Posts Tagged ‘Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues’

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CHARLIE A’COURT RETURNS TO THE FAT CAT, SATURDAY OCTOBER 13TH

October 9, 2012

Charlie A'Court
Award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist Charlie A’Court will take the stage at the Fat Cat Blues Bar, St. John’s, NL on Saturday, October 13th, at 9:30pm. Presented by Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues, this is A’Court’s final stop on his CD release tour. Charlie is celebrating the release of his latest CD titled Triumph & Disaster and will be joined on stage by Chris Kirby (keyboard), Paul “Boomer” Stamp (drums) and Paddy Byrne (bass).Cover charge is $15 at the door.

A’Court’s first studio recording in six years, Triumph & Disaster is produced by Chris Kirby. The album features 13 brand new original songs from Charlie A’Court and an impressive line up of co-writers including Ron Hynes, Kim Wempe, Jamie Robinson, Jason Mingo, Dave Simpsom and Chris Kirby, along with a brilliant cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”.

”The album title is a tip of the hat to the late, British author, Rudyard Kipling and his acclaimed poem, IF, says A’Court, “The excerpt reads – If you can meet with Triumph & Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same – the line refers to a balance between high and low emotions.” A’Court plays with a delicate balance of emotion touching on feelings of jubilation, redemption, isolation and absolute love for another.

Winner of the2007 East Coast Music Award for Pop Recording of the Year and 2007 Music Nova Scotia Blues Recording of the Year for his album Bring On The Storm and 2003 Best Blues Artist for his debut album Color Me Gone, A’Court has walked the line between blues and adult contemporary.

A’Court’s 2009 release, Live At The Marigold, was nominated for Blues Recording of the Year and Male Solo Recording of the Year, while earning him the honour of being named Nova Scotia’s top entertainer at the 2009 Music Nova Scotia Awards.

Fearlessly bridging genres and challenging stylistic conventions, A’Court’s music and passionate voice stir up the listeners’ emotions, touching the very core of audiences around the world. A’Court has toured extensively throughout Canada and abroad with headlining performances at the Stan Rogers’ Folk Fest, Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, Kerrville Folk Fest (USA), and Woodford Folk Fest (AUS), and has shared the stage with high profile artists such as James Cotton, Martin Sexton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Thorogood, Harry Manx, Procol Harum, Colin James, Dan Aykroyd and Delbert McClinton, among many others.

Music critic, author and CBC radio personality, Bob Mersereau had this to say about Charlie A’Court’s new Triumph & Disaster CD:
The Nova Scotia singer-guitar player gets funky and soulful, with the help of his like-minded producer, Newfoundland’s Chris Kirby. Most strikingly, this means a lot of impassioned vocals from A’Court, who slides into his role as smooth soul man with ease, obviously enjoying the rich sounds behind him. Singing high and mighty, rising into falsetto, getting into the groove, or slaying us with tenderness, it’s a singing tour-de-force….Guitars ring out, the organ pulses, cymbals splash, and somebody borrowed the microphones from Stax Studio for the horns. It’s the kind of disc I never thought I’d hear out of the East Coast, Southern soul instead of Northern blues, and I’m sure glad it came out so well.”
Read the full review here:  http://www.cbc.ca/nb/mt/east-coast-music/2012/10/music-review-charlie-acourt—triumph-disaster.html <http://www.cbc.ca/nb/mt/east-coast-music/2012/10/music-review-charlie-acourt—triumph-disaster.html

Don’t miss Charlie A’Court’s “Triumph & Disaster” CD release, Saturday, October 13th at The Fat Cat, St. John’s, NL. Presented by Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues. Show time is 9:30pm. $15 at the door.

