Ken McDonald Quartet at Thursday Night Jazz

After the wonderful New Orleans jazz of last week, music at Thursday Night Jazz at the Avalanche Bar moves ahead about eight decades, with a fusion of musicians, Ken McDonald Quartet, whose interests are quite global. This is best illustrated by the inclusion of an oud in their instrumental line-up.

An oud? The oud is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument (a chordophone in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification of instruments) with 11 or 13 strings grouped in five or six courses, commonly used in Persian, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Byzantine, Azerbaijani, Arabian, Armenian, North African (Chaabi, Classical, and Spanish Andalusian), Somali and Middle Eastern music.

And if you come down to listen to it this week, commencing at 7:30 p.m., you’re in for a special treat because you’re going to hear it used in jazz!.

The Ken McDonald Quartet is an exuberant and dynamically diverse jazz ensemble hailing from Toronto, Ontario. Bassist/leader Ken McDonald formed the group in 2008 in order to create music that takes inspiration from a colourful array of influences.

With Paul Metcalfe (saxophones), Demetri Petsalakis (guitar/oud) and Lowell Whitty (drums) rounding out the ensemble, the Ken McDonald Quartet fuses modern and traditional jazz disciplines while stealing world music influences ranging from Brazil, the Middle East and New Orleans.

The melody has always been the principal focus in Ken’s music and this band brings these tuneful compositions to life with an unbridled rhythmic drive and an exciting spark of spontaneity.

The Ken McDonald Quartet has released two records to critical acclaim: Pay What You Can (2010) and Sitting, Waiting, Wasting Time (2015), the latter being engineered by Gemini Award-winning musician/producer Dave Clark (The Woodshed Orchestra/The Rheostatics).

This is the band’s first tour of western Canada, and we’re proud to host their opening appearance.

Admission is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. For more information about 30 or so forthcoming acts in this year’s performances between now and the end of May, visit georgiastraightjazz.com, and select the calendar tab.

Better still, come on down and expose yourself to live jazz, and discover why we’ve got the best jazz scene in B.C. You’ll be glad you did!

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