Monik Nordine writes to say that the Barracuda! Saxophone Quartet “is back at it, and this time we’re playing seasonal music for anyone who would like to come down to the Moka House (Hillside) and enjoy a warm beverage and some saxophone music. There will be plenty of warmth and good cheer and not only that, lots of saxophones.” By donation. A box for food bank donations will be provided. Nordine, along with Tom Ackerman, Chris Watt and Rainier Roth fire up the saxes on Sunday, December 23rd from 11am -12pm. Hillside at Shellbourne.
And Kelby MacNayr is reprising his highly popular early evening New Year’s bash(dinner and music) at Hermann’s on Monday, December 31st from 5 – 8 pm with Ian McDougall, Louise Rose, Roy Styffe, and Ken Lister. $35.00/ $30 (U-Jam, VJS, advance). Seating is limited and the event sold out last year and so reservations are recommended (250) 388-9166.
This weekend promises to be something of a jazz, blues and world music extravaganza at Hermann’s with an appearance by chromatic harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers on Friday night followed by an all-day Kidney Foundation fundraiser on Saturday, featuring a veritable who’s who of Vancouver Island musicians.
On Friday, Powers, who hails from Portland, will be joined by Seattle pianist Eric Verlinde and Victoria percussionist Kelby MacNayr for a program of jazz and jazz-tango music. Don’t be fooled by Powers’ instrument. The chromatic harmonica is a totally different beast from the typical harp favoured by folk musicians. Expect fireworks. Tickets $16/ $18.50. More info here.
The Saturday fundraiser kicks off at 12 noon with an all-star jam starting at 1 pm. The line-up includes The Tom Vickery Trio, John Fisher & Sharon Wadsworth, Aurora Scott, Aaron Scoones, Brent Jarvis, Charles Gates, Morgan Onda, Al Pease, Joe Powers, Don Leppard, Nori McFarland, Bruce Hurn, Pablo Cardenas, Toni Bloggett, Andy Slade, Tom Ackerman and many more.
At 5 pm Damian Graham and his Hi-Fi Hipsters take the stage (Nick La Riviere, trombone; “Art Booker,” piano, Damian Graham, drums) , and then at 7 pm 2012 Juno award winner Phil Dwyer appears with Miles Black (piano), Sean Drabitt (bass) and Kelby MacNayr (drums). This is a heck of a lineup and you can see it all for just $40 and support a worthwhile cause in the process. More info on the Saturday program at Hermann’s website.
A few years ago I wrote a feature for Monday Magazine that assessed the state of the jazz scene in Victoria and on Vancouver Island. The conclusions were mixed – lots of good
things going on but plenty of growth still needed, particularly in terms of developing more venues and boosting cultural funding. The situation isn’t much different today but one thing is certain: as was the case then, there’s a lot of great music happening in such a tiny corner of the world.
We need look no further than this month to verify the truth of that statement:
Hot on the heels of the highly successful launch of his Night of the Cookers series, Kelby MacNayr launches his new Vocalismo Concert Series this weekend. The name is a bit peculiar but the series promises to be superb, kicking off on Friday night with jazz and gospel great Kim Pacheco from North Carolina with pianist Richard White Jr, Roy Styffe, Sean Drabitt and Kelby MacNayr backing her. Friday, Feb. 17th, 8pm at Hermann’s $18/15 (VJS, UJam) $12 student. Tickets available in advance at Hermann’s and Larsen’s Music.
The following night, the same line-up heads over to Oak Bay United Church to perform a concert to benefit AfriCare in its work in the Southern Sudan and beyond. Admission by donation (suggested $20) Saturday, Feb. 18th, 7 pm at Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell St, Victoria.
This weekend, as well, The Brent Jarvis Trio performs at the Church of the Advent in Colwood as part of their ongoing jazz vespers series. This is an excellent venue where you can really listen to the music and Rev. Ken Gray always has something good to say. You don’t need to be religious to attend this one – just come and enjoy the music. Sunday, February 19 at 7 p.m. Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave (off Sooke Rd.) in Colwood /Admission by donation.
More shows to be added – stay tuned.
Given the quality of the players –Miles Black (piano), Phil Dwyer (sax), Daniel Lapp (trumpet), Tom Wakeling (bass), and MacNayr on drums – this promises to be one of the more adventuresome jazz events of the year.
“These musicians are all people that I have been fortunate to work with in different settings here in Victoria, in Vancouver or in Washington State,” says MacNayr. ” Each brings a certain energy and chemistry – I’m excited to see what happens!”
MacNayr has chosen to record in front of a live audience, rather than going into a studio where the group would have the luxury of several takes to perfect the material, an approach that is bound to ensure that everyone is on his game and the excitement level is high.
Some of the best recordings in jazz have been produced at live concerts. The Bill Evans Trio: Sunday at the Village Vanguard, The Paul Desmond Quartet Live (recorded at Bourbon Street in Toronto), and Keith Jarrett’s The Koln Concert are just three that come to mind.
MacNayr is taking bold new steps with his latest projects. This may be the best yet. Highly recommended.
Thursday and Friday, February 2nd and 3rd at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Advanced tickets are available from Hermann’s and Larsen’s Music. $20/$18 (VJS, UJam) $15 student. Reservations recommended. (250) 388-9166 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Percussionist and impresario Kelby MacNayr asked if I would write a review of his newly-minted “Night of the Cookers” series that launched at Hermann’s last night with an appearance by Phil Dwyer accompanied by MacNayr on percussion and Ken Lister on bass.
I thought I probably wouldn’t because I’ve written a lot about Dwyer lately.
Then I went to the show and was once again gobsmacked by this giant of jazz who lives amongst us mere mortals here on Vancouver Island.
Covering everything from Coltrane to Evans to Rollins on sax and piano, along with a few original compositions and arrangements, Dwyer and the trio wowed a packed house that included a number of Victoria’s top jazz musicians.
Actually “covering” is the wrong word because Dwyer does more than that – he channels the jazz greats, all the while infusing their music with his own soulful and playful energy.
It goes without saying that he’s technically and musically brilliant, but he also brings a drive, energy, and joy to his playing that elevates the music, his audience, and his band mates as he challenges them to go beyond themselves.
Both Lister and MacNayr rose to that challenge, with Lister delivering several gorgeous bass solos and MacNayr, ever the consummate and subtle accompanist, playing with added muscle.
It was a thrilling show, made all the better by Dwyer’s witty and adept handling of the drunk at the back who insisted on shouting out questions every time he introduced a tune.
Just before jumping into the closing piece, a slightly exasperated but still-in-good-humour Dwyer responded, “I don’t need to talk to you, I can listen to the voices in my own head.”
That pretty well silenced her and ultimately it was the music that spoke the loudest.