Saturday April 8, 2017, 7:30pm – SWEET ALIBI at 5768 Haha Creek Road, Wardner.This is the last concert of this season’s Home Routes House Concerts.
It seems that Winnipeg is possibly the geographical center of Canada and at the same time it is the center of Canada’s musical universe. Maybe it is the cold winters that drives everybody indoors to play and appreciate music. Over the years the quality of musicians that have come out of this city has proven to be exceptional. For this last concert, the trio Sweet Alibi – Amber Rose – vocals, guitar, ukulele and a little percussion on the side; Michelle Anderson – vocals, banjo and guitar; Jess Rae Ayre – vocals, guitar, harmonica and a little percussion on the side has once again demonstrated that musicians from Winnipeg are top draw. Most of the music presented was original material written by the trio with an occasional cover of lesser known songs such as Bob Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody (it was a new song to me but it maybe better known by everybody else)
Gotta Serve Somebody
You may be an ambassador to England or France You may like to gamble, you might like to dance You may be the heavyweight champion of the world You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief
Also there was Khari Wendell McClelland’sSong of the Agitator. It is a song that remembers the Underground Railway of African Americans fleeing from the USA in the mid 1800s. It is a song that, with the current Moslem immigrants illegally crossing the border into Manitoba had some sense of deju vu . “Every thing changes but some things seem to just stay the same”. As per their website – ” The appeal of Sweet Alibi’s sound hinges on their ability to mix elements of folk, roots, and country, then present it in the context of a tightly-structured pop song.” I think that is true. Their vocal harmonies are strong and their spartan accompaniments take the music way outside the narrow confines of current pop/rock music. The mix of the banjo and the heavy vibrato of the electric guitar provides a unique background to their songs and takes them even further away from run of the mill pop music. Three songs that had great appeal where Dark Train, Walking in the Dark and Bodacious (a famous rodeo bull forced to retire because he was way to dangerous for cowboys to try and ride). Here are some images from the evening:
Jess Rae Ayre Michelle Anderson
So ends the marvelous musical series for this past winter. The musicians and the venues were were exceptional and the weather, at times, was a little bit of a challenge but that comes with living in the back blocks of Canada. I wish to thank the hosts, Van, Shelagh, Patricia and Gordon for opening their homes for these wonderfully intimate musical concerts and for providing the wine and treats. I am looking forward to next winter and, hopefully, another Home Routes Concert Series.
Spellbinding!!! Yep, that’s the word for the musicians and the performance. This is The Sultans of String third tour of the East Kootenays and their second performance at Centre 64. On their last trip to the area in February 2014 they performed with the Symphony of the Kootenays. Prior to that in January 2009 they performed here in Kimberley at Centre 64. They are currently on their 10th anniversary tour. Of course things do change and the musical configuration known as The Sultans of String has changed and evolved over the years. Having said that Drew Birston on electric bass and Chris McKool on 5 string violin are the constants in the ensemble. Back in 2009 the guitarist Eddie Paton was a member and somewhere along the way the ensemble enlisted the aid of Kevin Laliberte and his flamenco/rhumba guitar in developing the signature sound of The Sultans. The current core of ensemble includes Drew Birston, Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberte. Depending on the tour and circumstances the core ensemble is augmented with the addition of Cuban percussion, Oud (the Arabian ancestor of all guitar like instruments), Ney (Middle Eastern end blown flute) and for this tour Anwar Khurshid on Sitar and Jeff Faragher on Cello. The signature sound of the ensemble is a genre-hopping mixture of Celtic reels, flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms all played with their trademark brand of virtuosity.
