Vancouver Jazz

The complete guide to jazz in Vancouver BC

Petr Cancura, Allison Au, & Pugs and Crows: Just another Thursday in Vancouver!

Posted on | November 5, 2014 | 1 Comment

by Nou Dadoun

When did Thursday night become such a hot spot for fans of creative music in Vancouver? Certainly this week there is an abundance of great sounds to choose from as three tours converge on the city.

Cancura_Rex

Petr Cancura’s Down Home at the Rex courtesy of Mark Miller

First up is the next installment of the Bright Moments Series presented by Coastal Jazz and BluesPetr Cancura’s Down Home. Petr Cancura is a multi-instrumentalist whose music touches on the Balkans, the blues, the best kind of Brooklyn-style improvised music and roots Americana.
The Down Home project was inspired in part by a trip to the Otha Turner Family Goat Roast. About an hour south of Memphis is an incredible community fostered by the legacy of the late great fife and drum artist Otha Turner. Turner’s music was featured in the movie Gangs of New York as well as martin scorsese’s documentary on the blues. As he puts it, “The raw deep tradition of Turner as well as the music of the deep south in general is what inspired the music of this group. The phrasing is laid back, and the grooves are built with this rawness in mind. There is lots of improvising, mostly in the form of soloing. On-the-spot arranging is a key ingredient – which allows for an organic shaping of the musical performances. All of this is a very specific amalgamation of jazz and folk sensibilities.
Check out the lead track from Down Home’s Juno-nominated 2013 release:

Down Home featuring Peter Cancura (saxophone and banjo), Richie Barshay (drums), Brian Drye (piano/trombone), Garth Stevenson (bass) and Kirk Knuffke (cornet) hit at Ironworks Thursday Nov. 6th at 8pm.

Across town Toronto-based saxophonist Allison Au brings her quartet to Vancouver for the first time. I first heard Allison’s music when her debut release The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey was nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Contemporary Jazz Category. I’ve had numerous opportunities to revisit it since and I’m always knocked out by the strength of the writing and playing. When I chatted with her on the A-Trane last week, she told me that she had a few residencies with the quartet at the Banff Centre to develop the material and work through different approaches before recording. The fact that a couple of them were winter residencies mostly otherwise populated by classical artists pushed some of the music into a more formal through-composed approach that comes through in some of the intricate unison lines that inhabit some of the pieces.
Try out a live performance of one of the pieces from her CD:

The quartet coming to Vancouver this week, the same one as on the recording and the video above, is Allison Au (alto saxophone), Todd Pentney (piano), Jon Maharaj (bass), and Fabio Ragnelli (drums). They hit at The Tangent Cafe Thursday Nov. 6th at 8:30pm.

Finally our homegrown 2013 Best Instrumental Album Juno Award winners Pugs and Crows kick off their Tight Times Tour with special guest Tony Wilson. They’ve been working on a lot of new music which has been recorded for an upcoming album due to be released this spring. So you’re bound to hear some new sounds along with some old favourites. I still remember fondly a performance at Winterruption – one of the first times I heard them – where they played their own arrangements of music from Duke Ellington‘s Far East Suite!
Here’s a piece from their Fantastic Pictures CD:

Pugs and Crows are Cole Schmidt (guitar), Meredith Bates (violin), Cat Toren (piano), Russell Sholberg (bass) and Ben Brown (drums) and added for the tour ex-officio Pug (or is that Crow?) Tony Wilson (guitar). They hit at The Lido Thursday Nov. 6th at 9pm.

If you’re fast, you can swing across town in a hurry! What else is a music-lover to do?

Karin Plato Interview with Jillian Lebeck & Adam Thomas

Posted on | November 4, 2014 | No Comments

by admin

As part of the three-concert series, Joy of Jazz, taking place at St. James Hall, Vancouver jazz vocalist Karin Plato will perform at the inaugural concert on November 27 with James Danderfer and the duo of Jillian Lebeck & Adam Thomas. Karin spoke with Jillian and Adam for Vancouver Jazz:

Karin’s  Interview with  Jillian Lebeck & Adam Thomas 2014

adam-jill-vince

Adam Thomas and Jillian Lebeck. Photo by Vincent Lim

K.  How long have the both of you been playing/singing together?

J. This is how I remember it: Adam and I met in 1994 while we were high school students attending a summer music workshop. One day in 11th grade the phone rang and it was Adam calling to approach me about playing music together. We both attended Capilano University for our 1st year of music school and started playing together then. At the time I was playing mostly trumpet at the school. After that year I went away to Berklee in Boston and Adam eventually went away to University of North Texas and NYC. We didn’t play again for a few years. I remembered Adam being a really great vocalist as I had heard him sing at school and at this time I was playing a lot of piano gigs and I had started singing on them as well. I called him up  and asked if he would like to do a lounge gig at the Pan Pacific Hotel where we would both sing and play. We realized that we both had a great musical chemistry and that our voices blended very well. Adam is a very supportive musician (as a sideman or a leader) and it’s inspiring and exciting to witness him making music and to make music as a group.

