John Lee

Georgia Straight Jazz presents a farewell to John Lee

The Andrew Janusson Quartet plays with Lee on drums

Welcome to a new year featuring fine live jazz music every Thursday evening at the newly renovated Avalanche Bar and Grill.

Our 2015 lineup kicks off with a special and sentimental performance at 7:30 p.m. when The Andrew Janusson Quartet will be playing a farewell show for one of our fine young jazz musicians John Lee, much respected by jazz society members for his exciting appearances in 2014.

After a brief stay at home in Nanaimo, John will be heading back to Boston, Mass. to Berklee College of Music to finish his bachelor’s degree in music. The quartet will be playing a selection of classic jazz standards, and hard hitting bebop tunes with a special emphasis on the virtuosic music of Charlie Parker.


John Lee is perhaps one of Canada’s best young jazz musicians. The highly talented, multi-instrumentalist has performed in major cities such as Toronto, New York City, Boston, Vancouver and Washington D.C. in many high profile venues and festivals.  He was awarded the Slaight Family Music Scholarship for Canadian high school students that gave him a full ride to Berklee. More recently he has blown away his Courtenay audiences as a stunning saxophonist and drummer. For this farewell performance John will be on the drum kit.

Andrew grew up in Nanaimo, B.C.  He began playing the guitar at 13, and advanced quickly to perform with the large and small jazz ensembles, wind ensemble and musical theatre productions at Dover Bay Secondary School, as well as forming bands and playing gigs outside of school. It was here that he earned the Dogwood Award Scholarship to attend Vancouver Island University and further his studies in music, focusing on jazz performance. Currently, Andrew is studying music at Vancouver Island University under the guidance of Pat Coleman, Ken Lister, Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and others. As well, Andrew has had the opportunity to study with the likes of Canadian legends Phil Dwyer and Ross Taggart as well as NYC based jazz guitarists such as Adam Rogers, Rotem Sivan, and Paul Bollenback.  Andrew performs regularly at many venues, including Hermann’s Jazz Club, The Avalanche, and The Crofton Pub and Hotel with local professionals such as Ken Lister and Miles Black.  Andrew is quickly becoming one of the most in demand, young jazz guitarists on all of Vancouver Island.


Sean Drabitt left Victoria 24 years ago to study jazz bass in Los Angeles with mentor John Clayton. During the first decade he spent time in New Orleans, where he worked with all members of the Marsalis family, then in New York, working with the best young players on the modern jazz scene, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Eric Harland and Ari Honig among them.


With all of this under his belt, specializing in a hard driving hard bop informed style of bass playing, he returned to Victoria nearly 15 years ago. Today he divides his time between various projects on both electric and acoustic bass. More recent career highlights include a western Canadian tour with Terrell Stafford’s quintet in 2012 and a number of gigs with pianist George Colligan.

Graham Shonwise is a graduate of the Vancouver Island University jazz program.


This fine young saxophonist is quickly becoming one of the most in demand players on Vancouver Island.

He performs locally with many local professionals such as Hans Verhoeven and Ken Lister.


Admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members.



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