Full House Band jazzing up the Av

Georgia Straight Jazz Society brings you a fresh new band

Once again, the Georgia Straight Jazz Society brings you a fresh new band this Thursday at 7:30 at the Avalanche Bar.

The musicians include some well respected players who have graced our stage before, but the lineup is new and their style distinctive. Full House, a quintet, is the product of some mid-island friends who come together a few times a month to have some fun, play some standards and try out some original music. Mostly in the ’50s hard bop-style of Horace Silver and Art Blakey.

The lineup comprises James McRae, drums; Patrick Courtin, keyboard; Doug Gretsinger, bass; Larry Miller, tenor sax, and Claudio Fantinato on sax, flute and clarinet.

In the past year, McRae has shared the stage with the likes of  Connor Stewart, Kyle Gorenko, Marty Shepard, Marisha Devoin, Nico Rhodes, and Eugene Burton.

Courtin is a well-known Nanaimo pianist, accompanist and music teacher.  He’s been playing piano since age six and has Royal Conservatory grade 10. Patrick is active in the musical community, playing regularly with the Nanaimo Musician’s Association big band and other smaller groups. He’s currently in rehearsal with the Nanaimo Theatre Group’s production of “Cabaret”.

Gretsinger’s love of music is expressed musically both on bass and guitar.  He’s presently enjoying playing many styles of music in eight different groups, with the focus more on jazz and rock. Doug has three CDs completed, with the fourth almost finished.

Miller, saxophonist/flautist/clarinetist, is a performer and teacher. He has produced several CD recordings, Freya’s Song (1997), Storm Head (1999) Instance (2006), and been a sideman on other artists’ CDs. Larry has performed with the Motown group the Temptations and was a member of the backing band for comedian Bob Newhart’s Victoria appearance.

Fantinato (saxophonist/clarinetist) studied music at Malaspina College (VIU) and Berklee College of Music. He has more than 30 years’ experience, including time with the Arrowsmith Big Band, local community theatre, and some highlights along the way, not the least of which was playing for Oprah Winfrey.

With no Canucks to watch, and the light summer evenings, this is an ideal time of year to discover why Thursday Night Jazz has become a major arts fixture in the Comox Valley community. Why not gather a few friends together and come on down before our regular season winds up in mid-June? You’ll be glad you did, and then you’ll be hankering after our upcoming three summer afternoon concerts in The Gardens on Anderton in July and August, and a whole new season of live jazz commencing next September. For more information about the Jazz Society and to see the amazing gallery of photographs of this year’s performers, courtesy of the Comox Valley Camera Club, go to www.georgiastraightjazz.com, or on Facebook.


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