A.  Ha ha! I had forgotten. Sounds right. And I think the camp was perhaps the New West Jazz camp – summer 1994. Jillian was mostly playing trumpet and I had just quit trumpet at the end of high school. Neither of us were singing much, but a little bit. After the Pan Pacific gig, we did the occasional duets gig here and there, then Jillian got a weekly brunch gig at Opus Hotel. We did that for about a year and a half, I think, and that really helped us develop our repertoire and our overall sense of how we do duets. Jillian’s an amazing musician – always something fresh up her sleeve – and an incredible improvisor. We have a lot of fun making music together.

K. Could you each explain what makes it musically satisfying for you to sing duets together?

J. For me – it’s musically satisfying because I find that I never feel restricted in any way – I can go anywhere with the vocal stuff and it seems that Adam is always right there with me. It’s like he has a special intuition and he has amazing “soul”. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing with Stevie Wonder!

A. Thanks JL! Yeah, we have a lot of overlap in our musical influences, training, experiences, mutual musicians and the such; so there’s a lot of common ground, even though we are very different in many regards. Jillian is extremely musical and never seems to lack in good ideas either for material or on the spur of the moment during performances. Neither of us seem to have to be concerned whether the other will follow (or stay strong) if we go off in an unexpected direction.

K. You have a duet recording that will be coming out soon. Could you tell us a little bit about what will appear on the recording and how you chose the songs?

J. We have been working on our collaboration for some time and it’s very interesting – without giving too much away about the recording – we are drawing from our long history of friendship and also from our individual influences that appear in our writing, production, playing and singing.

A. Yup, it’s been in the works a LONG time and we’ve really been able just to put a small amount of time into it in earnest as both of us have full lives. It’s pretty exciting listening to the tracks we have done so far.

K. Are there any existing vocal duos that have inspired the both of you to sing together?

J. For me – I think of some duos such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina, Ella and Louis, Harry Connick jr and Carmen McRae.

A. Ella and Louis, certainly. A.C. Jobim and Elis Regina – also very beautiful and inspiring. Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack is a big one for me on the soul front.

K. Are there specific challenges musically when you are both singing and playing together?   Both of you have multiple roles: you are singing AND playing as the band for each other. Is that a challenge or does it enable you to sing with more freedom in some way?

J. I feel that as instrumentalists we are very equipped to support our voices. It feels very comfortable making music like this. Most of all it’s incredibly fun!

A. Yeah, exactly. Both of us definitely have a range and vibe where we are most comfortable, but also have done a lot of work outside that comfort zone. As far as playing and singing simultaneously goes, definitely it can be difficult on new material to keep both together. But it also has incredible strengths: I find it gives confidence to leave more space as a singer, gives you freedom with time feel that you might not have otherwise because you can communicate the time with your instrument clearly and float over it as a singer, and you always have your instrument in front of you in case you can’t find your note!

K. Is it a happy coincidence that your voices sound so great together or have you had to work hard at creating a true blend?

J. It was a natural chemistry.

A. Yes, definitely there’s a huge element of natural chemistry and complementariness of our voices.

K. “Complementariness”? That’s a good Scrabble word!

A. That said, both of us have had a lot of experience in other ensembles where we’ve had to play the supporting role (a lot of choir and jazz choir experience, for example) and we’ve both got a decent set of skills that have been honed over the years that really help in that regard.

K. Other than jazz based music, are there are genres of music that you enjoy listening to and performing?

J. Yes – I listen to all sorts of music. At the moment I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean, Peder, Chico Buraque, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, The Dirty Loops …

A. Definitely. I’m sort of old school – still love mostly music that’s 40+ years old. I love performing soul and classic Motown/R&B kind of stuff especially, but also have a deep love for folk music.