Charlie A’Court “Triumph & Disaster” CD Release Tour:

 

Sept. 28 – Marigold Cultural Centre, Truro, NS
Sept. 29 – The Guild, Charlottetown, PE
Oct. 6 – Glasgow Square Theatre, New Glasgow, NS
Oct. 11 – The Carleton, Halifax, NS
Oct. 13 – The Fat Cat, St. John’s, NL

For music, ticket info and more please visit: http://www.charlieacourt.com

Media Contact:
Lynn Horne
Lynn Marketing & Media Relations
lynnhorne@ns.sympatico.ca
902-465-3763

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Jazz in the Education Field

September 7, 2011
Eckstein Middle School Jazz Band performing at...

Image via Wikipedia

By Alex Abbott

In today’s school systems music has become an integral part of the curriculum and a large part of school life itself.  Opportunities for students to get a good education in music are endless thanks to the help of well-developed music programs in our schools that provide plenty of instruments for students to learn on.  Not to mention that Newfoundland in general is home to some very highly skilled and experienced teachers.  Thanks to this system of resources, a child in Newfoundland can very easily get an education of applied study, music history, music theory, and many other aspects of music.  However, this marvellous education is centered almost entirely around classical, pop, or concert band music.  Other genres, like jazz, it seems have been put on the backburner or deemed unimportant in the process of getting a good musical education.  To me, this is very strange indeed.

Although classical and big band music are excellent for teaching technique, and pop music can certainly help stimulate a child`s interest in music, jazz also has many things to offer the young budding musician.  Jazz is a genre very different from any other taught in school systems as it challenges musicians in many areas and provides unique opportunities in performance.  Jazz music, no matter what style, offers a player with complex rhythms, the opportunity to learn how to work together with other musicians, and most of all the opportunity to improvise.   These are skills that often go completely undeveloped in many musicians because they have never had to deal with situations like these before, however these skills are absolutely essential for someone who wishes pursue music as a career or just as a pastime.

Complex rhythms for example are impossible to avoid once you reach a certain level of music, and often when people reach this level they face a very steep learning curve.  However if students were taught jazz from an early age, the learning curve would be almost non-existent as these skills would have been developed over many years of practise.  Not to mention that simple rhythms then would become second nature, allowing the performer to focus more on technique and musicianship.  An education of jazz rhythms, not only in ensembles but in the music curriculum in schools would also make the lives of music teachers much easier as they would not need to spend countless hours of ensemble rehearsals going over simple rhythms.  The level of performance throughout a teacher’s ensembles would be very likely to increase.

Another daunting task that musicians have to face as they progress is the ability to play with an ensemble.  No matter how talented you are and no matter how much you wish to be a solo performer, being able to work with other musicians is a skill that every musician needs to develop.  Whether you are playing in a high school band or being accompanied by a single collaborative pianist, it is essential to know how to perform with another musician.  In my opinion, jazz teaches this skill better than any other genre because of the intricate part writing which is so common in jazz music.  If every single person in a jazz ensemble is not in sync with their counterparts, the piece runs the risk of being a complete train wreck.  This forces students to learn to work together with their fellow musicians to pull off a good performance.  These skills translate very well over into everyday life as well, as the ability to trust and work together with fellow students, co-workers, etc. is essential in real life.

Finally, we come to one of the most crucial components of jazz: improvisation.  While a musician probably could get by their entire life without knowing how to improvise, it is still an incredibly valuable skill to have.  Not only does it teach musicians an understanding of key and chords, and help them think on their feet, but it is simply a lot of fun!  It is a great skill for any musician to have even if they do not plan on pursuing jazz.  Improvisation can be, and is, used in any number of mainstream styles.  It is a great tool for members of any band to have, and it can lead to some great song writing as well.

