Just as one jazz concert series is coming to an end, another run of performances heavy on jazz is taking off.
On June 15 the final Nanaimo Jazz Festival Have You Heard? Friday concert series show takes place at the Shaw Auditorium, featuring singers Rosemary Lindsay, Andrea Smith and Tina Jones. It is the last of eight concerts held twice a month dating back to March.
Although the series is concluding, jazz fans in Nanaimo are not being abandoned. On June 1 the Old City Quarter Association began its Sounds of Summer series with the Marty Steele Trio, the same group that launched Have You Heard? back in March.
The Sounds of Summer features mostly jazz but also classical, blues and multicultural ensembles performing outdoors in the Old City Quarter on Fridays during the noon hour until Aug. 31.
Jazz Fest president Andrew Homzy said Have You Heard? was a “complete musical success,” with each concert seeing greater attendance and more members signing up.
“What we’re doing there is what that room was built for,” Homzy said of the space, which is used for City of Nanaimo council meetings.
He said the sound quality is so good in the auditorium that when his saxophone group performed in the venue they didn’t have to use microphones. Homzy said he’s in discussions with the city to lower the short wall that separates the audience from the stage.
As Have You Heard? began with a vocal concert, Lindsay said her show will suitably bookend the series.
“I just decided that what would be really fun would be to sing with some other vocalists. In jazz you don’t see that a lot, even though it’s really popular,” she said.
“And I teach vocal jazz at VIU so I’m always working with many voices in harmony, but it occurs to me that a lot of jazz singers just go it alone.”
Lindsay said the show will be varied, touching on traditional swing and covering well- and lesser-known compositions as well. The singers will be supported by a trio of instrumentalists, including bassist Ken Lister, Linday’s husband.
“What’s happening is that we’re building a community, an audience,” Homzy said of the concert series.
“People like to go there. It’s elegant, there’s a cash bar, people are meeting there, they’re talking to the musicians, they’re talking to each other, they’re discussing jazz and also they’re helping us build toward the festival.”
WHAT’S ON … Rosemary Lindsay performs at the Shaw Auditorium, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $20 for members, $15 for students with ID. Sounds of Summer in the Old City Quarter is every Friday until Aug. 31 from noon to 1 p.m. See www.oldcityquarter.com for full listing.