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Erika Phillips Quartet performs Thursday

Singer Erika Phillips leads her quartet this Thursday in the first 2014 offering by the Georgia Straight Jazz Society. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
Singer Erika Phillips leads her quartet this Thursday in the first 2014 offering by the Georgia Straight Jazz Society.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society introduces the second half of its Thursday Night Jazz performance season Jan. 9 with a bang.

After the stunning performance at our December season closer shortly before Christmas, when Nanaimo bassist John Lee brought the audience to its feet, the jazz club continues its rollout of new jazz talent when the Erika Phillips Quartet, an exciting new Nanaimo-based jazz group takes the stage at the Avalanche Bar and Grill at 7:30 this Thursday.

The group features the rich, soulful vocals of singer, composer and arranger Phillips in a wide range of original compositions, updated standards, Latin and funk tunes. The band's fresh new take on traditional favourites, along with the sensitive playing of some of the Island's most skilled young jazz artists, gives the quartet a true voice of its own.

The quartet comprises Erika Phillips – vocals; Rob Wilkinson – piano; Richie Jackson – bass, and Jesse McNeill – drums.

Erika's experience as a pianist and singer in all different styles of music lends depth and originality to her songs; when composing and performing, she is always exploring new sounds and looking for ways to connect with audiences through exquisite melody, rich harmony, and beautifully crafted lyrics.

Erika is one of the West Coast's most exciting new musical voices. As a graduate of Vancouver Island University's Bachelors of Jazz program, where she studied under various Canadian jazz icons, including Brad Turner, Ken Lister, Pat Coleman, and Bryan Stovell.

Her 2012 EP album There Goes Love won her a Vancouver Island Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, and a full-length original album is due for release imminently. Erika finds inspiration for her work in a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, classical, and contemporary salsa music.

Erika recently completed an ARCT Diploma in classical piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and is very passionate about her career in music education, bringing the joy of making music to a new generation.

She currently teaches all ages of students from her private studio and is working on developing a program for group music lessons with young children.

Erika formed her quartet in 2010, as a way to showcase her original jazz tunes and explore new fusions of jazz with blues, rock, funk and Latin influences. Since the group's formation, the band has been constantly developing an ever-expanding repertoire of original compositions and arrangements. Drawing on the diverse musical backgrounds of these highly talented young performers, the group has developed its own unique musical signature.

Erika loves mixing the infectious rhythms of Latin music and the melodies of blues and rock with jazz harmonies and techniques to create energetic, irresistibly fun music that gets the audience up on its feet. Soulful ballads, bossa nova tunes, and re-workings of classic jazz standards round out the band's repertoire.

With an award-winning EP under their belt, a full-length CD of all original compositions in final production stages, and more new tunes being added all the time, the Erika Phillips Quartet continues to grow musically and search for exciting new ways to connect with audiences.

As the opening act of 2014, this show is the harbinger of about 20 weekly performances, and two forthcoming (professional) Sunday night concerts before our midsummer break. Watch for our weekly press releases to learn about forthcoming performers, or visit us at www.georgiastraightjazz.com, or follow us on Facebook. Better still, make a habit of meeting your friends at The Avalanche each Thursday.

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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