K. What do you hope an audience experiences when they come to one of your duo shows?

A. I hope they feel something – hopefully something good like joy or hope, but maybe also something sad, intense, angry, or mournful depending on the songs and how they come to them – and they connect with the music somehow. I hope they hear some melodies they recognize and some they haven’t heard before. I hope they feel inspired.

K. Thanks to both of you for giving us the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about your duo project. I look forward to hearing you perform on November 27th as part of the Joy Of Jazz concert series.

Drew Burns Memorial at the Commodore Wed. Nov 5th 2014

Posted on | November 3, 2014 | No Comments

by Nou Dadoun

Drew Burns owned the Commodore Ballroom for 28 years but as he was fond of saying, it was the right 28 years. Since he passed away in September the accolades and memories have been pouring in on a facebook page set up for Remembering Drew Burns.
Drew
This Wednesday the Commodore holds two separate events in honour of Drew Burns – at 2 p.m. a memorial service will be held for friends and family to remember his legacy, this event is free and doesn’t require any advance registration. Later that evening at 7 p.m., a related musical event entitled A Musical Walk Down Memory Lane with Drew Burns will survey a number of the musicians and acts that he brought to the Commodore over his tenure. The event is also free but requires advance tickets which can be obtained at The Commodore Website.

From the facebook page:
The performances will represent different eras of Drew’s career at the Commodore Ballroom, beginning with Teen Angel and the Rockin’ Rebels who performed at the Fifth Day Club which Drew operated out of the Ballroom in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The band will be re-uniting for a one time only performance in honour of Drew.
The early to late 70’s was dominated by the blues in the Commodore, so we have assembled a Memory Lane Blues Band for the evening consisting of players who have worked for Drew many times over the years. The 80’s are represented by Doug and The Slugs with a special cameo appearance by Joe Keithley of DOA. After Drew left the Commodore he continued to support local musicians around the city and three of his regular outings would be to see Jim Foster, The Bobcats, and Billy Dixon’s Soul Train Express, all of whom will perform in the tribute.
Terry David Mulligan and “Jolly” John Tanner will emcee the event, with additional special guests paying tribute or performing short sets.
==
Putting on jazz fest shows at the Commodore was always great and Drew was always supportive although he often complained – what’s wrong with those jazz guys, don’t they know how to drink? But he loved the show that Sun Ra did at the ballroom, reminded him of the great orchestras that were his favourites! Coastal Jazz and Blues had a special relationship with Drew and presented many great gigs there over the years, from Sonny Rollins, Betty Carter, and Johnny Griffin to Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, Deerhoof, Kid Kaola and Amin Tobin – Coastal actually presented the last show of the Drew Burns era – Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens, it was a great one! … N

Impressions of a Patch of Blue

Posted on | October 22, 2014 | 5 Comments

by Nou Dadoun

Last summer when I first saw the press release for the note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis‘ legendary recording Kind of Blue, I was naturally intrigued. Who better to take on an iconic album than the reigning iconoclasts of contemporary creative music?
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – MOPDtK!

MOPDtK Blue COVER

The four core members – saxophonist Jon Irabagon, trumpeter Peter Evans, drummer Kevin Shea and head conceptualist (and bassist) Moppa Elliot are incredible musicians who are able to shape-shift through styles effortlessly. They’ve done releases in the styles of 70s pop jazz (Slippery Rock in 2012) and in trad jazz (Red Hot in 2013) the latter with the addition of Ron Stabinsky on the piano. When I saw the quartet at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2010, they slid one piece into another at one point breaking into an extended Chet Baker/West coast groove on All The Things You Are before slipping back into their intriguing musical deconstructions. They’ve always had humour and subversion at the heart of their artistry – for a time all of Moppa Elliot’s compositions were named after places in Philadelphia (Heart’s Content, Drainlick etc.) and their earlier album covers were parodies of classic jazz albums: Roy HaynesOut of the Afternoon, Ornette Coleman‘s This is Our Music, and Keith Jarrett‘s Koln Concert. The name of the group is taken from a Leon Theremin quote in which he explained how he could (morally) live in Stalin’s regime!

Musically they do a phenomenal job on the resulting recording Blue, Stabinsky returns in the role of Bill Evans (with a cameo as Wynton Kelly on Freddie Freeloader) and Jon Irabagon plays both tenor and alto convincingly as John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley respectively. I would think it unlikely that a casual listener would notice the difference and in JazzTimes, reviewer Nate Chinen puts the original and reproduction side by side and finds the similarities beguiling!

