‘Smooth dial turned up high’ by Velvet Swing band
The cool sound of Velvet Swing will set the atmosphere on the Elks’ stage this Thursday.
This well-known local quartet makes its first appearance of Georgia Straight Jazz Society’s 2011 season. It does so with a tinge of excitement: special guest John Hyde will be performing on standup bass.
Hyde is a recent arrival in the Valley but has already made his chops well known here. He has been a freelance bassist since 1972 and has appeared with some of Canada’s most stellar jazz artists.
Besides Hyde, Velvet Swing comprises Brent Hart on piano, Mike Scwartz on saxophones and Len Wilkie on drums. They promise to weave their way through 1940s and 1950s jazz standards that really swing with the “smooth” dial turned up high.
Special tunes this week will include Close Your Eyes, When Lights Are Low, Dream, When Sunny Gets Blue, and Satin Doll. The overall mood is velvety jazz with a swing to it. Hart promises the silkiest jazz in the Valley.
Wilkie’s vocals and drumwork help this quartet live up to its name. Expect to hear Sinatra and Latin-style vocals, along with tasty instrumental embellishment. Scwartz will be focusing on his tenor sax work this week, and has some delicious tunes to share. Hart on the piano provides support without getting in the way, and his solo work is tasteful and melodic.
Scwartz delivers really pleasing, beautifully phrased improvisational work on saxophones. Hart has great range on the keyboard — this small ensemble allows him to draw on the best aspects of his solo piano skills and his big dance band experience.
The final set of the evening will be open for instrumentalists and vocalists to sit in on improvisational renderings from the Great American Songbook. Participants are expected to bring their own charts, and sign in at the first intermission.
The Georgia Straight Jazz Society sponsors the weekly jazz club, offering you the chance to hear fine live music for a suggested $5 donation. The venue is the Upper Elks’ Lounge on Sixth Street and shows run from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Come early for a good choice of seating; most performances fill up shortly after showtime.
Tickets for Monik Nordine’s Quartet Departure, the next professional concert scheduled for Feb. 27, go on sale this Thursday at the usual prices: $12 and $16 for society members and non-members respectively. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased at Bop City Records (Courtenay) and Play It Again Music Recycling (Comox).
For more information about the society, forthcoming events and membership, visit www.georgiastraightjazz.com.