They kicked off the evening’s music with their original tune Enter the Gate with its wonderful melodic mix of violin and Sitar backed with a flamenco flavored guitar rhythm and bass line. Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife is a well known Scottish lament written by the master Scottish fiddler Neil Gow way back at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was nicely paired with the Rakes of Marlow. There is some dispute about this second tune. Normally it is considered a standard Celtic tune but Anwar insists that he was taught the tune way back in his youth as a traditional Indian melody. Most of the Sultan’s music is instrumental but there was room for for the likes of Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind and Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. Throughout the evening they also played Luna the Whale, Hills of Green, Josie, Stomping at the Rex (a swing tune) and a sitar tune about snake charmers, an original about Nova Scotia’s Sable Island and my favorite Road to Kfarmishki. I felt that this was some sort of Turkish tune in an odd time signature (11/8, 12/8 , 14/8 or something like that) but the bass player Drew informs me that it a 4/4 tune with repeated two bar phrases. Oh well, I am not often right so I guess I am wrong again. Never-the-less it is a wonderful hypnotic tune that I really like. Here are some more images from a night of spellbinding music.
The patrons and the musicians would like to thank the Stone Fired Pizza for the food, A B&B AT 228 for the accommodations, Ray for the sound and all the organizers and volunteers that make the concert series possible.
Some Musical Notes:
Drew Birston plays a 1978 Fender Precision Bass.
Chris McKhool (no he is not Scottish) plays a five string violin tuned C G D A E (low to high) with an installed pickup and effect pedals. It is slightly larger than a conventional violin and allows the musician to cover the full sonic range of both the traditional violin and viola.
Kevin Laliberte plays a carbon fiber Blackbird guitar with a somewhat unconventional shape. From their web site: The Blackbird Rider Nylon’s one-piece, carbon fiber construction with hollow head, neck and body allows the entire guitar to resonate—–enhancing loudness, bass and sustain. You will never again face humidity or durability issues with the Rider carbon fiber nylon string guitar. With the optional Neck-up guitar accessory, your Rider is securely anchored– no footstool required! Plug it in and the optional MiSi or RMC individual string pickups accurately amplify your dynamic acoustic tone. BUILD TIME EIGHT WEEKS.
Anwar Khurshid plays a traditional Indian Sitar with installed pickups. Anwar tells me the instrument was built in 1479.I don’t know if I believe him. If it is true then it is in remarkable condition.
Jeff Faragher plays a standard symphonic cello with installed pickups and effect pedals.
THE SILVER SCREEN SCOUNDRELS at Centre 64, Saturday March 18, 2017, 8pm
There is a long tradition of comedy duos in the cinema that have included the likes of Laurel & Hardy; Abbot & Costello; Bing Crosby & Bob Hope; Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. These performers have all been a feature of the cinematic landscape from way back since the beginning of film making. In this day and age there are probably other personalities out there that still fit that bill but have escaped my awareness. Also in the silent film days it was not unusual for musicians to play accompaniments to the action on the screen. So, The Silver Screen Scoundrels are part of a legacy, albeit, with a bit of a twist. They not only do the comedy bit and play the music they are also the actors, producers and directors of the silent films that are interspersed throughout the evening. The two featured scoundrels are Keith Picot singing and playing a very beat up 1947 Kay upright bass. Although the introduction of the electric bass guitar largely replaced the acoustic upright bass in the 1960s, in their day Kay basses were the “goto” bass. The other member of the duo is Brandon Isaak (akaYukon Slim) on vocals, drums, harmonica, acoustic and slide guitar. The music the scoundrels perform is mostly blues based swing that is a good fit for the slapstick black and white videos up thrown up on the screen during the evening. Brandon plays wonderful “four on floor” rhythm guitar interspersed with great single string jazz solos. Keith is the raconteur of the duo. With only one the exception, a train song, all of the tunes and songs performed were originals by Brandon Isaak. The songs and tunes have such an old texture they end up coming across as very fresh and new. There is no modern pop music here. It is music you don’t really remember having heard before but in actual fact you have because it is buried deep in our cultural memory. The duo just bring it back to the front of our brains. Some of the original tunes included Back to New Orleans, Up and at Them (an old Twisters song) and Time on my Hands. Keith is a masterful bass player and natural raconteur and the result is a relaxed verbal and musical conversation between two fine performers. The show comes across with an amazing degree of humour and spontaneity and just plain old fashion fun. I think every member of the audience came away from the evening with a huge smile on their face. It was a night of great music and wonderful entertainment.Oh, before I forget, there is one unsung performer of the evening. Mostly she is off to the side and largely out of the spot light. That is the duo’s female pal Cup Cake Betty. I hate to break it to Keith and Isaak but I don’t think she has been entirely faithful. She seems to have been somewhat promiscuous and is known far and wide as Muffin Mary. Read into that what you will.
