Miller leading jazz night at Elks’

Thursday Night Jazz at the Elks’ returns to new and exciting talent this week when A Step Above takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday Night Jazz at the Elks’ returns to new and exciting talent this week when A Step Above takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Trumpeter Cory Miller from Port Alberni acts as the host and bandleader for an evening of jazz.

Attending Malaspina College to study jazz, Miller studied with the well-known Canadian jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Alan Matheson. For the past 26 years, he has played trumpet with groups as varied as a gold medal-winning Dixieland Band, Alan Matheson’s Big Band, the Arrowsmith Big Band, the Mount Benson Symphony Orchestra, as well as many community musicals.

Miller continues his passion in music by teaching jazz theory and improvisation, voice, piano, trumpet and other beginning band instruments in the Alberni Valley.

Barry Miller, a graduate of Westlake College of Music at Los Angeles, will be on piano.

After working in Los Angeles for several years, Barry returned to Canada and for the next 35 years taught instrumental music at Port Alberni Secondary School.

Moving to Nanaimo nine years ago, he is very active in the mid-Island as a member of the Arrowsmith Big Band and as pianist and musical director for many shows including Oliver!, Little Shop of Horrors and Blood Brothers. For the past three holiday seasons, he has been pianist for the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular.

On drums will be Michael Wright, who’s been drumming since he was eight years old. He’s known to jazz fans around this part of the world as the drummer with Arrowsmith Big Band.

Wright has played for numerous musicals in the mid-Island, including Oliver!, Urinetown, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls and The King and I. He has also been a member of the orchestra for three seasons of the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular.

When not playing the drums, Wright can be found grappling with funding problems for not-for-profit arts groups in Nanaimo.

Brian Anderson from Qualicum has been playing both the upright and electric bass for just under six years. He has performed with such groups as the National Concert Band, the BCMEA Jazz Band and the Arrowsmith Big Band.

For the past two summers, he performed in Oceanside’s Bard to Broadway pit orchestras for Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver! and Gypsy. Having focused on playing jazz for most of his musical career, Anderson is studying classical string bass at UVic.

As talented as this combo is, the extra highlight of the evening will be the addition of alto saxophonist Claudio Fantinato as a special guest.

A graduate of the Malaspina College (VIU) music program, Fantinato won a Canada Council grant and a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. For the past 22 years, he has continued to play with a wide range of musical groups.

He resides in Qualicum Beach and performs with local groups including the Arrowsmith Big Band and the Jazz Swingers.

We’re closing in on the last few weeks of the 2010-2011 performance season, and this is a wonderful opportunity to listen to cool modern jazz before the summer break, so why not consider taking the opportunity to experience great music for nothing more than a suggested $5 donation? Great venue, good company and terrific Mediterranean food are available.

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society presents live jazz at the Elks’ between September and June. For more information about upcoming events, visit

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society


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