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Lethbridge Jazz and Blues festival features familiar faces and local talent

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The eighth annual Lethbridge Jazz and blues festival, June 8-16 , features familiar faces, new faces , new venues and a little something for everyone.  Don Robb is excited about the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, June 8-16. Photo by Richard Amery
The event is not only longer this year, but also features more events and some old friends.

“The schedule has changed a little bit. We’re starting on Friday, June 8 to accommodate the school bands (performing  at the Gate for the Young Lions Concert),” said Lethbridge Blues and Jazz Festival vice president Don Robb.

 The  annual Jazz at the Park event features an all local lineup performing  Galt Gardens, June 9  beginning at noon with Papa King and the Boogiemen followed by Paul Kype and Texas Flood, Hippodrome, new band the Metrik Jazz Tentet and the Lethbridge Big Band at 4 p.m.
“ There will be an open market as well. And it will be a great opportunity for people to find out what is happening for the rest of the festival,” he continued.

The major events are centred around the the Enmax Centre with the bigger shows in the Enmax Centre or in the upstairs lounge. One of the big returning events is the Food Truck Frenzy, June 15 featuring numerous artists plus the Superhero and princess jazz show, for which kids are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite superhero or princess.  Local musicians HBO3 and the Steve Keenan band will provide the soundtrack for the afternoon. Calling all Superheroes and Princesses is art 3 p.m. during the Frenzy.

 The festival begins at the Gate, June 8 with the always popular Young Lions  concert, featuring plenty of talented young musicians performing beginning at 12:45 p.m.
The festival welcomes several new venues including the Stoketown Cafe which hosts a blues brunch on June 10 at noon, with local bluesman Papa King and his trio.

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens brings back New York based, Hiroshima born guitarist Nobuki Takamen, who was a highlight of last year’s festival.
“The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens thought it was a great show and wanted to do it again, so they thought about how to make it different. So this time he brings his trio,” Robb continued. Tickets are available through for $35.
“I played Lethbridge back in 2010, and always wanted to go back, but never did until last year,” said the Hiroshima born, New York based guitarist, who is excited to  return to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, for this year’s festival, but this time with his trio of  drummer Naoki  Aikawa and bassist Toshiyuki Tanahashi.
He has known them and played with them for several years, but officially formed the trio  with them in march.
“We’ll be playing a lot of new music that we‘re releasing  on Nov. 25,” he said, noting two of the songs were inspired by and written during his previous visits to Lethbridge.
 Tickets  for the concert are $35 or $50 for a meet and greet. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

Jazz jams have always been a staple of the festival and jazz music in general. The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts the jazz jam again this year, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. with Josh Davies and HBO3.
 The Owl features a few festival shows, including an afternoon show, Saturday, June 16 when the Allison Au Quartet will be playing at 3 p.m., featuring Juno award winning saxophonist, composer and band leader Allison Au. Tickets for that show are $20.

“We played the afternoon at the Owl with the Metrik Octet and it went well. So we thought we’d try an afternoon show,” Robb said.
 The Slice features Saskatoon bluesman B.C. Read , June 15 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for that show are also $20
The Sweet Inspiration Gospel Concert is another popular draw.

 Marcus Mosely returns to hosts this year’s concert at Southminster United Church, Wednesday, June 13. Admission is $10. Mosely, who also sings with Vancouver based gospel blues band the Sojourners, last hosted the Sweet inspiration Gospel concert in 2015 and played the Geomatic Attic with the Sojourners in 2011.
The Suppertime Blues  series  returns for the festival with music at a variety of new venues as well as old favourites.
The Telegraph  Taphouse features Randy Epp and Don Robb on June 14.
Streatside features Randy Epp on June 15 and James Oldenburg on June 15.
Firestone is a new addition to the festival featuring James Oldenburg on June 14, Anna McBryan and Cal Toth on June 15 and Randy Epp, June 16.  Another new venue is Coulee Brew, which features the Papa King Trio on June 15..Plum is a new addition featuring a lunch time presentation with Randy Epp and Andrea Walker, , June 14.
 The Mocha Cabana returns with Dale Ketcheson, June 15.

 Organizers are bringing back the guitar show and shine to the SAAG, June 16.
“For various reasons we haven’t been able to do it for the past couple years,” Robb said.

Halifax born, Toronto based crooner Holly Cole makes her first visit to Lethbridge to headline the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, Saturday, June 16 at the Enmax Centre.
 She just released her first CD in six years called “Holly ” with  her “unbelievable” band including long time pianist Aaron Davis, bassist George Koller, drummer Davide DiRenzo and horn player Johnny Johnson.