Here are some images from the evening:
Thank you Mr. Marty Musser for bringing this duo to the attention of the organizing committee . Thanks to Nancy at the Burrito Grill for feeding the musicians and “A B&B at 228″ for providing the accommodation.Thanks to Randy and Al for the lights and , projection. The musicians also offer a special thanks to ” Raymond, the patron saint of pain in the ass musicians” (their words) on sound.
Don’t forget the next concert in the series, THE SULTANS OF STRING who will be performing on Wednesday April 5, 2017, 8pm. This is a return engagement for this very special group.
Cello player Jeff Faragher does not need an introduction. He is probably the best known professional musician in the Kootenays. He is the musical director and conductor of the Symphony of the Kootenays. He is a classical cello soloist and teacher of the first order as well as a performer in number of classical chamber music configurations. And, if that is not enough he the driving force behind a “celtic mish-mash” called Breakwater. This group plays in a somewhat Celtic style but, in Jeff’s own words, it is “a mish-mash” of everything from traditional fiddle music, classical, jazz, pop, film music and pretty well anything musical that comes to hand. Over the past two years the group has toured the region extensively. First in a configuration that included Aurora Smith on violin; Jeff Faragher on cello; Ben Johnson on drums and percussion and Rob Fahie on double bass. This was a tight, exciting and well balanced performing unit. That was last year and, of course, as always, things move on. Aurora moved to Victoria; rehearsal travel became an issue for Ben (he lives on the remote east shore of Kootenay Lake); Jeff is now splitting his time between Nelson and Calgary, and Rob, although still available, has a number of other projects on the go. To keep the “mish-mash” mix bubbling Jeff has enlisted the aid of two top flight Calgary musicians. James Desautels has taken over the fiddle chair. James is a full time professional musician and teacher with many, many years experience in a multitude of circumstances and geographical locations including residency in Austin, Texas. Similarly, Rob Maciak is also a full time professional musicians and is best known as a percussionist and teacher. He is currently on the faculty of Mount Royal College in Calgary. Although, in Breakwater Rob plays drums and percussion, he is also an outstanding classical performer on tuned percussion (tympani, chimes, marimba and the like). He performs as a marimba soloist in classical symphony orchestras. He will be the featured soloist with the Symphony of Kootenays this fall performing Neg Rosaaro’s Concerto #1 for Marimba and Strings.
There is an old notion that classical musicians cannot play outside the box. That may have been true sixty or more years ago but now that is no longer the case. Often a sound formal music education is a basis to move onto the exploration of a whole plethora of musical options. A quick research of the resume any number of of top flight musicians will reveal an extra ordinary number who have formal academic and performance credentials out the ying-yang. All musicians in this ensemble would fall into that category. This new incarnation of Breakwater is different from the first edition. For a starter it is a trio rather than a quartet and while it does not have the mellow polish of the first edition it does have more of an edge and a higher entertainment quotient. The current repertoire draws from the same arrangements and sources but with a few more entertainment motifs thrown in for good measure. The “mish-mash” of Bach’s Jesu of Man’s Desire overlaid on top of the the old classical soprano tear jerker Ave Marie is still there to give new life to a couple of classical staples as the trio seamlessly slides into the old fiddle tune The Ash Plant. Other songs and tunes during the evening included Jeff Faragher’s version of the maritime ballad Song of the Mira coupled with the fiddle tune Stolen Apples; Jeff’s version of this ballad is probably one of the best around. James Desautels did more than justice to the old American fiddle show pieces The Orange Blossom Special, The Arkansas Traveler and The Soldiers Joy and a series of waltzes that included the Tennessee Waltz and the Shannon Waltz. As promised, the evening’s “mish-mash” contained a little bit of everything from Beethoven through some fiddle tunes in 7/8; Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind and Running Through Tall Grass; Natalie McMaster’s Volcanic Jig; the traditional Southern Song There is more Love and my all time favorite fiddle tune The Pelican Reel. It was quite a night of good food, good cheer and great entertainment and one that I hope will be repeated at some time in the not too distant future. Here are some images from the night.
