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Tim Tamashiro to explore fun side of jazz for Lethbridge Jazz Festival

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Calgary crooner Tim Tamashiro  explores the fun idea of jazz music when he hits the stage for the Lethbridge Jazz festival, June 18 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.Tim Tamashiro plays drinky jazz to Lethbridge, June 18. Photo submitted
 He was well on his was to becoming a career crooner but packed it in seven years ago  when the opportunity arose to host CBC 2 jazz show Tonic.

“It got to the point about 10 years ago that I was doing a  lot of corporate gigs that were soul killing. It was becoming hard to make a living at it. So when CBC came to me they let me concentrate on being a supporter of the jazz scene instead of being participant in it,” said Tamashiro, who found he missed performing, so  he went into the studio last year to record his CD “Drinky.”

“And now I play whatever shows I am passionate about like the Jazz festival without the extra pressure of  having to make a living at it,” he said.
“It’s surprising, I live in Calgary, and Lethbridge is only two hours away but I’ve never played there,” he observed.

 Tamashiro explores the playful, fun  side of jazz music.
“Drinky jazz is jazz that is a to of fun. Often there is the perception that jazz is serious. But I play jazz for people who may not really be familiar with it, but who may have a Michael Bublé our a Harry Connick Jr. Cd,” he said.
“ So I said ‘let’s play for those people.’ It’s fun and lighthearted,” he said adding he doesn’t mind being tagged a lounge singer.

“I’ve sure sang in a lot of lounges, but there aren’t really any lounges anymore,” he observed.
“ It’s really nice to interact with the audience. I promise a night of cold drinks, great songs and bad jokes, he said.
He will be playing with pianist Sheldon Zandboer drummer Jim Johnston and Polyjesters’ bassist Jason Valleau.

“ We’ll be playing mostly songs from the American song book. And there will be lots of breaks to chit chat with the audience to let them know they are part of it,” he said, adding crowd response enhances his performances.
Tamashiro got interested in singing  jazz while a student at Red Deer College in the ’80s.

 “I needed a music credit and there was something called ‘Swing Choir,” which is something like Glee. Everyone was singing ‘Satin Doll’ and the rest is history.
”That was 1986 and now it’s been almost 30 years. Holy smokes. Thirty years later I’m still  doing it,” he said.
His life changed again with the CBC gig.

“CBC was moving away from the all classical music format and they called me. Now I’ve been here for nine years. I have great colleagues and meet great people,” he said adding while he doesn’t get to interview jazz celebrities  on the air, he has  forged great friendships with them.
“ I’ve known Michael Bublé since he was 17. I e-mail him quite a bit. They’ve been nice people,” he said, adding the CBC  gig keeps him pretty busy.

“I’m on the air 8-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. That’s six shows  and 70 stories each week. They’ve really given me the cookie jar and I don’t have the extra stress of having to make a living playing,” he said, adding he is excited about his first Lethbridge gig.
“I’m really looking forward to going down there and meeting some Lethbians,” he said.
 Tamashiro plays the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, June m 18 at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are $35.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 June 2016 11:12 )  
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