Spike Wilner runs a bar business in Manhattan, New York City. He has rent and staff to pay, supplies and equipment to purchase. Since he was a teenager he has never stopped wanting to be a jazz piano player. He is that too. Why does he bother running a bar (Smalls Jazz Club) in New York City where capitalist monsters devour whole city blocks at a snap in pursuit of profit when he could just play piano?
Spike took time recently from a weekend installment at Frankie’s Jazz Club in Vancouver, Canada, to explain his unique journey inside the metropole of the jazz world over the past 25 years. How he got started, his changing attitude, the power of constraints.
Enjoy this in depth and extensive interview with Spike Wilner and please feel free to share and comment.
Steph Johnson might just be the perfect voice to represent San Diego’s homeless people. Anyone who has basked in the sub-tropical breeze along that city’s gleaming waterfront boardwalk knows that homelessness is a big problem. Steph Johnson has a soft spot for ‘her people’ not only because she has a big heart, but because she grew up in a less than middle income household where she struggled to get the resources she needed to learn music.
Despite the demands of making a living and the lure of a secure job in banking, Johnson found her voice, at age 21, after losing track of time one day when she dusted off her father’s old acoustic guitar, singing and strumming for 8 hours.
The Jazz Shed had the opportunity to sit down with Steph Johnson this July to discuss her unique vocal and guitar stylings; part jazz, part soul, and more. Our conversation quickly expanded beyond just music to her blossoming career as a community builder and advocate for homeless people through a community choir she has recently co-founded and which is garnering national media attention.
Please enjoy this enticing Jazz Shed interview. Share and comment.
Enjoy this bonus track, “Be Light”, from Steph’s latest album, Music is Art:
Vancouver based jazz music aficionado, musician, impresario, record producer…etc…Cory Weeds recently came into possession of a trove of vintage jazz records, all on vinyl! The Jazz Shed could not resist the urge to witness this cornucopia of shellac in person. Watch our video to hear the story behind the discovery of these amazing records.
Vancouver based Jazz piano legend Bruno Hubert brought his trio, including steady collaborators James Meger (bass) and Joe Poole (drums), to the bustling Pat’s Pub in the storied and historic Patricia Hotel this past July 23rd.
The Jazz Shed was there to capture this unique and inimitable stylist and arranger of The Great American Songbook as he ran through such fan favorites as Caravan, French Waltz, Golden Earing, Lullaby of Birdland, Love For Sale and more.
This session followed on the earlier stellar performance by this same trio at the Vogue Theater during the TD Vancouver International Jazz festival which received a top 10 best citation from The Vancouver Province newspaper.
We have posted three videos to our YouTube Channel for your viewing and listening pleasure. Discussions are in the works for a vinyl record release of the very best of this live trio session. For more information, and to stay informed please contact us.
Check out this cool Jazz Shed “streeter” with Cory Weeds down at the Coastal Jazz and Blues office on a sunny summer day in Vancouver. The Juno Award winning Jazz Fusion power quartet Metalwood has just released its first new album in a long time. The Jazz Shed was honored to receive an early promo copy of Twenty and we love it! Twenty is available on Cellar Live and Metalwood performs live at Frankie’s Jazz Club on September 9th, 10th, and 11th.
The Jazz Shed checked back in with Champian Fulton in April of this year while she set down in her home State of Oklahoma for the first time in many years for a few concerts. The rising Jazz singer and pianist had just returned back from a March tour of Europe (Germany, Austria, France, Spain) to promote her most recent album, After Dark, a tribute to one of her idols, Dinah Washington.
We enjoyed a casual conversation about her impressions of the different venues and audiences she performed in and for and also discussed other recent events from her journeys oversees and on this side of the pond. Please enjoy this edition of the Jazz Shed interviews.
He rose up through the brass and percussion ranks of La Fanfare de Maniwaki, Quebec, a small logging town many miles out along the Gatineau River north of Ottawa. It was a tough town with strong Algonquin and and French Catholic roots, and hockey. Who could have predicted a once on-ice enforcer would emerge from here to someday become a masterful jazz musician? Well, perhaps his Father, and the local marching band leader.