Studio 64 Spring Concert Series – Don Alder Saturday February 11, 2017, 8pm.
Don Alder is an acoustic guitar player who performs in a style I describe as “”two fisted percussive”. The great Canadian acoustic guitarist Don Ross would probably describe it as “Heavy Wood”. It is a funky, take no prisoners style of music that owes much to rock and roll sensibilities albeit with more highly developed guitar technique and musicality. The style has developed over the past thirty years and has virtually stood conventional guitar technique on it head. Rather than restricting the left hand to fretting the notes and the right hand to strumming or picking there is a new role for the right hand for fretting and tapping the fret board for the desired notes and adding percussive effects by tapping the body of the guitar. The first time I came across this approach was in the playing of Stanley Jordan in the mid -1980s. Stanley was a jazz guitarist who played electric guitar by using both hands to tap the frets to get the required musical notes. It was a style more akin to a keyboard instrument than a guitar. He tuned his guitar in fourths (E A D G C F) and developed an harmonic approach based on that tuning. Although there were some percussive elements in his playing the whole thing was more pianistic than percussive.
The percussive elements in acoustic guitar playing have been around for a long time. In Flamenco guitar playing guitar body slaps and taps have been an integral part of that style of music for many, many years. Percussive guitar playing is nothing new for flamenco guitarists. Modern acoustic guitarists such as Don Ross, Tommy Emmanuel and Don Alder have developed a percussive language that takes it to a whole new level. It is best explained by Tommy Emmanuel in a TED TALK (click on the link at the bottom of this blog). Essentially the acoustic guitarist now tries to emulates a drum kit by tapping on various parts of the guitar body to create the sound of the snare and bass drums. To this he will add bass runs on the strings to emulate a regular bass and, of course he adds the melody on top to create a full band effect. To expand melodic possibilities modern acoustic guitarists have taken to tapping the fret board (a la Stanley Jordan) to sound specific notes and create melodic runs that would be difficult or nigh on impossible to obtain using conventional techniques. They have expanded the role of artificial harmonics in their musical landscape to create ringing bell like cascades of notes. (The production of artificial harmonics is a technique of touching the guitar string in a specific way, generally with the right hand, to produce notes that are an octave or more above the usual fretted note – the overall effect is a series of bell like sounds that adds interest to the music).
Don Alder is originally from Williams Lake and is a master of this style of acoustic guitar playing. As near as I can tell Don, like Tommy Emmanuel, is a self taught musician who has arrived at his style of playing though diligent exploration, experimentation and practice. Tommy Emmanuel tends to favor the reinterpretation of popular well known songs and tunes. Don, on the other hand plays mostly original compositions that have evolved out of his personal experiences, memories and musical explorations. On Saturday night at Stage 64 he took us on a tour of these memories and experiences with such evocative tunes as The Wall (based on his experiences with Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion tour), Dancing With the Spin Doctors (reflections on the recent elections in the USA), Not aPlanet ( Pluto’s decline in status), Wok the Dog (where upon Don learned that the Wok is not a Chinese invention or even a Chinese word), Going Rogue, Haunting Me, Armed and Dangerous (an excursion into the rhythmic realms of 6/8 time), Sophrosyme (a tribute to his grand mother), and Arrows will Fly. These last two compositions he played on the Brunner Baritone Guitar. This is a lovely mellow instrument and on Arrows will Fly there were some lovely pizzicato effects . Another very lyrical piece was Marshall’s Lanai (memories of a friend).
