Centre 64 Jazz Concert Series: Pugs and Crows, September 7, 2013, 8pm
This wasn’t a rock concert. This wasn’t even a straight ahead jazz concert. There wasn’t a great stack of amplifiers and heavy duty speakers. There wasn’t even a sound board or a sound engineer. With the exception of the drummer all the instruments were “plugged in” but they played “live off-the-floor” each musician balancing his own sound in the collective musical environment. In that regard they were much like an unamplified acoustic band. The instrumentation should have been the first clue that the music of the evening was going to be a little different. The elements of a Jazz rhythm section were there with Ben Brown on drums, Russell Scholberg on double bass and Katherine Torens on electric keyboard. From there on out things got a little different with Meredith Bates on violin and Tony Wilson and Cole Schmidt on solid body electric guitars. The band has been around for a little while and scored the Best Instrumental Album at the 2013 Juno Awards. Their ‘off the cuff’ musical philosophy is ” to bring hippies to their knees”. I guess by that they mean there is no throbbing back beat and hippies will become a little demented if they try to find one. Of the band members Meredith Bates is the only one to have performed in the East Kootenays in recent times. She was in Creston in July, 2012 at the Snoring Sasquatch with Meredith Bates and Sean Cronin’s Very Good Band .This is another collection of eclectic, off the wall musicians playing generally weird music (and that’s not a bad thing). Some might call the music “Art Rock” but I suspect it has more in common with the musical jazz renegade John Zohn (profiled in the September, 2013 issue of Down Beat). There was lots of atmospheric noodling, instrumental interplay, wide dynamic explorations and free form extemporisation (is there such a word?). The music was almost all originals with only one cover of a Paul Simmon song (Run That Body Down) that was largely unrecognisable (once again that is not a bad thing). Tony Wilson, the second guitarist is only a recent addition to the band. He is (or was) a student of one of Vancouver’s finest jazz guitarists, Oliver Gannon. Rather than attempt to describe the music here are a couple of Youtube links to a few of their compositions: Talk Fish Instead Like the Clouds Fantastic Pictures Bitter Cup
and here is their website Pugs and Crows
This was another exceptional night of jazz organised by Laurel Ralston of the Kimberley Arts Council who, unfortunately, is heading off to Ottawa. She will be greatly missed and we all owe Laurel a debt of gratitude for her extraordinary efforts over the past few years. Over the next little while there are more concerts in this current series and Keith Nicholas will be the guiding light from here on in.
The Arts council would like to thank the following sponsors of this concert: Mountain Spirit Resort & Spa, Burrito Grill and Our Place Restaurant