Nanaimo's Teighan Couch plays a special Sunday concert for the Georgia Straight Jazz Society on Feb. 26. Photo supplied

Teighan Couch Quartet coming to Comox

By Malcolm Holt

Special to the Record

This is the week when Georgia Straight Jazz Society brings you Ella Fitzgerald’s vocal improvisations, swing feel and melodic phrasing.

If you love Ella’s style, you’re going to be amazed at Teighan Couch’s performance on Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Little Red Church in Comox. Couch not only sings like Ella, but she scats like her too.

Originally from Ottawa, Couch moved to Nanaimo with dreams of becoming a vocalist under the inspiration of her favourite jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and the Oscar Peterson Trio. She is a powerful, soulful vocalist with a knack for scat and a devoted love for the healing power of song.

“I first performed for the Georgia Straight Jazz Society with the Marty Steele Quartet in February 2022, and I’m excited to be returning to Comox Valley this Thursday with a quartet under my own leadership at The Little Red Church,” said Couch. “I’m huge into swing music and love to play for dancers. I’m deeply inspired by recordings released in the 1950s under Verve Records.”

Couch’s biggest inspiration is Fitzgerald.

“I have taken to studying Ella’s vocal improvisations, swing feel and melodic phrasing,” she said.

Her quartet will join her in re-imagined arrangements of standards taken from her favourite recordings, composers and instrumentalists, including Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Ahmad Jamal, Bud Powell, Barney Kessel, Peterson and Charlie Parker. You can catch a sneak peek of Couch’s performance on YouTube from her recent show at Char’s Landing with Ken Lister and Jesse Marshall at Teighan Couch Trio at Char’s Landing.

This Thursday’s quartet features Jesse Marshall on guitar, Drake Shoemaker on bass, and Cayleigh Borsbom on the tenor and soprano saxophone.

Marshall is an established guitarist based in Nanaimo. His album Small Talk, released in 2016, was nominated for a Julian Award and was featured on the University of Toronto Jazz Orchestra’s 2020 album Embargo, which received four stars from All About Jazz.

Shoemaker is versatile bassist. A soon-to-be graduate from Vancouver Island University’s jazz program, Shoemaker has been featured in many different bands playing a variety of musical styles from rock and roll and pop to bebop and free jazz.

Borsbom is a graduate of the jazz program at Humber in Toronto, Ont. She has recently re-joined the Nanaimo music community to share her talents on the tenor and soprano saxophone. She takes inspiration from a lot of the same artists as Couch and although they have only recently started playing together, they have incredible musical chemistry when they’re on the bandstand.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Downbeat is at 7:30. Admission is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. 2023 memberships will be available at the door. There’s loads of seating, and great sound and sight lines. No food or drinks will be sold at the concert, but you’re invited to bring your own beverage and snack with you.

For more information about forthcoming events in our 2023 calendar, please visit

Malcolm Holt is the president of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society.

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