Bruno Hubert left Maniwaki, at the age of 19, to find a larger pond to quench his musical thirst. His business minded older brother gave shelter in the citadel of French Canada, Quebec City. There the fresh faced drummer took up studies, to round off his rough edges, at Cégep de Sainte-Foy school of Music. He was told to learn piano. And he discovered his brother’s Keith Jarrett record. The rest is, well, recounted firsthand in this audio interview conducted by the Jazz Shed in February of this year with Bruno himself .
Over the past three decades, Bruno has taken a curious and unique route from obscure small town french Canada to the lyrical multiculturalism of Vancouver’s Jazz scene. While his story is interesting, his music is more so. Bruno is well known and, perhaps, revered among many jazz musicians and fans alike in Vancouver as a remarkable secret. Well, this is partly true. But any jazz musician, especially those who work in Vancouver, will tell you that they are not in it for the fame. Seems like a silly thought if you have ever tried. Bruno however seems oblivious to the concept of self-promotion and as local impresario Cory Weeds would tell you, the market for Jazz promoters in Vancouver is rather small. So, Bruno is not famous. But, maybe he likes it that way.
Perhaps some of the adoring regulars who seep in to Commercial Drive’s mirthful Libra Room most Fridays to hear (and see) his bustling trio are thankful that Master Bruno Hubert (he goes by the original surname of Schubert more recently) prefers his piano to the spot light. They get the best deal in town. Oops!
Please pour yourself a tall glass, a wee dram, or a pot of tea, and stretch out to this candid and rather extensive interview with a truly masterful jazz musician who is, quite possibly, the real thing. This interview is lightly seasoned with some of Bruno’s playing from a Jazz Shed recording made Live at The Libra Room in November of 2015. Enjoy, and please comment.
NOTE: Be sure to buy your tickets to see The Bruno Hubert Trio perform at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on July 2nd.
Champian Fulton brings a charm and excitement to the contemporary jazz scene, primarily because she is a fantastic and swinging musician. She has some pretty serious keyboard chops and a confident and dynamic vocal offering in the tradition of Dinah Washington.
The Jazz Shed had the distinct privilege of an extensive conversation with Ms. Fulton at Frankie’s Jazz Club in Vancouver, prior to her two night engagement on March 4 and 5, part of the Women in Jazz series presented by Coastal Jazz and Blues. She is has just embarked on an international tour promoting her latest album release After Dark.
If you were feeling blue about the closure of one of Vancouver’s all-time greatest Jazz venues, Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club, well fear not, it has been reincarnated (sort of) in the new Frankie’s Jazz Club which launched late in 2015. And who else but the multifaceted Cory Weeds would be the driving force behind this exciting new venue which has already presented a stellar cast of jazz greats both local and from abroad.
I caught up with Cory, Jazz Impresario extraordinaire, leading tenor sax man, record label owner, producer, etc., etc., down at the new jazz club in December (2015) to stretch out on many subjects. Cory shared the back story around the launch of Frankie’s (a joint venture, if you will, between Cory, Coastal Jazz, and Frankie’s Italian Restaurant), his thoughts on jazz music, the old Cellar, his record label (Cellar Live) and much more.
Please sit back, relax, and enjoy this very candid and revealing conversation with “the hardest working man” in jazz. I believe it!
The Jazz Shed took advantage of a free Saturday afternoon on the calendar of Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt during a two night stint (Jan 8-9) at Frankie’s, the newish Vancouver Jazz venue next to BC Place Stadium, at the heart of this city’s nightlife.
Mr. Pelt took to the stage with some of NYC’s heaviest cats; Bill Stewart on drums, Peter Washington on bass, Steve Nelson on vibes, and Danny Grissett on piano. The Power Quintet cooked up a swinging brew of mostly original tunes with a decidedly post-hard-bop influence. All but two tunes of the two set offering were written by Pelt himself with a few from pianist Grissett. The packed house at Frankie’s, local musicians in abundance, were not disappointed as the band delivered high energy, immaculate, yet often daring variations on the contemporary but ‘feel good’ compositions of Messrs Pelt and Grissett.
In the following interview, Jeremy Pelt shares his thoughts on Jazz music, his plans for the future. Please enjoy, and feel free to comment.