Jazz is a wonderfully unique genre of music with so many skills and opportunities to offer a young budding musician, but sadly it seems that schools and post-secondary institutions alike in Newfoundland do not see the value in this style of music.  While a lot of schools in Newfoundland do now offer jazz bands as well as a limited amount of jazz in other school ensembles, in my opinion it is still not given the recognition as a teaching tool that it deserves.  It has been my experience that some high schools for example will offer a jazz band, but will not allow students to obtain a credit for it as a course; students will only receive credit if they participate in the concert band.  This absolutely should not be the case.  Speaking personally as a saxophone player who has played in multiple concert and jazz bands, I found that my skills improved far more while playing in my high school jazz band than they did throughout many years of playing in concert bands.  A similar trend is seen even throughout post-secondary institutions.  Even though Newfoundland is home to many great jazz musicians and ensembles, it remains impossible for a musician to get a degree specializing in jazz music.  This to me is astounding, considering that our neighbours in NS have one of the best jazz programs in the country at St. Francis Xavier University.

Music is certainly ripe throughout Newfoundland and Labrador in all forms: classical, pop, rock, folk, jazz, etc. and it is certainly not hard to get an education in music in this province.  However, the merit of jazz music is still being overlooked time and time again.  Jazz is an extremely beneficial genre for musicians of any age to take up.  With the opportunity to learn so many great techniques and skills that can transfer over into real life, it would make sense for any musician no matter how old or experienced to take up jazz.  “What if you don’t have an interest in jazz?” you may ask.  Not to worry, jazz is a constantly expanding genre of music.  With so many sub-styles and branches off of jazz, there is sure to be something for everyone.

For more information on the St. FX Jazz program visit http://www.stfx.ca/faculties/arts/music/ and for more information on ensemble performance in schools visit http://mpsh.ca/curriculum/course-descriptors/Ensemble%20Performance%20MAY%2006.pdf

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Jazz Styles Family Tree (Post-World War II) Part 2

August 30, 2011
American jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman

American jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman Image via Wikipedia

In part one we featured Vocalese, Cool Jazz /West Coast Jazz, Hard Bop and Bossa Nova. In Part two we continue our journey through the post World War Two jazz family tree. (To read part one click here)

Some artists, most often but not always those following in the Bebop-Hard Bop progression, wished to continue the train of freedom of improvisation that these genres had started. It is due to this wish that Modal Jazz and Free Jazz were born. Modal Jazz moves past the Western tradition of major and minor scales, opening their music, and particularly their improvisation, to entirely new sounds. The followers of Free Jazz, led by Ornette Coleman, took this progression even further, creating songs not necessarily based on any preset melody or even chord progression. This allowed artists a complete range of originality to work with, enabling complete spontaneity in the music. This could often be seen in the form of group improvisation, where an entire group (generally smaller combos) would improvise together to create something completely original. John Coltrane is perhaps the most famous Free Jazz player, also contributing to the development of Modal Jazz.

Splitting from Hard Bop in the opposite direction, Soul Jazz was perhaps the most popular style of the 1960’s. Relying on simpler, bluesy melodies and dance-like rhythms it distanced itself from the more complex improvisational techniques being developed in Free Jazz. It was greatly influenced by rhythm and blues, as well as gospel elements, and was often driven by – and is the reason for the popularity of – the Hammond organ, seen in the playing of Les McCann as well as many others. Tenor saxophone and guitar were often featured as well, a prime example being the saxophone stylings of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.

The 1970’s were a difficult period for jazz. Due to the growing popularity of the television, and the access that provided to the popular music of the time, Rock & Roll was quickly overshadowing the jazz scene, with the help of Disco later on. As such, many jazz artists, particularly those from the progression of Hard Bop, transferred their skills to the Fusion school of jazz, which combined jazz improvisation with the new, high energy rhythms of Rock & Roll. Fusion is interesting in that not much of its influence is seen in today’s jazz; it has actually influenced rock to a much greater degree.

Moving into the 1980’s, the biggest addition to the scene was that of Afro-Cuban or Afro-Latin jazz. A blend of jazz improvisation and infectious rhythms from South and Central America, this genre is related to the earlier Bossa Nova but with much more influence from the traditional Bebop, as seen in the Afro-Cuban recordings by Dizzy Gillespie. This style was pioneered by trumpeter Mario Bauza and percussionist Chano Pozo, and can be seen in the works of artists like Arturo Sandoval.

