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HeavyWeights Brass Band bond over New Orleans jazz

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The HeavyWeights Brass band members are from all over Canada, but they met in Toronto and bonded over their love of New Orleans style jazz music.The HeavyWeights Brass Band play The Lethbridg eJazz Festival this week. Photo by Diana Piruzevska

 They will be a highlight of the Lethbridge Jazz festival when they play Jazz on the Square, June 13 as well as their own show at the Slice, June 12.

The Heavyweights include talented young up and coming musicians trombonist Christopher Butcher; Jon Challoner, trumpet; John Pittman trumpet; Paul Metcalfe, saxophone; Rob Teehan, sousaphone and drummer Lowell Whitty.
They have a busy summer of jazz  festivals, but are looking forward to playing Lethbridge again.

“ We played there in 2012. Someone from the Jazz Festival saw the show and remembered us, said trombonist Chris Butcher.
 Though they are from all over the country, the band formed through  Craigslist ad.
“ Our drummer is actually the only one who was born in Toronto, he said.

 Coincidentally it turned out the members  knew each other through school. Butcher knew Paul Metcalf  through the jazz program at Humber College. They joined together to  back singer Marla Dixon as the Dark part band.

“ But she actually went to New Orleans and fell in love with a guy and eventually moved there. She’s actually doing well with the Shotgun blues band,”  Butcher said.

“ But the band was still in Toronto and were going to retire it, but I told them ‘I thought we had something here,’ so we reformed,” he said.

New Orleans touched heart at a young age.
“About a month before I turned 18 my family took two or three weeks to just drive through the United States. I was almost 18 and a semi-professional musician. We spent two or three days in New Orleans,” he said adding the first thing he noticed was the diverse music happening on every corner.


“It’s simple. No matter what kind of music it was it had some heart to it,” he continued, adding that memory has always stayed with him and lead to further adventures in New Orleans.

“I’ve been there twice this year already,” he said.
“ It’s the birthplace of jazz. I always liked how that connects with people,” he continued.

He said the Lethbridge show will feature a lot of improvisation.
“We have a set list for tonight’s show. But  we usually feel the crowd. We improvise. We’ve been playing for five or six years together, so we can tell where a crowd is going,” he said.

 They have two CDs of material to draw from — Brasstronomical and Brasstronomical Extended Play. But they know a lot more music.
The HeavyWeights Brass band play June 12 at the Slice. Tickets cost $20. They also play the free show, Jazz in the Square from 1-4 p.m. in Festival square ( 6th Street 3rd Ave South).

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 June 2015 23:04 )  
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