Judge for yourself on All Blues:

What I didn’t expect was the visceral hostile reaction to the actual release Blue which came out last week on their own Hot Cup label. They’ve been accused of plagiarism, fraud, charlatanism and racism! The Miles Davis estate went so far as to issue a statement to “clarify that “Blue” the ultimate tribute by the band Mostly Other People Do The Killing, is not supported by us, nor done with our cooperation or participation.”

Not all comments have been negative – Ethan Iverson in his Do The Math blog recognized it uniquely as “conceptual art with the heart of jazz fully in the frame”. He not only spoke of the concept admiringly but added that he wished that he’d thought of it first!

Like all good conceptual art, MOPDtK’s stunning accomplishment can be taken on many levels and I wanted to explore some of the ideas – the impressions – that this recording Blue suggests.

Tribute albums

In a sense, Blue is a tribute album taken to extremes – what could be a higher tribute to a piece of art than the attempt to reproduce it faithfully, in essence saying that there is no way to improve on it. Not surprisingly Blue is not the first tribute album to do this – in 1976 Todd Rundgren released his recording Faithful which attempted reproductions of various (production-intensive) pop tunes by the Yardbirds, Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Listen to his version of Good Vibrations:

In fact, until I saw the cover of MOPDtK’s Blue I hadn’t realized how closely it matched the cover of Faithful! I still wonder if the similarity was coincidental.

Of course, swing musicians in the 40s often had to learn and memorize the solos that they had recorded spontaneously in the studio to play in concert because that was what their audiences wanted to hear. Dexter Gordon claimed that when he first met Wardell Gray, Gray was playing Lester Young solos note-for-note. Even today there are repertory bands that play (unironic) exact duplicates of historical recordings.

Some reviewers have mentioned Blue as a poke in the eye to the notion that jazz is America’s “classical music” – the logical extension of the idea that there is a canon of classic performances and recordings which are worthy of study and reproduction to the extent that modern practitioners cannot improve on them. At the other end is Wayne Horvitz‘s approach that pays tribute by trying to recreate “how it makes you feel” rather than any notes or styles. Other negative reviewers have made disparaging remarks reminiscent of criticisms of sampling (suggesting cheating or getting away with something) which conveniently sidesteps the talent required to do a credible reproduction of a recording like Kind of Blue.

The Quixotic Quest

When I read that the liner notes were written by Jorge Luis Borges, it immediately suggested another aspect – Borges of course being the blind Argentinian conceptualist and writer who wrote about infinite libraries, memory paradoxes and labyrinths. Umberto Eco paid tribute to him in The Name of the Rose by casting the villain as a blind librarian. Unfortunately Borges died in 1986, so it was unlikely that he actively collaborated in this recording. As it turns out, Borges was indeed a fan of American jazz so it is certainly possible that he might have heard the original Kind of Blue!
labyrinths
The connection was confirmed when I learned that the liner notes consisted of one of my favourite Borges stories/essays – Pierre Menard, The Author of The Quixote. In the essay, an anonymous critic describes Pierre Menard as an author who, after after abandoning his attempt to immerse himself in the world of Cervantes to write his version of Don Quixote, performs the audacious act of writing a portion of the book through his twentieth-century experiences producing, against all odds, an exact word for word, line for line duplicate of the original!

At this point we enter the labyrinth because Borges’ point (one of them) is that the words on the page are not just the words on the page – the finger that points at the moon is not the moon. Coincidentally, I’d been thinking about this earlier this year – I’d read a couple of books that explored in different ways the relationship, in some ways the implicit contract, between an author and a reader – to generalize a producer and a consumer or, more at hand, a musician and a listener. (Recommended – Ruth Ozeki‘s A Tale for the Time Being!)

One way of thinking about this relationship is that the artist puts aspects of their world into their art and the receiver of that art brings their world view into accepting, interpreting and appreciating that art. At a superficial level, think of musical “quotes” that some performers like to drop into their solos – of course, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins are famous for this. Closer to home, on Cory Weeds recent release As Of Now, Harold Mabern‘s solo on his composition Rakin’ and Scrapin’ takes a extended side excursion into Steely Dan‘s Do It Again. If the listener knows that tune, they will connect to the performance in a far different way than if they don’t.

As another example, some readers of this essay will see the title and smile to themselves, others will pass right over it.

The relationship becomes that much more lop-sided when through the printed page or the medium of recordings, the worlds of the producer and consumer are separated by great periods of time. For an extended discussion of the philosophy of music and the distinctions of recorded music from live music (and indeed other arts), see The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg.

