With only two more shows remaining before Christmas, it’s time to tell you about the great present(ation)s Georgia Straight Jazz Society has to offer at the Avalanche Bar and Grill.
First, this Thursday is one of those events that will allow you to say, a few years down the road, “I heard him play in Courtenay before he became internationally famous.”
Yes, Connor Stewart is back in town, in his own name, with a rhythm section to die for. Regular Georgia Straight Jazz fans know just how incredible Conn’s saxophone and clarinet playing has been over the past couple of years in the context of big bands and smaller combos, but this is your opportunity to hear him play as leader of his own group. You can expect this to become one of the most memorable Thursday night sessions in our archives.
Joined by Darling & McRae
Stewart’s genius combines with two other talented Vancouver Island musicians who began meeting weekly and soon discovered a unique musical synergy that demanded a wider hearing.
Euphemistically named “The Triadically Hip,” Stewart (woodwinds/vocals), James Darling (keyboards/keyboard bass) and James McRae (drums) explore the rhythms, harmonies and colorings of the jazz idiom on a broad spectrum of songs featuring strong melodies.
Selecting from the works of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder, to name a few, they have created a unique repertoire and highly entertaining show, which Stewart describes as “a musical feast for body and soul.”
An award-winning multi-instrumentalist/vocalist (tenor, alto, soprano, baritone saxes, cornet, clarinet, flute) Stewart is no stranger to Jazz Society audiences. He first performed for the GSJS at 15 with the Arrowsmith Big Band, with NMA Big Band at 16, at 17 leading the Boss Tenors quintet – of which society president Malcolm Holt said, “You could go to Chicago, New York or London, and hear no better jazz.”
He has played to acclaim at major jazz venues in Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Portland, Boston and New York. This past summer Stewart performed at the Montreal, Victoria and Beaches (Toronto) International Jazz Festivals, and recorded on CDs in Montreal and Vancouver. He hits the road again in mid-December for six weeks playing in New Orleans.
Darling keeps busy
A new/old face to Vancouver Island audiences, Darling is a revelation to music fans rediscovering, or discovering him for the first time.
Leader of the James Darling Trio, he recently returned from a successful career playing on cruise ships and has been busy teaching, and entertaining with the NMA Big Band, the Michael Patrick Quartet, the Boss Tenors, and The Triadically Hip among others. One of the rare successful practitioners of demanding left-hand organ bass, he is sure to thrill the Comox Valley audience playing on his new double keyboard at the Avalanche for the first time.
McRae a repeat performer
Drummer and songwriter/arranger McRae is also a familiar figure to Valley jazz audiences, having performed here many times over the years with a number of bands. He has appeared with a long list of B.C. jazz and music luminaries, has led or played in jazz, Latin, Caribbean, funk, pop, country and rock bands, recorded his own CD and played on many others’, and produced well-received tributes to jazz legends Horace Silver, Carlos Jobim, Jimmy McHugh and Jimmie Smith.
Clearly for jazz aficionados, this is a show not to be missed. Come early for the best seats in the new Avalanche lounge setting and discover why we’ve earned a Canada-wide reputation as a hotbed for great live jazz.
Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for society members, and $12 for non-members.
B3 Kings show upcoming
B3 Kings will play their Christmas Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20. Tickets have been selling like crazy and we’re attempting to maximize seating in the newly-renovated lounge in order to allow more ticket sales, so you can still purchase them at Bop City and Red Carpet, $18 for members, $22 for non-members. Take note, there will be no jazz next Thursday, in lieu of the special Saturday event.
Our 2015 season will open on Jan. 8.
Visit www.georgia staightjazz.com for our full schedule.