of the Victoria International Jazzfest on Wednesday, June 27 at the Dave Dunnet Theatre in Oak Bay.

A guitar prodigy who first played with Gary Burton at age 15, Lage has the eclecticism and adventurous spirit of Bill Frisell and is an improvisational wizard, equally at home with blues, jazz, Americana, and early rock. Not to be missed.


Categories: Events

12th Annual “Jazz Affair” Supports Jazz Education in Nanaimo

May 19, 2018 Comments off

imageTwo jazz greats with celebrated BC/US musicians will grace the stage at the 12th annual Jazz Affair hosted by Friends of Nanaimo Jazz Society May 25th at the Coast Bastion in Nanaimo.

Trumpet player Terell Stafford and pianist Harold Mabern will headline the evening. Stafford has performed with such groups as the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band, Benny Golson’s Sextet and McCoy Tyner’s Sextet. He is also a member of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and bandleader of the Terell Stafford Quintet and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer, and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.

In addition to Stafford and Mabern, top talent tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds, bassist Michael Glynn, and drummer Julian MacDonough are on the roster. Nanaimo’s ten-piece Decadence Jazz Band will also be on hand to entertain the crowd along with award-winning School District 68 students.

Friends of Nanaimo Jazz Society has been hosting Jazz Affair since 2006. It is their main fundraising event with proceeds going to support Jazz music education in School District 68. Funds raised go towards post-secondary scholarships, clinics with visiting professional musicians and help for students to attend music festivals. Scholarships have also been given to elementary music students in recent years.

Tickets for the evening are $65 and are available through the Port Theatre box office at (250) 754-8550, 125 Front St.


Tickets include a delicious buffet dinner. There will also be a silent auction and raffles. Doors open at 6 pm. Tables of 8 to 10 can be reserved by calling Sue 250 616-4838.

Categories: Events

Victoria Jazz Orchestra Tribute to Ross Taggart with Guest Conductor Jill Townsend and Guitarist Bill Coon

April 4, 2018 Comments off

image.pngOn April 14, 2018 The Victoria Jazz Orchestra will be paying a musical tribute to Ross Taggart, an award-winning jazz musician born and raised in Victoria, BC.

Ross was known as a jazz saxophonist and pianist and was active at a high level from the time he was a teenager on Canada’s West Coast.

A consummate mainstream jazz player who was equally formidable on both of his instruments, Taggart accompanied such legendary players as Benny Golson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Phil Woods, Clark Terry, and Fraser MacPherson. He taught at Capilano University and was married to pianist Sharon Minemoto.

After losing his battle with kidney cancer in 2013 two of Ross’ closest friends, bandleader and composer Jill Townsend and her husband, guitarist Bill Coon, took it upon themselves to pay a musical homage to Ross by orchestrating a number of his compositions for a large jazz ensemble. The product of their endeavor became the album “Legacy” featuring many of Vancouver’s finest jazz musicians, and of course Ross Taggart’s wonderful compositions. The Victoria Jazz Orchestra will be joined by Jill Townsend and Bill Coon on April 14 at Hermann’s Jazz Club to perform this music here in Victoria.

A prolific composer and arranger, Jill Townsend is the leader of the critically acclaimed Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra. The Canadian National Jazz Awards twice nominated the Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra for Large Ensemble of the Year. Their recent recording Legacy, featuring the music of Ross Taggart (Cellar Live 2015) presents new arrangements by Jill Townsend and Bill Coon and was voted #1 in CBC’s “Top Ten Outstanding CD’s of the Year”. Jill characterizes her writing style as both lyrical and personal. She has composed and arranged music to feature several guest artists appearing with her large ensemble including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ian McDougall, Jiggs Whigham, Campbell Ryga and Brad Turner.

Juno nominated guitarist/ composer /arranger Bill Coon is one of Canada’s most highly respected and sought after musicians. He has been performing professionally for over twenty-five years and has worked with numerous jazz artists including Jimmy Heath, Louis Stewart, Chuck Israels, Eddie Daniels, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Campbell Ryga, Brad Turner, PJ Perry, Fred Stride, Denzal Sinclaire, Karin Plato and Dee Daniels. His quartet performed at the Orpheum, opening for Dave Brubeck during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. He is a member of the Jill Townsend Big Band, Wow Jazz Orchestra and the Brazilian Choro group Gostosinho. Bill released the critically acclaimed CD, “Speakeasy” with his quartet featuring Juno award winners Ross Taggart and Dave Robbins and more recently teamed up with legendary guitarist Oliver Gannon on a Cellar Live release entitled Two Much Guitar.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
8pm to 11pm, doors open for dinner at 6pm
at Hermann’s Jazz Club (753 View Street, Victoria, BC)

Tickets $30 and $40 available at the door and through Eventbrite tickets

Reservations for seating by email:




Categories: Events
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