After a new year season which has primarily featured small groups, it’s time to turn the volume up a few notches as we return to big band music. The fabled Arrowsmith Big Band returns to Georgia Straight Jazz Society at the Avalanche Bar & Grill on Feb. 18, with a show starting at 7:30 p.m.
The band, arguably the finest on Vancouver Island, is based in Oceanside, and has among its members some of the best jazz players on the Central Island.
Soloists include Oceanside players Claudio Fantinato (alto and soprano sax) and Dave Stewart (trumpet), as well as Nanaimo’s Greg Bush (trumpet) and Barry Miller (piano).
Originally formed more than 40 years ago, the band has enjoyed several incarnations over the years. For the last 14 years the band has focused on big band jazz from established and emerging arrangers.
For this visit to the Thursday Night Jazz at the Av, the band has selected charts in a wide variety of styles, from gentle big band ballads to driving swing.
The band always looks forward to performances in Courtenay. Due to some conflicting scheduling, the band found itself without some regular members, who had already committed to feature at the Envision Surrey Jazz Festival on the mainland.
But thanks to the depth of talented musicians on the Island, the band is happy to be joined by Nanaimo’s Lucas Smart on tenor sax and Dean Boland on trumpet, Rod Alsop from Ladysmith on alto sax and on trombone Courtenay’s favourite, Jeff Agopsowicz.
If you’ve never experienced Thursday Night Jazz, don’t be shy: come on down and receive a warm welcome from music fans of like mind. If you have teenagers who would like to experience live jazz music, bring them with you; the Avalanche changed its licence to allow a younger audience to appreciate the music too. Admission is $10 for society members, $12 for non-members.
For more information about the society and its forthcoming shows, follow us at www.georgiastraightjazz.com or on Facebook.