Berklee grad coming to the Avalanche

This Thursday is the Jazz Society's pre-Christmas celebration, with extra fun and draw prizes, so plan on coming a bit early...

Bassist John Lee leads a trio this Thursday in a Georgia Straight Jazz Society concert at the Avalanche Bar and Grill.

This Thursday is the Jazz Society’s pre-Christmas celebration, with extra fun and draw prizes, so plan on coming a bit early if you want the best seats or intend to meet a group of friends.

The show marks the end of a phenomenal calendar year in which we lost our old digs at the Elks’ and found ourselves a new home at the Avalanche Bar. As frustrated as we were to find ourselves homeless, we’re really thankful that the nice folks at The Av let us have a room at their inn.

Kind of Christmasty — but that all happened last February — and since then we haven’t regretted a moment.

To add to the excitement of this as a special event, we’re really pleased to introduce a wonderful new act to our stage, the John Lee Trio from Nanaimo.Bassist John Lee was raised on the West Coast islands of Canada. He’s been playing music since the age of five.

By the time John completed his high school studies, he had received much attention from professional musicians in Canada and earned an impressive collection of awards, scholarships, and honours from jazz festivals, including Envision Jazz Festival, MusicFest Canada and Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

With the support of the Slaight Family Scholarship, Lee continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he pursued a Bachelor of Music in Performance.

Lee is known for his incredible proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist as well as his charisma and ability to connect the audience to his music. He performs regularly in colleges, universities, clubs and concert halls. Lee has performed in cities throughout Canada and the U.S. including New York City, Boston, Toronto, Washington, Vancouver and Victoria.

After years of performing and studying in Boston, John returned to his hometown of Nanaimo to establish an educating practice and career.

He is in pre-production and development of his debut album featuring a complete set of original compositions and arrangements.

Guitarist Andrew Janusson grew up in Nanaimo and has been playing since he was 13. Andrew is studying music at Vancouver Island University. Andrew specializes in jazz, classical, rock and Latin styles of guitar. He also has a wealth of experience in funk, soul, and R&B styles.Drummer Michael Mlikotic is a Nanaimo-born musician who started his musical training by playing piano at the age of eight. Throughout his life, Michael has learned to play many instruments, including trombone, guitar and bass, but now has focused as a jazz drummer.

During his teens, Michael received recognition and honours through high school jazz festivals such as the Lionel Hampton Jazz festival, Envision Jazz Festival as well as Musicfest Canada. To immerse himself in a more thriving music scene, Michael moved to Boston where he lived there studying from local jazz artists including Berklee faculty and students.

• • •

Our season will continue on Jan. 9 after a festive rest. For more information about what’s coming in 2014, go to www.georgiastaightjazz.com or join us on Facebook.

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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