The Steve Keenan band is one of many local acts performing  during the  Lethbridge Blues and jazz Festival, June 8-16. Photo by Richard Amery
 She has taken a few years away from the music scene to work on other projects and spend time with her mother who passed away.
So what has Cole, who scored a hit cover of “I Can See Clearly Now,” with her beloved trio of David Piltch and Aaron Davis, back in 1993, been doing since her last album.
“Nobody’s asked me that quite so bluntly. But mostly  I was spending  some time with my mom. “We knew she  was dying and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. But she understood, if I wasn’t out on tour, she suggested I study something. So I became a registered hypnotist. Mom always said I have a very hypnotic voice, ” Cole said.

I also learned  a lot about self-hypnosis. You can hypnotize yourself to do anything. But you have to really want to. I hypnotized myself to stop smoking and  haven’t for quite a few years now. I can also hypnotize myself to go to sleep in about 45 seconds. So now I can  fall asleep anywhere, on, buses or on planes. I never used to be able to do that,” she said.
 She also took the past six years to work on her new album.
“I took some time to really research this album,” she said adding she worked with Grammy Award Winning producer Russ Titelman in New York to make most of  “Holly.” She recorded the rest of it with her trio in Toronto.
“This is the first album I haven’t  produced myself, so I really had to let go. I really love to arrange music. I loved working with Russ. He came up with all of these great Russ ideas and we used all of these great musicians he knows,” she said.

Veteran Juno award winning  jazz musician Holly Cole plays the Enmax Centre, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $51.50 for that concert.

Edmonton vocalist/ band leader and arranger Mallory Chipman is excited to make her Lethbridge Jazz Festival debut, if only, because she is not only performing with her band on June 15, but sitting in with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra for a tribute to her grandfather Tommy Banks, who inspired her and even produced her most recent CD “Rags and Feathers: A tribute to Leonard Cohen.”.
“ The last time I was in Lethbridge was about 12 years ago. I was there with the Edmonton Children’s Choir. We did a little Southern Alberta tour including Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, where I have family. So I’m really looking forward to coming back,” said the 24-year-old, who has been performing professionally for about seven years.
“Though I started playing music  when I was two with Kindermusic,” she chuckled, adding her parents and grandfather let her come by jazz music on her own.
 “Growing up, my mom and dad listened to everything from Joni Mitchell  to , the Rolling Stones and the Pat Metheny Group. I was probably the only five-years-old listening to Pat Metheny. A friend of mine gave me a Spice Girls Barbie doll and I didn’t know who they were. My friend said they’re only the biggest band in the world. But then not many five year olds were listening to Pat Metheny,” she laughed.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 10:05 ) Read more...

Mallory Chipman inspired by grandpa Tommy Banks

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Mallory Chipman, the grand daughter of Senator and  beloved jazz musician Tommy Banks  is making it in her own way. She has just released her second album in as many years — a tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen called “Rags and Feathers— A Tribute To Leonard Cohen.Mallory Chipman plays two concerts at the Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival this year. photo submited
The 24-year-old vocalist/ arranger/ songwriter will be playing a couple of shows at this year’s Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, June 14 with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra at the Enmax Centre Lounge as part of a tribute to her grandfather and her own show , May 15 in the same place with her band,  long time pianist Chris Andrew, guitarist Brett Hansen, bassist Murray Wood and  drummer Jamie Cooper for her June 15 show.

“I wasn’t going to release an album, because I just released my debut not even a year before. I was tired and most people don’t release albums that quickly. But I was working on arrangements of Leonard Cohen songs for the Leonard Cohen Festival in  2014. It takes place every two years somewhere in the world. And I did it again in 2018 in Amsterdam. But working on the first album right before working on the next one really informed the experience of recording this album. It’s a lot of fun  to make an album, but it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot to learn,” she said, noting she wrote alternate arrangements of seven Leonard Cohen songs including popular hits  like “Bird on a Wire and “Hallelujah.”

Last Updated ( Monday, 11 June 2018 15:15 ) Read more...

