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Vancouver International Jazz Festival: completely unbiased and selfless recommendations

posted Jun 19, 2013, 12:06 AM by bernie arai
Ok, ok, maaaayybe a little bias and a smidgen of selfishness. Because it's just a list of my own jazzfest gigs (if I were doing any trad gigs, i could call it "jassfest" but that's another story).

In chronological order, and hopefully with some description if I stay awake long enough to write them:

Sunday June 23 12:30pm Downtown Georgia Stage
John Stowell/Mike Zilber Quartet
I've been lucky to play with Bay area saxophonist and composer Mike Zilber a handful of times over the past few years. More recently he's brought up bassist Jeff Johnson from Washington, who I was already a fan of from his playing in the Hal Galper Trio. I've only had one opportunity to play with Oregon-based guitar legend John Stowell so far (also thanks to Mike) and this will be the first time the four of us have performed in this configuration. Hopefully we'll do some material from John and Michael's recent album.

Saturday June 29 4pm Canada Place Stage
Bill Coon Trio
The "Bill Coon Trio" as I know it features the dynamic duo of Dave Robbins and Darren Radtke on drums and bass respectively. However for this performance Jodi Proznick and I get to play some of Bill's original compositions as well as material from Jim Hall and the "Poll Winners" classic guitar trio.

Saturday June 29 9pm Roundhouse Performance Centre
Hard Rubber Orchestra
One of my favourite things about the jazz festival in my home town is that it occasionally puts me in a position where I have to switch musical gears drastically in a very short amount of time. Vancouver is such a great city to learn about many different but related kinds of music and not have to settle for mediocrity in any of them to do so. On this day I get to go from guitar trio to new music big band in one afternoon! Getting to play with the Hard Rubber Orchestra or its offshoots (all led by John Korsrud) is never boring and always a treat. I think for this performance we will be premiering two new commissions for the band, from Scott Good and Giorgio Magnanensi. I'm working on learning the music now...

Sunday June 30 2:30pm Roundhouse Exhibition Hall
Tommy Babin's Sendero Luminoso
I think the entire Vancouver community (both musical and otherwise) sadly tolerated the absence of bassist Tommy Babin for the past few months while he began graduate studies at UCSD, but he's back baby! Tommy first convened this band to perform his arrangement of the entire Rush album 2112, and eventually his mandate has morphed into a Chilean communist referencing, Brazillian tropicalia influenced vehicle for his new compositions. Think Tom Ze playing free jazz (which I guess is not that much of a stretch if you're familiar with Tom Ze).

Monday July 1 12pm Granville Island Performance Works
Sharon Minemoto Quartet
Canada Day at Granville Island is always a hoot, with so many stages and so much music, there's a good time to be had by all.  Bring the whole family! Except the weird cousin who's always yelling at himself in the mirror when he thinks no one is watching. Leave him at home. Sharon is my longest-standing musical friend (if that term sounds awkward, I was trying to find a way not to say "oldest" musical friend which had an unintended implication) and I played my first jazz gig ever with her way back in 19*ahem*arumph* (the details of which I will spare you). This quartet is a fairly recent endeavor, as Sharon leads/has led trio and quintet ensembles as well. The program for this performance focuses on the music of our deeply missed and recently departed friend and mentor Ross Taggart. We will be playing both his own compositions and some pieces written for him.



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