Atkinsons’s head constantly full of musical ideas

Playing in one or even two bands is not enough for someone who lives, eats and breathes music

MARC ATKINSON'S TRIO

MARC ATKINSON'S TRIO

Playing in one or even two bands is not enough for someone who lives, eats and breathes music.

Musical ideas come to Marc Atkinson even when he’s being interviewed by the local paper about a gig next weekend in Courtenay.

“I just finished teaching a workshop all about living, eating, breathing music,” he commented in an interview from his home on Hornby Island, where he’s lived for seven years.

“Currently, I have two young kids … so that’s pretty consuming. Perhaps that’s why I’m so excited to play when I get a chance.”

He said musical ideas come to him all day long.

“In a way, it would be nice if I could turn it off, but I’m pretty much always thinking about some musical idea – even right now.”

Atkinson plays in the Bills (formerly the Bill Hilly Band) as well as his own trio and quartet. After a recent foray to California with the Bills and the trio, Atkinson hit the road this week with his quartet.

He’s the only guitarist in the quartet, which includes violin, bass and drums.

“It has a slightly fatter sound,” Atkinson said.

The Marc Atkinson Trio plays Oct. 16 at the Elks Hall in downtown Courtenay as part of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society season.

The trio consists of Atkinson on lead guitar, longtime bandmate Joey Smith on bass and relative newcomer Brett Martens on rhythm guitar, spelled on occasion by previous full-time player Chris Frye.

Atkinson said Martens, who also lives on Hornby Island, is a “fantastic guitar player. He’s been here for several years and he plays all the Django Reinhardt material and he’s quite a great lead player in his own right.”

Smith, in the trio from its inception 11 or 12 years ago, “really understands music. He’s been there for all four albums. He’s definitely the backbone.”

Atkinson said the material he’s writing at the moment lends itself to the quartet, so a fifth recording by the trio will likely have to wait until one by the foursome.

Atkinson, known for his wonderful acoustic playing that is influenced heavily by Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz and some classical flavourings, went electric for about a year in a handful of gigs with a drummer named Bill Hicks.

“My audience is generally used to a slightly quieter sound, a gentler sound, and when I plug in, I don’t go halfway … I rock it pretty hard.

“It was very fun, but I didn’t want to alienate anyone who has been a supporter in the past,” he said with a chuckle. “I realized after playing it for a bit that I actually prefer the acoustic. I’ve been playing the acoustic for so long, it’s my sound and I like it.

“My trio, with all the different groups I have going, it’s still my favourite project. It’s all about guitar.”

Atkinson, who loves living on Hornby – where he’s now got a studio – has toured with his trio in North America, England and Europe. They’ve received standing ovations from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the Vancouver International Folk Festival to DjangoFest Northwest.

What can the audience expect at the Elks on Oct. 16?

“The great thing about having the four albums is that we just grab tunes from the various albums these days … we might do one or two of the new ones I’ve written for the quartet.

“I’ll probably pop in a couple of new ones that no one’s ever heard even if they’ve heard all four albums.”

The Marc Atkinson Trio performs Oct. 16 at the Elks Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($15 for Georgia Straight Jazz Society members, $20 for non-members) are available at Bop City, Comox Videos ‘N’ More, at the Thursday Jazz Club at the Elks, and at the door in the unlikely event that any are left.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The site of the King George Hotel in Cumberland. Photo by Mike Chouinard
VIU students research Cumberland’s past, future

Specific practicum topics were King George Hotel’s significance, densification incentives

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

A 407 Squadron CP-140 Aurora, along with a Halifax-Class frigate enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea in support of Op Neon in 2019. Canadian Forces photo/submitted
407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years

The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Comox’s Jasmine Francoeur’s career comes full circle with the Snowbirds

“To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

The school board is endorsing a national coalition for healthy food in schools. Screenshot, Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school board backs national healthy food initiative

Coalition for Healthy School Food wants federal government to invest in food program

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read