Entertainment

Thursday Night Jazz has special treat this week

'One of Canada's fastest-rising saxophone stars,' Don Berner leads a sextet this Thursday at the Avalanche Bar and Grill.
— image credit: Photo submitted

And now for something completely different! (Musically speaking, that is.)

Georgia Straight Jazz Society Thursday night performances usually feature fine musicians from this region of Vancouver Island, but this week will be a significant digression from the ordinary when the highly respected Edmonton-based Don Berner Sextet takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.

This out-of-the-ordinary event occurs due to the band having a spare Thursday evening in their Western Canada tour schedule, which just happened to coincide with the jazz club schedule. So this is your first local opportunity to see and listen to this much-vaunted lineup of fine jazz musicians, including one of Canada’s fastest-rising saxophone stars.

The sextet features the compositional talents of all of its members, who are all very capable bandleaders and composers in their own right.

The horns in the sextet consist of Doug Berner, Don Berner, and Audrey Ochoa, while the rhythm section is filled out by Chris Andrew at the keys, Marc Beaudin on bass, and Juno Award nominee Sandro Dominelli at the drum kit.

Those folks who know the contemporary jazz scene in Canada will know that this is a group not to be missed. They’ve been recorded by the CBC and broadcast on both Tonic and Canada Live as well as being found online at CBC’s Concerts on Demand.

If you’re a fan of the high energy, heavy swing, and intricate compositions of the groups of Dave Holland, Art Blakey, or the Marsalis Brothers, this is a band that carries on those traditions while engaging in new and original material.

“I don’t wear a fedora, I don’t wear zoot suits, and I don’t sleep in till noon,” says Berner.

He’s a regular performer at the Edmonton Jazz Festival, served as its co-producer for two years, and has been a featured performer at the Montreal Jazz Festival. He’s also played alongside the Temptations, and performed at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, to name only a few accomplishments.

Juno Award winner P.J. Perry has called Don Berner "one of Canada's fastest-rising saxophone stars. Reads, doubles, solos, he does it all."

And jazz icon Hugh Fraser has stated, "Don's talent as a great saxophonist is supported by his compositional and band-leading talents."

In addition to appearing alongside such notable jazz luminaries as  Perry, Bobby Shew, Hugh Fraser, Slide Hampton, Bob Stroup, Chu Cho Valdez, Lew Tabackin, Guido Basso, and Tommy Banks, and commercial talents E.C. Scott, Frankie Valley, and the Temptations, he has performed at Edmonton's Jazz City Festival and Yardbird Suite, Calgary's 'Beatniq', Saskatoon's 'The Bassment', and countless other jazz clubs throughout Canada and the U.S.

Berner is the lead alto player in the Edmonton Jazz Orchestra. He can be heard on numerous CDs including his own debut CD Sextet and the sextet’s latest, Love Letters to a Rat Free Capital. Copies of these and other Berner CDs will be on sale at the club this Thursday.

This will be a popular event, so plan on arriving a little earlier than usual if you want to meet friends and get the best seats. Cover charge will be our regular $5, but people are encouraged to donate additional amounts to cover the additional expenses incurred on this tour.

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Tickets for the March 2 NightCrawlers’ concert are on sale at Bop City and Red Carpet, as well as the Avalanche Liquor Store and Thursday night club nights.

For more information about the Georgia Straight Jazz Society, follow us at www.georgiastraightjazz.com or on Facebook.

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Jazz society members are further reminded that the GSJS AGM will be held at the Avalanche Bar, in the back room, on Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m. Finger food will be served.

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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