And this brings us to the point of the Borges story; the passage that has stuck with me since my first reading of the Menard story many years ago, and I think the one that is the key to interpreting Blue is “The Cervantes text and the Menard text are verbally identical but the second is almost infinitely richer. (More ambiguous his detractors will say but ambiguousness is richness.)”

The idea being expressed here is that the richness comes from changes in the reader, not in the author whose worked is being reproduced exactly. I recently read John LeCarre‘s late ’60s thriller The Spy Who Came In From the Cold – the knowledge that I have that the Berlin Wall was torn down in the 1980s completely changes how I interpret the events and what I take away from the story. Is it possible today to see a 1990s film that sweeps across the New York skyline without noticing and reflecting on the twin towers of the World Trade Center? Borges’ anonymous critic extends the thought in the essay by saying that now when he reads portions of Quixote that Menard did not reproduce, he hears them nonetheless in Menard’s voice!

Likewise a modern listener brings a completely different sensibility to Kind of Blue than a listener who would have heard it on first release back in 1959. It was an experiment in modal improvisation spearheaded by a musician who was (yet again) searching for a new sound and a new approach to improvisation, not the aural wallpaper that people put on in the background at cocktail parties. The reproduction invites us to throw out that baggage and listen again with fresh ears to the solos that were created tentatively in unfamiliar contexts.

Tellingly, Nate Chinen’s review in JazzTimes states that “In some appreciable way, they even helped me hear the old album anew.” This certainly seems to have been part of the intention behind doing the recording!

Final Notes

Final thoughts that arise are differences in the technology of reproduction between written words and recorded sound – some explored in the aforementioned book The Recording Angel. Did Andre Menard reproduce his Quixote in long hand as Cervantes likely did? Do we think of different type-settings of the Quixote as actually being different? An eReader edition?

Over the years, I’ve owned at least eight different “editions” of Kind of Blue in a number of recording formats, from six-eye Columbia LP to MP3 – are they all the same? To what extent are they different? Do they all convey the intentions of the original artists? Could Miles Davis have foreseen MP3 versions of All Blues? Or a multi-disc, multi-format 50th Anniversary Limited Edition issue? What would Bill Evans have thought about the inclusion of extra discs of studio chatter and false starts?

And what about Don Quixote? I’ve read Cervantes’ version of Don Quixote – I’ve never been able to track down Pierre Menard’s! At least, I think I’ve read it, I don’t read Spanish – I’ve read an English translation. For that matter, are there any readers alive who can read and comprehend 17th Century Castillean Spanish as Cervantes intended? Might he have taken some linguistic solos that inadvertently fell by the wayside through the various transmutations and translations? Similarly, can we think of Blue as a modern translation of Kind of Blue that MOPDtk has produced to include their additional subtle messages of subversion?

As an aside, I’ll make the observation that of course, Borge’s essay Pierre Menard was also originally written in Spanish and so again I’ve only read it in translation. The liner notes to Blue include the information that the translation there is credited to Andrew Hurle copyright 1998 which is different than the translation with which I’m familiar from the Labyrinths collection which was by Anthony Bonner coincidentally done in the early 1960s. Ultimately I found the more recent translation lacked a certain zing, it seemed a little stiff and the rhythm wasn’t quite right.

All I hope is that when Mostly Other People Do the Killing eventually reissue their version of Blue that they include the alternate take of Flamenco Sketches!

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Nou Dadoun
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2014 Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Posted on | May 7, 2014 | No Comments

by admin

Coastal Jazz & Blues Society today announced the full line-up for its 29th annual  TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival which runs from June 20 to July 1 this year.

For complete information visit http://www.coastaljazz.ca.

R.I.P. Renee Doruyter

Posted on | January 31, 2014 | 2 Comments

by admin

Renee DoruyterWe are very saddened by the news that Renee Doruyter passed away last night. A talented jazz vocalist, she was also one of the most dedicated  supporters of jazz in Vancouver, mainly through the columns she wrote for The Vancouver Province newspaper for many years. A warm and generous woman, her enthusiasm and knowledge contributed  immeasurably to Vancouver’s thriving jazz community. She will be greatly missed.

