Submitted to The Record
After the amazing hubbub of last Thursday’s successful four-hour fundraiser for the survivors of the Nepal earthquake when all the money raised was sent to the Canadian Red Cross, my recent interview with Dave Stewart stood in stark contrast.
Here was a man who takes his music really seriously, and I could only marvel at the range of music we call ‘jazz’. From all of the frivolity of last week when four bands stirred a large crowd in high spirits to dig a little deeper for a good cause, to listening to an artist describing a totally different art form.
I could see that Dave was obviously struggling to explain the concept behind his upcoming show this Thursday at the Avalanche Bar. Determined, he pushed on.
“A few years ago I came across 14 arrangements of music from the ‘Cool Jazz’ area. I thought that it would interesting, fun and uniquely challenging to put together a select group of eight musicians to play this music from a specific period in jazz history, hence the name of the group ‘Project 8’.
“Cool Jazz emerged in 1953 when Capital Records released an album entitled ‘Classics in Jazz, Cool and Quiet’. The music was created in part as a reaction to bebop and hard bop jazz styles of the late 1940s and ’50s, which were typified by fast, hard-driving lines and an emerging interest in more orchestrated arrangements for smaller groups. Players such as Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker pioneered the style, which is sometimes also called ‘Soft Bop’.”
He stopped to gather his thoughts, and continued.
“In the late 1950s and into the 1960s Dave Brubeck and Dave Pell furthered the style and from it emerged ‘West Coast Jazz’. This collection of arrangements offers a challenge of blend, balance and flowing lines as well as an opportunity for individual players to solo within each of the arrangements, and provides the audience the unique experience of rehearing a jazz style that was made famous during the ’50s and ’60s.”
And so it is that we will be featuring this exciting jazz concept, with some of our region’s finest jazz musicians making up the octet, including Dave Stewart on trumpet, is a member of the Arrowsmith Big Band and Project 8. He was actively involved playing and conducting in various musicals for Bard to Broadway in Qualicum Beach. His love of jazz lead him to discover Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, and Clifford Brown and many others in the mid-1970s, where he began to listen to and perform jazz on the trumpet.
Claudio Fantinato on alto saxophone. Originally from Port Alberni, Claudio went on to study music at Malaspina University College (VIU), and later Berklee College of Music. For the past 25 years, he has continued to perform in a wide variety of musical groups including big bands, small jazz ensembles, and musical theatre.
Dan Craven: Tenor saxophone, teaches music on central Vancouver Island, and brings the benefit of extensive performance experience to his students. A 2001 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, he is an educator who has also had the privilege of sharing the stage with top musicians. In 2007 Dan joined Phil Dwyer’s Sax Summit, which first launched in 2002 with the release of Sax Summit on CBC Records, and has recurred in various incarnations throughout the country since then.
Brianne de Verteuil: Baritone Saxophone, from Nanaimo, BC, although her roots lie in Vancouver. She became very interested in jazz while attending what is now Vancouver Island University, studying with saxophonists Larry Miller, Steve Jones, and Monik Nordine, and guitarist Pat Coleman. She decided to further her studies under the guidance of renowned Montréal saxophonist Dave Turner and graduated with distinction from the Jazz Studies specialization at Concordia University in 2006. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Education (Music Education) from University of Victoria in 2011, Brianne has lead a number of award-winning student ensembles.
Chad Geekie: Piano, is an enigma on the Canadian jazz scene. He is known and well respected among Canada’s jazz elite as one of the most harmonically capable and musically refreshing players around, yet he rarely performs outside of his native Vancouver Island. Chad completed a jazz degree at McGill University before moving on to perform with the likes of Benny Golson, Jamie Aebersold, Phil Dwyer, Ingrid Jensen and Christine Jensen.
Marisha Devoin: Bass is a very active, versatile Bassist and singer who has gained a reputation as an excellent musician and as a result she is very in demand. She performs in many jazz combos, the Arrowsmith big band and music theater productions in Chemenuis, and Qualicum Beach.
James McRae: Drums, has been playing and composing professionally for over 30 years. He is a versatile drummer, adept at many different styles of music. An example of his versatility is his ability to play New Orleans, and Swing and Funk styles in Andrew Homzy’s N.O.L.A. NightHawks jazz band, to music from the Gordon Lightfoot, songbook tour.
Paul Neuz: Trombone, from Comox is a very active musician in the Courtenay music scene, having played in many jazz groups in the area. He is the lead trombone player in the Arrowsmith Big Band. He has worked with Phil Dwyer, Ingrid Jensen and many others. This Thursday, Paul is a catalyst of trombone excitement in Project 8.
Show time to this special presentation is 7:30 pm. Admission is $10 and $12 for members and non-members respectively. For more information about the jazz society and its remaining concerts in the current season, find us on Facebook or visit HYPERLINK “http://www.georgia” www.georgiastraightjazz.com