‘Round and ‘round they go, and where they stop nobody knows.
A game of musical chairs is about to be played when popular Okanagan musicians Neil Fraser, John Lent, Andrew Smith and Shelby Wall perform in the lecture theatre at Okanagan College Vernon campus Friday, Jan. 27.
The concert brings together, for the first time, the diverse talents of four artists who have each been instrumental in creating many trios and quartets in folk, folk-rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz over the past 30 years in the Okanagan.
“We’re going to have us some fun,” said Lent, a published author, poet, songwriter, and singer with the trio.
“We are playing more to surprise ourselves now, and, hopefully, delight our audiences that way. From this point of view, we see our performances as part of a larger project now, a project that involves more musicians and more explorations of musical lineage.”
The Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio has performed for decades in Vernon and beyond and has reached a stage of hybridizing both original material in folk and jazz, and experimenting with other musicians to explore areas of originality in contemporary music.
The trio’s first CD, Shadow Moon, was released to critical acclaim in 2005, and the men have since been in the thick of trying to assemble another CD.
“We have been collaborating with other musicians over the past few years and the results have been exciting,” said Lent. “We love it when another musician comes along and changes our vision of a song, or pushes it in another direction.”
A well-respected guitarist and instructor from Vernon, Fraser began performing with Smith several years ago, and these performances have led to some of the collaborations that will unfold at tonight’s concert.
Besides being an acclaimed tap-style guitarist, Smith is also a recording engineer and has a studio based in Kelowna. He has recently recorded Fraser’s own jazz compositions, while Lent and Wall have been writing tunes together. Lent is also working with Smith on recording another independent set of new songs.
Smith has released four CDs of his own work, most recently compositions with his son Zachari.
“He and Zachari have played concerts across North America and have toured Europe extensively, along with wowing audiences in B.C. and Alberta,” said Lent.
Friday’s concert at the Okanagan College Vernon campus theatre starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at The Bean Scene downtown, or at the door.