The final addition to an already diverse repertoire of jazz genres came in the 1990’s, by the way of Smooth Jazz. Growing out of Fusion, and adopting the mindset of their Cool Jazz forerunners, Smooth Jazz leaves behind the energetic solos and wild dynamics of Fusion, focusing more on its polished, slick sound. This results in a very unobtrusive style, including the abandoning of improvisation, leading some jazz “purists”, often fans of the Bebop and Free Jazz schools, to question whether Smooth Jazz can truly be counted as a subgenre of jazz. Aside from Smooth Jazz however, the 90’s saw a resurgence of older jazz styles, often referred to as the Hard Bop Revival, Retro Swing, and Neoclassicism (For the resurgence of Bebop, Swing, and New Orleans Jazz, respectively). This occurrence, along with the continuation of Free Jazz and Afro-Cuban, accounts for the variety of jazz seen today, resulting in a rich jazz culture that can be seen all around the world.

View our previous articles on the Jazz family tree;

Jazz Styles Family Tree (Pre World War II)

Jazz Styles Family Tree (Post-World War II) Part 1

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Jazz Styles Family Tree (Post-World War II) Part 1

August 2, 2011

By Devin Grant

Dave Brubeck in 1954.

Dave Brubeck was a key figure in post war jazz music. Image via Wikipedia

At the end of our article Jazz Styles Family Tree (Pre-World War II), we left off in the history of jazz with the Gypsy Jazz (or Jazz Manouche) of Django Reinhardt and the Swing music of such greats as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. However with many band leaders and members serving in World War II (and some, such as Glenn Miller, losing their lives in the war effort), this period saw the breakup of the “Big Bands”, leaving the field open for smaller groups and a new style of jazz, called Bebop. Led by such jazz legends as Charlie “Bird” Parker and John “Dizzy” Gillespie, this style moved away from the melody-based improvisation seen in most big bands and toward chordal improvisation, the style most readily seen today. In Bebop an artist would be free to explore whatever improvised melody they saw fit, as long as it fit within the chord structure of the piece.

This era also saw the birth of Vocalese, a rather unique style of jazz in which pre-existing melodies, and even solos, would be given lyrics and then sung by artists in the style of the previous instruments. Considered by many to have been invented by Eddie Jefferson, Vocalese did not see much success until more recently, with more well-known artists such as Jon Hendricks and The Manhattan Transfer (who won a Grammy for Best Jazz Fusion Performance for their Vocalese performance of Birdland).

Descending directly from Bebop in the 1950’s was Cool Jazz, also known as West Coast Jazz due to the heavy influence out of the western states, especially California. A mixture of Swing and Bebop, Cool Jazz is most easily recognized for its harmonic tones combined with much more smoothed out dynamics, avoiding the more aggressive styles and tempos of Bebop. Such artists as Lester Young and Miles Davis are considered to have contributed heavily to the feel of Cool Jazz, and many successful recordings have come out of this style, such as The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Time Out”.

While the Cool Jazz style was growing in recognition, some artists wished to recapture both the excitement and the audience of the Hot Jazz and Swing era. An extension of Bebop, Hard Bop filled this need, partially returning to both the Bebop and Hot Jazz of the past while drawing inspiration from Rhythm and Blues and even Gospel to a degree. Hard Bop tunes often had simpler melodies than its Bebop predecessor; with an emphasis on its now more sophisticated rhythm section. Horace Silver and Art Blakey of The Jazz Messengers are well known for their work in Hard Bop, with a prodigious talent for innovation keeping their pieces interesting for the audience. Both Funky Jazz and Gospel Jazz can be seen as natural extensions of Hard Bop.