Big events happening in June

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A busy June begins with a couple of big festivals featuring a lot local talent.
 This weekend’s trimmed down SOAR festival happens at Casa. there will be two cabarets featuring dance, music and magic, May 30 and 31
 Dancers Claire Lint and Sidney Murdoch will be performing on both nights beginning at 7 p.m. Ben Price’s new magic show Rabbit stew is May 30, while Jeff Newman Mentalism  also present a new show, Trickster, on May 31.Bears in Hazenmore return to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 For music, Local alternative rock musician Mercedes Fawns performs on May 30 and W.I.T.s  are on deck, May 31.
 Tickets are $10 for each show.

An excellent play happens at Southminster United Church to open June. We Are All Treaty People explores the possible friendship between an indigenous girl and a non-indigenous girl. Tickets are free, but you must get them in advance through through Eventbrite at http:/ Wearealltreatypeople.

A bittersweet show takes place at the Slice, June 1 as several local bands  bid farewell to independent record store and concert promoter Blueprint Records, a fixture downtown for 12  years. The spirit lives on with Street Legal Records. Performers include Cope, Mombod, Open Channels, Sparkle Blood and Biloxi Parish perform beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $7 in advance,  $10 at the door.

The next night, June 2, Street Legal Records launchers with a big rap showcase featuring OK+NTK, Shed beat Boyz, Sammy and the Fiend, Trey Mark, Crisko, JPB and Stratum403. Admission is five dollars.
If you aren’t in to rap music, Moose Jaw indie rock band Bears in Hazenmore return to the Owl Acoustic lounge and Birch Barks. Admission is by donation.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 May 2018 21:46 ) Read more...

Heavy music for Humboldt Broncos fundraiser

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 It was a beautiful  day, May 12, almost too beautiful to  be in a bar in the afternoon. But I stopped by the new northside  location of the Smokehouse to see what it was like and to catch a few acts 13 to Go were among the local acts playing a fundraiser for the humboldt Broncos, May 12. Photo by Richard Ameryperforming throughout the day for a Humboldt Broncos fundraiser organized by Maggie Hall.

This one wasn’t as well attended as usual, but the more metal/ hard rock edge to the event was a lot of fun. I missed most of the bands, but caught a few of them.

A slightly tweaked Mark Hall band aka Undefined with Raz Bruce on drums played an array of classic rock including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” and Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Eno

The Mark Hall band aka Undefined were among the local acts playing a fundraiser for the humboldt Broncos, May 12. Photo by Richard Amery


Local punk band 13 to Go, who were borrowing a new bassist, waited in vain for an audience that never came and I was only able to stay for their first two songs— super tight and extremely loud versions of the Ramones “ Blitzkrieg Bop” and Blink -182’s “What’s My Age Again.”

 The Tyrants of Chaos plus Sheldon Arvay were among the local acts playing a fundraiser for the humboldt Broncos, May 12. Photo by Richard Amery
I returned later in the night  for local metal band Tyrants of Chaos’s ear blisteringly loud set of original epic ’80s style power metal.

Sheldon Arvay stepped in for the gig on guitar as one of their guitarists was in Calgary, but played with them like he had always been with them as he easily traded finger blistering leads and big riffs with Curtiss Vaselenak.

As usual, frontman Phil Sirias, with a newly shorn head, wailed and screeched like the bastard child of Judas Priests’ Rob Halford and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. being tortured in a dungeon.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 May 2018 00:16 )

Casa celebrates five years with party in the square and local musicians

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 It’s hard to believe that downtown arts centre Casa has been here for five years, so they celebrated their anniversary with a party in the square with burgers , cake and local music on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, May 12. Inside Casa, local artist  Aaron Hagan’s paintings of the construction of the building were on display. Outside,  I missed performances by Taylor Ackerman and Dave McCann, both of whom I was looking forward to seeing, but caught Bryan Bradfield.

 Floyd Sillito playing  Casa’s fifth anniversary celebration, May 12. photo by Richard Amery
 Bradfield is a regular fixture of the  Lethbridge Folk Club open mics and events. This time, dobro in hand, he was all about music history as played a laid back set of stories and old blues and folk classics. He played a beautiful versions of Chet Atkins’ “Sleepwalk’ and several other songs not usually played on the instrument, but also some old Les Paul instrumentals.

Bryan Bradfield playing Casa’s fifth anniversary celebration, May 12. photo by Richard AmeryI caught a show by of local country musician and his bassist, who I hadn’t seen for a while.

The 93-year-old musician has been keeping traditional country music alive for many years.

He delivered a crash course in classic country history. he played a medley of “Santa Fe Trail” and “Navaho Trail,” plus  Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou” as well as  a couple of Don Williams songs.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 23:55 )
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