On Sept. 13 the Georgia Straight Jazz Society starts another season of live jazz.
Building on the success and increased attendance of recent years, the new schedule will bring a mixture of established and upcoming combos; musicians from 18 to 85, and genres ranging from Tin Pan Alley to west coast modern jazz.
The musician base draws from upcoming stars of tomorrow’s jazz scene as the GSJS invites students from the jazz program at Vancouver Island University, to former professional musicians with an international reputation.
The past season presented 39 Thursday concerts (composed of 33 different acts) and five ticketed Sunday night events, including a wealth of new musicians from across Canada who settled in our region during the past three years or so.
We are so fortunate to have such depth of talent migrating here, and this has only served to enhance our reputation as one of the few communities in North America where live jazz appreciation has rocketed. GSJS audiences have ranged from high school students to the elderly. Young people (high school aged and up) are encouraged to attend, and discover the beauty and diversity of jazz music.
Attendance last season was the highest ever, with an average turnout of 90 for the Thursday concerts. Membership has held steady, as has the number of volunteers who contribute their time to making live jazz performance so popular in our community.
Total attendance last season was over 3,000, and voluntary donations made to the hat resulted in the Elks’ venue becoming an important gig for jazz performers.
The society is proud to offer a major performance opportunity for local jazz musicians, as well as a first-class lounge atmosphere, with bar service, in which to play live music in front of an appreciative audience.
Acts last season encompassed everything from trios to big bands — in fact, no fewer than four big bands. To match this evolution, the society has invested considerably in the acquisition of wonderful new speakers and sound control; not only is the standard of music rising, but the sound quality has improved vastly, too.
This coming season, the GSJS will follow its established tradition of supporting local charitable organizations, as well as funding the Liam Grimm Jazz Music Bursary to a deserving and promising student musician. As well, the society appreciates the range of corporate members who contributed last year, and it looks forward to increasing its number of business partners.
For more information about live jazz in the Comox Valley and the society’s activities, go to www.georgiastraightjazz.com and visit it on Facebook. Also, consult the local midweek newspapers for information about each Thursday’s upcoming act.
Mark your calendar for 7:30 p.m. at the Elks’ Hall on Sixth Street in downtown Courtenay, and discover what so many others have done already — live jazz lives in the Comox Valley.
— Georgia Straight Jazz Society