Photo: Brian Nation

Jill Townsend Big Band “Ross Taggart Project” on Kickstarter

Posted on | January 29, 2014 | No Comments

by admin

Jill TownsendVancouver’s finest big band leader, composer, and arranger Jill Townsend plans to record an album of the compositions of the late Ross Taggart. This is a huge undertaking and one that could likely result in a masterpiece, judging from Townsend’s last album, tales from the sea, and the band’s many performances over the years. It’s a huge undertaking and also a costly one, so Jill is looking to crowdfund the project via Kickstarter.

Read up on the project and, if you’re inclined, help support the realization of this very worthy enterprise, by visiting the Kickstarter page.

Dave Brubeck tribute at Cap this Friday

Posted on | January 22, 2014 | No Comments

by admin

Dave Brubeck

The Cap Jazz Series presents a Tribute to Dave Brubeck at the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, January 24 @ 8 PM, an homage to the groundbreaking pianist and composer who became one of the best known ambassadors of jazz to the world.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet, which featured Brubeck on piano and Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, was one of the iconic jazz ensembles of the 1950s and ’60s, making its reputation with college campus recitals, playing in festivals and concert halls all over the world and releasing albums that went platinum.

From day one of his career, Brubeck inspired music lovers across the globe. In a statement read at Brubeck’s funeral, Former President Bill Clinton recalled being “utterly captivated” at age 15 after hearing Brubeck’s quartet in concert and then going home to play “Take Five” until his lips gave out. “I consider myself lucky to have known Dave and to have experienced his music in such a profound way,” Clinton said.

Capilano University’s own jazz masters have created a night honouring Brubeck and his remarkable canon of works.

“A” Band—The “A” Band is the premiere large instrumental ensemble of the Capilano University Jazz Studies program. The “A” band
has performed with jazz artists such as Bob Mintzer, Cedar Walton, Ed Thigpen, Jason Marsalis, Mike Murley, Kevin Turcotte, Seamus Blake, Hugh Fraser, Phil Nimmons, Rob McConnell, Kristin Korb, Nnenna Freelon, Denzal Sinclaire, Ernie Watts and Dee Daniels.

NiteCap—Led by Réjean Marois, NiteCap is the premier Vocal Jazz Ensemble of Capilano University’s Jazz Studies degree program. It is an innovative ensemble with an eclectic approach to musical style that includes material from Renaissance madrigals through contemporary jazz. NiteCap has developed the reputation and level of professionalism that has allowed it to share the stage and garner accolades from such top jazz artists as Ed Thigpen, Kenny Werner, Hugh Fraser, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling and Jane Bunnett.

For more information and to purchase thickets visit http://www.capilanou.ca/blueshorefinancialcentre/Tribute-to-Dave-Brubeck

Mike Allen CD release concert this Thursday

Posted on | January 20, 2014 | No Comments

by admin

Mike Allen

 

The Legacy Jazz Series and Coastal Jazz & Blues Society are presenting the Mike Allen Quartet – Mike Allen (saxophones), Miles Black (piano), Adam Thomas (bass), Julian MacDonough (drums) – with special guest Hugh Fraser (trombone) at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch) on January 23. The event celebrates the release of Panorama, the latest recording from the respected Vancouver quartet.

Known for his broad sound and engaging improvisational approach, Western Canadian Music Award winner Allen is Director of Jazz at Western Washington University, and his quartet, WWU’s in-residence jazz ensemble. In the 1990’s, Mike forged his style in the bands of guitarist Sonny Greenwich, drummer Pete Magadini and bassist Chuck Israels. As band leader, in addition to eleven albums and four national tours, Mike has played at the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree, and performed on separate occasions for the Prime Minister of Canada and Princes Charles, William and Harry. Mike’s sax playing can also be heard on Michael Buble’s Grammy Award winning album Crazy Love.

Hugh Fraser has been a celebrated trombonist for many years, through residencies in New York, London and Vancouver. He’s won two JUNO awards, been the head of the jazz program at the Banff Centre, and presented jazz workshops across Canada and in Ireland. Hugh is only Canadian participant in Orlando “Maraca” Valle’s 2011 DVD release of the Latin Jazz All Stars, he is included in the top six albums in all genres by Downbeat Magazine. He also performs regularly with his dear friend Chucho Valdes where one of Hugh’s additions to this iconical pianist’s composition has been standard performance and educational fare in Cuba.

For more information and to listen to audio samples visit http://mikeallenjazz.com

Tickets at the Cultch Box Office

Phil Dwyer appointed to Order of Canada

Posted on | January 1, 2014 | 1 Comment

by admin

Congrats to Phil Dwyer for his appointment to the Order of Canada | Ottawa Citizen.

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