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Rooster Davis group a can't miss Lethbridge Jazz Festival show

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I didn’t get to many Lethbridge jazz Festival shows last week. But one I did not want to miss was the return of Edmonton based, piano driven New Orleans style jazz musician Rooster Davis. They played a wild set of New Orleans jazz at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 17.Rooster Davis, Peter Hendrickson and Audrey Ochoa at the owl Acoustic Lounge, playing for The lethbridge Jazz and Blues festival, June 17. Photo by Richard Amery

Rooster Davis is a wild piano player and showed substantial chops. His voice was alternately jazzy, bluesy with just a touch of adult contemporary pop similar to Ben Folds.

 Keyboardist/percussionist Ann Vriend sang angelically while adding some piano and percussion she added a more straight ahead pop and R and B  sensibility with a few songs from her new EP, but still held spine tingling, loud, long, high notes.
 They had a new trombonist in  Audrey Ochoa who blew beautiful, jaw dropping experimental lines as drummer Peter Hendrickson held down a rock solid backbeat.

 In addition to Rooster Davis’s more coAnn Vreind singing with the Rooster Davis Group. Photo by Richard Ameryntemporary New Orleans Jazz and originals and Ann Vriend’s more pop and R and B, they also delved deep into their blues roots with great versions of classics like “St. James Infirmary.”

Colin James and his band stopped by for a beer after their show at the Enmax Centre. A lot of us were hoping they’d get up and play, but it was not meant to be. Rooster Davis and his band would have been a tough act to follow. Even for Colin James.

—By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 12:12 )

Hollerado play hit heavy set in smaller venue

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Ottawa indie rock, pop band  Hollerado really need to be seen in a small venue to be fully appreciated.Hollerado bassist Dean Baxter at the Slice, June 16. Photo by Richard Amery
They returned to play a hot, sweaty hit heavy set at the Slice, Friday, June 16.

 As expected, considering they get played a lot on local radio stations, the show was sold out. And, also as expected, the audience was really in for a treat. there was plenty of leaping around, catchy ear-worm guitar hooks as well as massive groove and lots of good humour.

They opened with “Grief Money,” from their new Cd and crashed into older hits like “Americanarama” and hit their stride with “Eloise,” one of my favourites from their new CD “Born Yesterday.”

The single and title track was another highlight midway through in the set.

Just because they could, they made space on their set list to take a request from the crowd, which they played before winding things up before midnight with “Juliette” and “So it Goes,“ which had most of the room singing along.Little Junior at the Slice, June 16. Photo by Richard Amery

  Little Junior opened up the show with a solid set of up tempo pop punk reminiscent of Blink 182 an Sum 41

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:49 )

Kimberley MacGregor, Levi Cuss, Curtis Phagoo and John Guliak swap songs

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 The Owl Acoustic Lounge was doing double duty, June 16. They had an excellent singer songwriter showcase at 7 p.m. featuring four excellent Alberta talents including Edmonton’s Kimberley MacGregor, Red Deer based hirsute country/ folk singer Levi Cuss and clean shaven Curtis Phagoo, and Edmonton folk/ country songwriter John Guliak.

Levi Cuss, John Guliak, Kimberley MacGregor and Curtis Phagoo. Photo by Richard Amery
 They all had their own unique styles as they each took turns singing one of their songs. One of my favourites Kimberley MacGregor belted out big, bluesy vocals, introducing several new songs and ending with my favourite “Trouble,” from her most recent CD.

I was glad to hear John Guliak again, as he played Shaela Miller’s Windy City Opry at the Slice last month, but I only caught a few of his songs. He brought to mind Bob Snider and Gordon Lightfoot as he wove compelling musical tales. He played several songs from his latest CD “Fluke or Flounder,” including the highlight “Triptych.”

 Curtis Phagoo had more of a folk pop sound similar to Paul Simon and Danny Michel. He was a pleasant surprise as he also sang some compelling original music.

