Jazzy take on Christmas tunes

The B3 Kings are coming to The Elks Hall in downtown Courtenay

Ho Ho Ho, the B3 Kings are coming to The Elks Hall in downtown Courtenay so you better be good and get tickets for the funkiest, jazziest Christmas music this side of the North Pole.

Formed in 2002 for a special Christmas concert in Vancouver, the show was such a success the concert became an annual event, which the band is bringing to Courtenay this year for a not-to-be-missed show.

Not simply Christmas tunes, but original and brilliant arrangements of familiar seasonal music featuring four of Canada’s best jazz musicians.

Anchoring the band with wicked organ grooves is Vancouver native Chris Gestrin. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he’s been central to projects winning eight Juno Awards, two West Coast and two East Coast music awards, and played with a who’s who of jazz including Gary Peacock, Kenny Wheeler, P.J. Perry and Duke Robillard to name a few.

Better known perhaps as a singer, Denzal Sinclaire will push the B3 Kings groove from behind the drums as well as ride that groove as vocalist. To drop just a few names for Denzal, he’s worked with The Count Basie Orchestra, Peter Appleyard, Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth.

Diana Krall says of Sinclaire, “He embodies the tradition, yet has his own voice. One of my favourite singers.”

Working like the other side of Sinclaire’s coin after decades playing together is guitarist Bill Coon. Having studied with jazz great Jim Hall, Coon is widely respected as a composer, arranger and jazz guitar god. Having worked with the likes of Jimmy Heath, Chuck Israels, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Oliver Gannon and Dee Daniels, he is the first call of Canadian jazz guitarists.

Bringing much wit, wisdom and a wealth of jazz to the B3s is saxophonist Cory Weeds. His bio also reads like the Who’s Who, Paul Anka, Joey Defrancesco, Lou Donaldson and Don Thompson just to name a few.

In his spare time he’s a jazz impresario, running the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver which, akin to The Blue Note club in New York, is a must-play venue for jazz artists worldwide.

This stellar band of friends will bring their gifts for Christmas to the Elks Hall on Dec. 16, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at Bop City in Courtenay and Videos N More in Comox as well as the regular Thursday jazz shows at the Elks.  They will sell briskly so don’t be disappointed.

For more information, visit www.georgiastraightjazz.com.,

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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