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Dan Craven Quintet takes to Elks' Hall stage this Thursday

Saxophonist Dan Craven will make his first appearance of the 2010-11 Thursday Night Jazz season with his own group this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Elks' Hall.

It’s back to the familiar this week at Thursday Night Jazz when the Dan Craven Quintet takes the stage at the Elks’ Hall at 7:30 p.m.

This will be one exceptionally exciting evening of modern jazz.

Saxophonist Craven, a 2001 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, is an educator who has also had the privilege of sharing the stage with top musicians like Phil Dwyer, Arnie Chycoski, Ian McDougall, P.J. Perry, John McDermott, Campbell Ryga, Mike Herriott, and many others.

In 2007 Craven joined Phil Dwyer’s Sax Summit, which first launched in 2002 with the release of Sax Summit on CBC Records, and has recurred in various incarnations throughout the country since then.

In addition to his own combo, Craven currently performs with the Anderson Jazz Syndicate, the Dave Stewart Sextet, the Big Bossa, and Arrowsmith Big Band. He has performed frequently around Canada’s West from Victoria to Fort Nelson, including appearances as clinician, honour band conductor and guest performer at the Comox Valley Big Band Challenge.

As familiar as Craven is to local jazz fans, this is his first appearance in the 2010-11 season with his own group.

Craven will be accompanied by Tim Croft, standup bass; Dave Stewart, trumpet; Chad Geekie, piano; and Richard Cave on drums.

Croft began playing electric bass at the age of 14. A few short years later, he discovered the upright bass. As a high school student, he began working regularly around southwest Ontario as a jazz bassist. After high school, he moved to Toronto to attend Humber College where he studied bass with an all-star cast of Canadian jazz icons including Mike Downes, Pat Collins, Pat LaBarbera and Don Thompson.

Now a local resident, Croft is active in the Comox Valley performing in various groups around Courtenay and the Island, including the Vancouver Island Symphony, the Forbidden Jazz Trio and the Joanna Finch Ensemble.  He also teaches music at École Au Coeur de l'île in Comox, and has established a reputation as one of our region’s great bass musicians.

Stewart is a graduate of the University of Victoria, where majored on the trumpet, and began his jazz studies with Ian McDougall at the University of Victoria. He has performed in various jazz bands and jazz combos for the past 29 years in Vernon, Kelowna, Merritt, Grand Forks, Victoria, Vancouver, Port Hardy, Port Alberni and Courtenay, and is a member of the Arrowsmith Big Band and leader of the Dave Stewart Jazz Quintet.

Geekie completed a jazz degree at McGill University before moving on to perform with Benny Golson, Jamie Aebersold, Phil Dwyer, Ingrid Jensen and Christine Jensen. His recent collaboration with Hornby Island guitar phenomenon Marc Atkinson has led to a recording project with a much-anticipated CD release. He’s also one of the most musically refreshing players around — you don’t want to miss this performance.

Cave got an early start to jazz, performing extensively with jazz greats Phil Dwyer and Pat Collins. The trio received critical acclaim in the 1980s as the top young jazz group in Canada. Cave has continued performing locally since then, most recently with the Dave Stewart Quintet and Jazz on the Roof.

All this for a suggested $5 donation.

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— Georgia Straight Jazz Society