Levi Cuss was a hoot, bringing a more outlaw country sound with a lot of humour as he played stripped down versions of songs from his EP “Just Below Country” which he recorded  with Steve Dawson in Nashville. His highlights were  “White lies“ and “One Night Stand.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:35 )

Sandwich entertain for Lethbridge Jazz Festival

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Local jazz quartet Sandwich played one of several  Lethbridge Jazz Festival shows at the Owl Acoustic lounge, June 16.

Sandwich entertaining for the Lethbridge Jazz Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
They don”t play often , so it is always great to see bassist Paul Holden, drummer Kyle Harmon, saxophonist Ryan Heseltine and guitarist/vocalist Arlen Wutch.

They played a trippy set of experimental jazz music featuring a big bottom end, some superb saxophone solos and haunting guitar and vocals from Wutch.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:01 )

Centric Music festival celebrates Chopin, Bach, Brahms and Beethoven

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 Ryan Kolodziej is pleased to take the reins of Lethbridge classical music festival, the Centric Music festival from founder Jesse Plessis.Ryan Kolodziej is excited to organize the Centric music Festival, happening at Casa, July 5-8. Photo by Richard Amery
The fifth annual 2017 Centric Music festival features four concerts at Casa, July 5-8 focussing on  the music of well known composers Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Chopin.
“This is a more conservative programme then we usually offer, though I still love contemporary classical music,”Kolodziej observed.

“When Jess started it , there weren’t any festivals in Lethbridge for classical music. He saw a need and started up Centric,” he observed.
“Originally Jesse wasn’t going to do it anymore because he moved away to Montreal, but he saw a need for it and  just did it . It was worth doing, so  I’m just happy to continue  what he started,” said Kolodziej who is from Lethbridge originally, but also moved away to Montreal to  continue his education, where he met Jesse Plessis.

“It’s easier  to organize something like this long distance when you have family living here,” he continued, adding his dad was a real asset by spreading the word and postering the city. The hard work has resulted in  advance ticket sales of  $1,000.
“We]re also selling tickets at the door. I hope we won’t have to turn anyone away at the door. Though I don’t think we will,” he continued.

 Kolodziej is excited to not only keep Centric alive, but also to play a couple of the concerts.
“I like to organize  events, but I also like the opportunity to play concerts. I’m not making any money on this. I’m donating my time and my performances because I want to make sure the artists get paid,” he said.
“ I’m also  playing the role of PR person, which is a different kind of work,” said Kolodziej  who went to school for 10 years, and has been teaching since graduating.

 Plessis returns to just play three of the concerts while Kolodziej plays two. A highlight will be new University of Lethbridge musician and new University of Lethbridge professor Krzysztof Jablonski, an internationally acclaimed pianist who has performed at the international Chopin Competition in 1985 who opens up this year’s festival with a gala concert featuring plenty of Chopin.Concert I, July 5 at 6:30 p.m. features internationally acclaimed pianist Krzysztof Jablonski who will perform a selection of the solo repertoire he presented at the 1985 International Chopin Competition for Centric's opening gala concert. The concert is a rare opportunity for Lethbridge audiences to hear an accomplished artist of Dr. Jablonski's  calibre. A pre-concert talk begins at 6:30 p.m. with the concert at 7:30 pm.

The second concert,  July 6 at 7:30 p.m. is the first of three concerts exploring the music of the three major "B" German composers. It features the divine music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Cellist, Tyler Stewart will present “Komm, süßes Kreutz, aria no. 57” from Bach's masterpiece, “the St. Matthew Passion,”  and one of the monuments of the cello repertoire, the “Cello suite no. 2 in D minor.” Pianist Jesse Plessis, will interpret the first of Bach's six Partitas for keyboard, “Partita no. 1 in B-flat major.” Soprano Lisa Mulgrew will join pianist Jesse Plessis for several extracts from “the St. Matthew Passion.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 08:52 ) Read more...
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