Don’s instrument of choice is a Yamaha AC-3R. The instrument he plays is a stock model straight off the shelf with an additional magnetic pickup in the sound hole. He also plays a Brunner travel guitar. This Swiss made instrument is fairly unique in that it has a detachable neck that allows the instrument to be folded down to fit in a small suitcase suitable for overhead storage in air lines. He has it set up in a baritone tuning. Like his fellow Canadian guitarist Don Ross, Don seems to favor glue-on acrylic nails but unlike the other Don he does not use a thumb pick.
As always this Studio 64 concert was a stunning success. More so because of the Yamaha FG800 guitar given away as a door prize. The lucky winner was Sonya Parker (I am sorry to tell you John your wife has nor intention of passing the guitar on to you).
The Studio 64 organizing committee would like to thank Nancy of the Burrito Grill for feeding Don, thanks also go to Keith and Kate Nicholas for providing Don’s accommodation and Ray of Ray’s Music for providing the sound and organizing the guitar give-away door prize.
Here is that Ted Talk Bonus link
And if you have never heard Stanley Jordan then here is a treat for you –
HOME ROUTES HOUSE CONCERT – THE BOMBADILS Wednesday November 23, 2016, 7:30 pm at 8163 Gibbons Road Mayook
In a nutshell this was a concert of brilliant music.
Without a doubt one of my favourite recordings is The Lonesome Touch (Green Linnet GLCD 1181) featuring that marvellous Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes and his stellar accompanist Dennis Cahill on guitar. The recording has great sound, great atmosphere, great tunes and as a duo they are absolutely rock solid. Dennis Cahill’s accompaniments are a model of how it should be done. I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to attend a concert and hear music of that caliber. I was wrong. The Home Routes House Concert of the Bombadils was more than a step above that particular recording. As a duo Sarah Frank (5 string fiddle, clawhammer banjo and vocals) and Luke Fraser (guitar, mandolin and vocals) are also absolutely rock solid. Sarah started on violin at age 4 and with Luke graduated from the McGill University Music Program. Sarah majored in classical violin where she shared classes with Cranbrook’s Sarah Aleem. Luke majored in Classical guitar. The program for the evening was a mixture of traditional and original Canadian songs and tunes with great vocal harmonies, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo accompaniments. They kicked off the evening with one of Sarah’s original tunes called Hazeldean. This was followed by Luke’s Train in the Night. Other tunes and songs included The Fountain, The Feel Good Times Set, the Newfoundland Sea Shanty Heave Away, Doc Watson’s The Long Journey, and an original song written by Caroline Spence called Mint Condition. The final tune in the first set was called Squirrels Rule the Day and Racoons Rule the Night and it featured some marvelous instrumental interplay between both musicians that had them slipping in and out of spectacular unison playing. Playing in unison is, in theory, a simple musical exercise but when played up to tempo between some freewheeling solo excursions it is exciting and impressive.
For the second set, in response to some sheet music from the audience, they sight read the Swedish tune Homage Till En Spelman that they then morphed into one of their regular Norwegian tunes. The performance was flawless. Through out the rest of the evening they played more of the same style of songs and tunes. When they played Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair there was some lively banter in the audience over it’s origins. Was it Scottish or Irish? As it turns out it was neither. It was composed by the American John Jacob Niles in the early days of the twentieth century.
Cranbrook audiences over the last little while have had the opportunity to experience some of the very best musicians that the Celtic world has to offer. Performances have included the Cape Breton groupCoig, Ireland’s Lunasa, both at the Key City Theatre, Blackthorn, Breakwater, Lizzy Hoyt, Jocelyn Pettit Band and now, on this particular evening, in this wonderfully intimate setting Montreal’s The Bombadils. It was a unique opportunity to hear the dynamics and tonal nuances of these two superb musicians. Thanks Glenn and Patricia for hosting this wonderful concert. Here are some more images from the evening.