Moving back to the other end of the spectrum, Cool Jazz had been mixing with the more European sensibilities and styles of South America, and by the time it worked its way up to North America in the 1960’s we had the new style of Bossa Nova. A lighter genre of jazz, even in comparison with that of the West Coast musicians, this “Brazilian Jazz” relied heavily on samba rhythms and acoustic guitar, often with English or Portuguese vocals. Bossa Nova gained popularity as an alternative to the Hard Bop of the time, and also due to the contributions of such artists as Charlie Byrd (Not to be confused with Charlie “Bird” Parker) and Stan Getz.

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WRECKHOUSE JAZZ & BLUES TO ANNOUNCE LINEUP FOR 2011 WIJBF

June 1, 2011

St. John’s, NL – May 31st, 2011 – As the summer is fast approaching, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues (WJB) is preparing to announce the artist lineup for the 10th annual Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival (WIJBF). Executive Director Liz Dunbar will be releasing the highly anticipated lineup on Wednesday, June 8th at 10:30am at the Rocket Bakery on Water Street. She is extremely excited to reveal to the public all of the details regarding this year’s festival taking place from July 13th – 16th as once again downtown St. John’s will be flooded with the rhythms and sounds of different styles of music from all across the globe.

In what is sure to be the most exciting year yet for the festival, Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues gives the people of St. John’s a unique opportunity to experience music and culture from all around the world during 4 jam packed days of concerts, workshops, and events. Since the festival began in 2001 it has grown exponentially in size and numbers, having an increase in audience of almost 400% in previous years. In this milestone year, the WIJBF promises to be the biggest event on the St. John’s Arts and Entertainment scene in 2011!

This year’s festival is sure to have a wider variety of international music than ever before, adding to the musical diversity in St. John’s. Featuring over 100 internationally acclaimed artists and the best talent Newfoundland has to offer, the 10th annual Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival is sure to be one to remember.

Come join WJB on June 8th at 10:30am at the Rocket Bakery for some fantastic live entertainment as the exciting lineup for the 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival is announced, running from July 13th – 16th in downtown St. John’s.

To keep up to date with the latest festival details, check out WJB on our website,  facebook, twitter, myspace, and wordpress.

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For more information please contact:
Ben Waring at 709-739-7734
ben@wreckhousejazzandblues.com

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The Nickel Gets Jazzed & the Jazz Festival Gets Framed

June 1, 2011

6th Annual Super 8 Series co-presented by the Nickel Film Festival,

Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival

and

Canadian Federation of Musicians – Local 820

(Newfoundland and Labrador Musicians’ Association)

During the 2011 Nickel Film Festival, filmmaker Roger Maunder will facilitate a workshop on Super 8 film-making for the festival’s annual film series that brings together filmmakers and musicians. The end result will be a screening of three original films with a live-recorded performance by musicians at the 10th annual Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival, as well as a screening of the film with sound the following year at the Nickel Film Festival.

How it works

Composers are invited to apply to participate in this program. One composer has already been selected. Two more will be chosen by a selection committee of the provincial musicians’ association.

On Tuesday June 17, three filmmakers will be chosen to create Super 8 films.

The three musicians will each be matched with a filmmaker at the workshop facilitated by Roger Maunder on June 21, from 1-3pm. Participating composers must be available to attend this workshop.

Once paired up, the composer and filmmaker collaborate on an idea for a short film. The filmmaker will be supplied with a camera and 3 minutes of Super 8 film for a one-day shoot during the festival. The film is edited in camera. It is then processed and the composer will be given a copy of the film to compose music. The composer will have 24 hours to complete the music and get it ready for a live-recorded performance during the Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival. The musical performance will be recorded and then combined with the film. The Nickel Film Festival will screen the result the following year at their festival.

To qualify

To qualify for this project, filmmakers must have had a film screened at a past or the current Nickel Film Festival.

To qualify as a composer, you should have experience composing music for film as well as confidence and ease performing in an improvised manner. You must also be a current member of CFM 820 or a performer at this year’s Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival. A selection committee has been formed by our association’s Executive Board to assess the submissions.

