Marty Steele

Versatile keyboardist Marty Steele visits The Ave for jazz

On May 24, you’re invited to experience one of the most exciting performers on offer on Vancouver Island when Marty Steele leads his jazz group on The Avalanche stage at 7:30 p.m.

Simply put, Steele is one of the most versatile keyboardists in the music world, a master of playing the keyboard bass lines, a direct disciple of the jazz/blues pioneer Jimmy Smith.

He rarely leaves Nanaimo because of his steady working schedule, but for one night he comes up to play at The Avalanche to celebrate his birthday with the Georgia Straight Jazz Society members.

Bandleader, arranger, producer, etc., he covers all the bases as few are able to do. (One credit to mention – he had the chance to play at a Vocal Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City!)

James McRae, drums, displays a passion for music which defies easy categorization, displaying his unique approach to the drums on the island since 1986 as an important part of the Vancouver Island music scene. Well known to jazz society members, he is currently the drummer of choice by many of the top bandleaders on the Island.

Claudio Fantinato, a favourite saxophonist with jazz fans in this region, will raise the bar in this concert.

Fantinato is a graduate from VIU and Berklee College of Music in Boston. He’s a highly skilled sax and woodwind player who has performed in a wide variety of musical groups (big bands, smaller ensembles, and musical theatre). Currently, he is in partnership with the legendary Phil Dwyer distributing the new Phil Dwyer edition saxophones through his new company Sea Wind Musical Instruments.

To complete this blues-based line-up, Steele has included a young and very charismatic vocalist who brings a sultriness to her interpretations. Robyn Fortunat has a maturity that belies her age. She’s recent graduate of the VIU Jazz Studies program, and a mainstay in many vocal choirs (A Cappella Plus, the Cowichan Consort Choir, and VIU Vocal Jazz groups).

Fortunat has performed with Nico Rhodes and Andrew Homzy’s NOLA Nighthawks. (She also appeared at Carnegie Hall!). Her most recent accomplishment was performing with Marty’s trio and three other vocalists at the Have You Heard Jazz series in Nanaimo as the lead vocalist in the opening concert of the series.

Admission to this penultimate show of the season is $10 for members, $12 for non-members.

For more information about the society, and to see the amazing schedule of acts already booked for the new season which starts in September, visit georgiastraightjazz.com.

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