A small technical Note: Both musicians play superb instruments. Sarah plays a five string fiddle tuned CGDAE (from the bass to the treble side). Effectively it allows Sarah to cover the full range of the violin and the viola on a single instrument. Luke plays a Collings Dreadought guitar and a Michael Heiden mandolin. Michael, who is one of the world’s great luthiers, has a work shop just down the road from here in Creston. Here is the manuscript for Homage Till En Spelman that was thrown into the arena by a member of the audience:
Now, as I said it was a brilliant concert and you had to be there but if you couldn’t make it here is a taste of what you missed:
STUDIO 64 JAZZ AND BLUES CONCERT SERIES – THE 6L6S Saturday November19, 2016, 8pm
Studio 64 has done it again!. They concluded the fall Jazz and Blues Concert series with a crack-a-jack blues outfit – The6L6S featuring Mike Watson – guitars and vocals; Tommy Knowles – Bass Guitar; and Kent MacRae – Drums). This band came out of Calgary to especially warm up this frosty night in Kimberley. They are a full on LOUD electric band with obvious affection for the roots of the music and featured many songs from deep within the acoustic blues traditions of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. They included their special interpretations of songs by Leadbelly, Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Elmore James (Dust My Broom) Willie Dixon (Diddy Wha Diddy) Cripple Clarence Lofton (Strut that Thing), Little Walter / Muddy Waters (My Babe) and a couple of early rock and roll classics including Maybe Baby and a tune by Link Wray. It was a boisterous night with Studio 64 patrons adding an appropriate touch by “dancing in the isles”. It was a fitting conclusion to another very successful concert series. For now we just have to hang tight until spring rolls around with another Studio 64 Concert Series. Here are some images from the night:
BLUE MOON MARQUEE: HOUSE CONCERT AT 8163 GIBBONS ROAD, WARDNER (MAYOOK), Tuesday October 25, 2016, 7:30 pm
From their website: “Blue Moon Marquee is a Gypsy Blues band that stem from the wild rose foothills of Alberta. A.W. Cardinal (vocals/guitar) and Jasmine Colette a.k.a. Bandlands Jass (vocals, bass, drums) write and perform original compositions influenced by anything that swings, jumps or grooves. Artists such as Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Blind Willie Jonson, Charley Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Bill Jennings, Big Bill Broonzy, Tom Waits, Memphis Minnie, & Django Riendhart to name a few.” Although they originally hail from Rocky Mountain House in Alberta they have recently relocated to the blues drenched valleys of Vancouver Island. Who would have thunk it. Never-the-less they are back near their old stomping grounds to perform a series of House Concerts under the umbrella of Home Routes / Chemin Chez Nous (a non-profit organization spreading live music throughout Western Canada). This particular concert was held in a large, spacious room of a private home out near Wardner. It was not the first time the duo has performed in the area. They were part of Studio 64 Jazz and Blues Concert Series held in Kimberley March last year (check my review below)
These folk are hard working touring musicians who have crossed Canada back and forth at least four times this past summer. They performed at a number of well known festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival. European performers do not know how easy they have it. The distances covered between gigs in Europe are minuscule compared to those in Canada – “In Britain 100 years is a short time and 100k is a big distance. In Canada 100 years is a long time and 100k is just a drive to the local pub”. Then, of course in Canada, the climate almost forbids extensive touring in the winter. So it is is with great appreciation audiences welcome Canadian performers who spend some much time and effort on the road to provide live music in our communities. This particular venue was perfect for the duo. Apart from some mild amplification of the electric guitar it was basically an acoustic performance. The sound was well balanced with their acoustic vocals soaring over the top of the accompanying instruments. The lighting was great and the seating very comfortable. As with their last performance in Kimberley the majority of their original material was heavily flavored with blues and gypsy jazz. Every now and then a little fragment of “Django” Reinhardt’s Minor Swing would sneak in and liven up the “hot jazz” atmosphere.Their original material included Dancing with the Wrong Man’s Wife, Gypsy Blues, Hoodoo Lady, Sugar Dime, Troubles Calling, In the Hen House, Runaway Lane, Saddle Sore, Black Rat Swing (?), Shading Tree and others. They did perform a couple of “covers”, well not exactly “covers”, their re-interpretation of a Memphis Minnie classic and one of Lead Belly’s songs put those songs back out there in a whole new way. As promised, A.W. Cardinal’s guitar swung unrelentingly throughout the evening and Jasmine Colette’s acoustic upright bass and her innovative percussion added to the swing and punch of the music. I had a hard time trying to figure out how she managed to play the “hi-hat” and the snare drum at the same time she was playing bass and singing. Here are some images from the evening:
Thanks Patricia and Glenn for hosting this great concert in this great series. Patrons, don’t forget the next concert THE BOMBADILS, a Celtic based group performing at this same venue on Wednesday November 23, 2016, 7:30pm.