If you wish to apply, please submit a sample of your musical work and your artist bio OR an EPK OR a website address that includes a musical sample + bio.

Deadline for submissions is Monday June 6, 2011.

Questions?

Should you have any questions, please contact Rozalind MacPhail at the Canadian Federation of Musicians – Local 820:

The office phone number is 709-722-8005 and Roz’s email is: roz@cfm820.ca

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The Importance of Early Musical Involvement: A Retrospective

May 31, 2011
Santa Teresa High School  Jazz Band

Image by San Jose Library via Flickr

Article by: Devin Grant

Music. For many of us, imagining a world without it is unthinkable, almost tantamount to losing a part of ourselves. But while music is now so clearly a part of our lives in one way or another, it’s important to remember the gifts that it has given us along the way, and the benefits that it can bestow early in life. Finding myself working with music for the summer has made me think back on all of the ways that music has affected my life to this point, and being thankful for that past I feel the need to share these benefits, in the hope that young (potential) musicians can experience the same friendly, supportive helping hand that music has granted me.

Academic Benefits

In this section I aim to speak not from personal experience (that would be a tad pompous) but from the much more persuasive statistics. Many studies have shown a strong correlation between participation in music and academic success, particularly in mathematics. The links aren’t hard to find; it doesn’t take much effort to connect rhythms and fractions, mathematical formulae can be (and have been) written to mimic melodies, and the complexities of a skilled composition are mirrored in the many facets of a complicated equation. However, the academic benefits are not limited simply to mathematics; one study conducted in Southern California showed that students involved in musical extra-curricula’s such as band or choir on average had a GPA over half a point higher than their non-musical counterparts. Some studies have gone as far as to say that music majors have the highest SAT scores in all areas (as a math major I find that hard to believe, but we’ll leave it to the experts). Regardless, it is undeniable that music positively impacts academic success and it’s not hard to see why. Between building analytical skills from reading and understanding musical scores, to the work ethic gained by the necessity of regular practice, music teaches children many important skills for academia.

Social Benefits

While a somewhat obvious benefit, this certainly merits mention considering its importance. Anyone who has been involved in musical groups can tell you that it is practically unavoidable that you will make new friends through music. Many of my friendships started and matured through music, resulting in some of my very closest friends, as well as having friends living all across the country. They say that an important part of a friendship is having common interests, and when meeting through music this first requirement is already met. Regular practices as well as performances and other occasions provide the perfect grounds to foster a new friendship. Speaking from personal experience, music offers a venue for many otherwise shy, introverted people to break out of their shell. Whether it be playing solos, belting out a spectacular note, or simply performing as part of a group, music allows these people to make themselves heard in a venue where they can feel accepted and comfortable with themselves.

Personal Benefits

This is perhaps one of the more overlooked benefits granted by musical involvement. As mentioned in the previous section, music offers a place where people can begin to express themselves socially and break out of their shell. What comes with this opportunity is a means to grow as a person, especially where confidence is involved. I for one was very unconfident throughout my elementary and junior high school years, until jazz band, choir, and musical theatre performances gave me a chance to push myself into roles that I had never seen myself filling up to that point, making solo performances and even resulting in performing a 60’s love song in a white tuxedo (anyone who knows me well remembers this event, whether fondly or not is a point of contention). It’s hard to find a medium other than music that allows someone to push and improve themselves as much as music does. Of course emotionally, music has always been an incredibly important mode of self-expression, whether one is performing, composing, or simply listening. The connection between music and the human psyche is one of the strongest there is, and having music as a part of one’s life is truly a gift at a time filled with emotional turmoil. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but often the way to your own heart is through your ears.

Despite everything written above, the effect music can have on a young person truly can’t be expressed in words. Those of us who have lived it know how it feels, and we can only hope that many more of future generations will experience it for themselves. My message to today’s youth: play early, and play often.

Related Articles:

http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/studentdevelopment.html (Children’s Music Workshop)

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