Piano players and, to a lesser extent, guitar players are lucky. Without the need of having any one else in the room they can sit down and play unaccompanied music. Depending on their individual skill level they can do it all. Melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics and sonic shadings. It’s all there under their finger tips. Horn players, woodwinds, string players, drummers and bass players are not that fortunate and usually have the need for other musicians in the mix to complete the musical picture. At an individual level that is a drawback but it does force those musicians into ensembles that can go beyond the limitations of individual solo performances. One such musical configuration is the jazz combo and lucky for us in Cranbrook-Kimberley area we have been recently blessed with another Jazz group. TAKE 4, featuring Randi Marchi on trumpet, fluegelhorn, valve trombone, guitar and vocals; Jim Cameron on electric bass; Steen Jorgensen on drums and tenor sax and Tim Plait on piano. All of these musicians are locals. Some, Randi Marchi and Tim Plait, have been away to other parts of Canada and the world and have returned to the Kootenays and our little slice of paradise. The group is newly formed and, I believe, this is their second engagement. For well schooled musicians such as these the advantage of playing jazz is that there is a vast standard repertoire of tunes that players can easily access. From simple tunes way up to very technical, and very complex music there is a lot of music out there to explore. Last Thursday night at Soul Foods the group served a varied mixture of tunes that included Beginning to See the Light, Satin Doll (Duke Ellington’s masterpiece), Summertime (from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), Blue Skies, King of the Road ( Roger Miller’s 1964 Hit song), All of Me (written in 1931), Beyond the Sea (Bobby Darin’s 1959 hit) and my all time favorite, A Day in the Life of a Fool, or as I prefer to remember it as, Manha de Carnival (Morning of the Carnival) from the magnificent 1959 Academy Award winning film Black Orpheus. This film introduced western audiences to the wonders of Bossa Nova and the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa.The second set kicked off with The Way You Feel Tonight, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (it is a 1940 classic by Duke Ellington originally called Never No Lament), and Quando, Quando, Quando ( originally a 1962 Italian Pop song written in the Bossa Nova Style).
Here are some images from the first set:
Towards the end of the evening Take 4 was joined on stage by Randy Tapp on tenor sax and Shindo Murata on valve trombone to play the tunes Flip Flop and Fly, Route 66 and Van Morrison’s Moon Dance. During these performances a young musician from the audience sat in on drums while Steen Jorgensen moved up front to join the horn section on tenor sax. For me the resulting sound brought back memories of the magnificent Gerry Mulligan Concert Band recordings from the 1960s. Bobby Brookmeyer’s valve trombone was part of the signature sound of that band.
Soul Foods seems to have become a hot bed of live music with live performances every Thursday evening 7-9 pm.
John Wort Hannam at Soul Foods Restaurant – September 11, 2019
Over the past few years Mike Robinson has promoted a series of folk/roots music concerts at the Studio Stage Door. This is more or less a continuation of the old Swing Street concerts series that was originally promoted by Gord and Jill Johnston for well over ten years in the 1990-2000s. The musical philosophy remains the same with a focus on musicians that tend to perform acoustically and are largely off everybody’s musical radar. There is a lot of talent out there that does not fall into the usual pop/rock categories. Singer / Song writer John Wort Hannam is such a performer. He is based out of Fort McLeod, Alberta and his music is best described as Alberta Roots Music. It’s country music without all the trappings of the Nashville Country music scene. It is “real” country music that is closer to the original concepts of the genre. There are no screaming electric guitars or massive production videos.
John has performed in Cranbrook in the past and, unfortunately, I missed him last time he was here. This time around he was accompanied by Scott Duncan on fiddle and Jason Valleau on upright bass. With the exception of Cyndi Lauper’s magnificent song Time after Time all of the songs performed were originals. The songs on the set list included Acres of Elbow Room, Old Flame, Gonna See My Love, Song for a Young Son, Love Lives On, Man of God, Wild Young Things, Quiet Life,Church of the Long Grass, Under the Stars, etc. I think you get the idea of where John is coming from. It is tough to pick out my favorite of the evening but my first choice would be Good Night Nova Scotia. It had a strong Celtic vibe that was re-enforced by Scott Duncan’s foot stomping Cape Breton style fiddle playing. To round out the song Scott segued into the well known session tunes Saint Anne’s Reel and Dowsy Maggie. My other favorite (among many) would be Ain’t Enough (I have added a video clip of this song at the end of the blog). The musicianship of this trio was exemplary. As a group they were super tight and as individual performers they all shine. Here are some photos from this night of music……
Sound Tech – Ben Blomander
Mike Robinson – Concert Promoter
I offer my thanks to John, Duncan and Jason for their excellent music and thanks to Mike Robinson and Ben Blomander for the excellent production values and, of course, thanks to the management and staff of Soul FoodsRestaurant. Let’s all do this again sometime.
And now for the bonus – John Wort Hannam and some fine finger picking guitar and vocals.
For those who don’t know the venue, Soul Foods is a restaurant located in the old Mount Baker Hotel on Baker Street in Cranbrook. The manager is a keen supporter of live music and on most Thursday evenings (6-9pm) there are live musical events. A favorite event is the open mic hosted by Keith Larsen every first Thursday of the month. Recently (Thursday, June 20th, 2019), Lonesome Jim (aka James Neve) performed two sets featuring his vocals accompanied by his stellar acoustic 6 string and 12 guitar pickings.Never one to stand still for too long he was sporting his new and improved persona. The “Willie Nelson” pony tail was gone and has been replaced by a new taunt, trim back and sides hairstyle. The looks may change but the performance, as always, was stellar. Here are couple of photos of the new Lonesome Jim.