Saturday, October 15, 2016 – Laura Landsberg with her Trio at Studio 64, Kimberley
What can I say? Once again the Kimberley Arts Council has hit the jackpot. And once again I am astounded at the technical proficiency and musicality of the musicians coming out of the West Kootenays. Laura Landsberg (Vocals) and her Trio, Paul Landsberg (Guitar), Tony Ferraro (Drums) and Doug Stephenson (Acoustic Bass) all hail from the Nelson area.
Although Laura is currently from Nelson she does “come from away” . She has an honest musical pedigree. She is the daughter of world-renowned trombonist and composer Ian McDougall. She was born in London and grew up listening to her father’s jazz trombone. Her father played in Johnny Dankworth’s top British Jazz Orchestra. Undoubtedly at some time in her youth she was exposed to the jazz sounds of that orchestra plus the incredible British Jazz vocalist Cleo Laine who performed from time to time with the Dankworth organisation. Laura was raised in Vancouver, BC, received her formal education at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. In numerous vocal workshops she went onto to develop her skills as a performer and teacher. She has studied with Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon, David Worm, Axel Thiemer (Voice Care Network), Dee Daniels, Kiran Ahluwalia, Joey Blake and many other inspiring teachers. She has been teaching music since 1985 and joined the Selkirk College Music faculty in the fall of 2004. Laura is a certified voice care teacher and a member of the “Voice Care Network”. There you have it, a pretty impressive resume.
Her musical co-conspirators are no less impressive. As any good vocalist will tell you a good accompanist is hard to find so when you find one you hang onto him and there is no better way than to marry him. Paul Landsberg is that accompanist. The two other members of the trio should be named “The Dynamic Duo”. The drummer Tony Ferraro is a full spectrum performer who can drive a big band into the stratosphere (The Chicago Tribute Band), or dig into funky Latin Grooves with the Gabriel Palatchi Trio or, as in this performance, play whisper soft brushes behind a vocalist. Tony has performed many time in this area. Doug Stephenson is adept on funky electric bass in the context of the Gabriel Palatchi Trio or adding his beautiful bass lines to any acoustic performance.
Laura and her trio kicked off the evening with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Dindi. Although described as a Bossa Nova classic it is entirely new to me so it was a welcome introduction. They followed that up with two jazz standards All or Nothing at All, How Deep is the Ocean and a bluesy Please Send Me Some One to Love. Other songs in the set included more jazz standards and the Elton John hit Your Song. Tony Ferraro’s brushes were the sweet support for Laura’s vocals. Paul Landsberg’s Wes Montgomery inspired guitar playing on Exactly Like Your was also perfect. The song Time After Time had a nice little rhythmic twist. I am seldom right on these things but was that tune in 5/4? It was just one of the many musical twists and nuances in the evenings performance. These little things make a difference.
All in all it was another nice evening of top flight Jazz and one I hope will repeated with a return concert at some future date. As always the evening was made possible by the efforts of the many volunteers and community support of the sponsors.