Spike Wilner: Mining An Alternative Currency

Smalls Owners Spike Wilner & Mitch Borden

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.

Bruno Hubert Trio – Live at The Patricia

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.

Champian Fulton: Our Girl In Paris

Champian in FranceThe 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.

Bruno Schubert Quartet – Live at The Libra Room

Bruno Schubert Quartet
Bruno Schubert is a unique and (to me) shockingly delightful surprise on the Vancouver Jazz scene. In fact, I wouldn’t restrict this assessment to just the local Vancouver Jazz microcosm. I have been studying, playing and listening to jazz constantly for 35 years and Bruno is the real thing. Rather than try to explain why I think he is important, I would just invite you to listen to his playing, and indeed his arranging and the way he compels his group (listen to his maraca and tamborin work) through his unique and entrancing treatment of Love For Sale with a deceptive Night In Tunisia intro.

Full Album release is coming soon.

Bruno Hubert Trio Live at the Cellar 2008

Bruno Hubert

Bruno Hubert

Pianist Bruno Hubert is a local delight and one of the hidden gems of Jazz. I first saw Bruno play here in Vancouver back in 1993 shortly after a cross-Canada permanent escape from Toronto in a loaded down pick-up. Bruno impressed me then with his intensity, emotional commitment, and almost Sage-like aura.

I lost track of Bruno and the Jazz scene in general in the late 90’s but I am now making up for lost time. That quest brought me out to the Emerald Lounge on the edge of China Town earlier this summer. Bruno was leading a funky trio on his, apparently well traveled, Fender Rhodes piano. From this performance, my conviction that this French Canadian transplant was important (not to mention entertaining) was solidified.

I learned that Bruno holds court most Friday nights at The Libra Room where his eminently swinging trio plays the opening set at 7pm. At this groovy perch on the Drive, those attending, lubricated by local libations, marvel as Bruno summons audacious, yet correct, improvised melodies over familiar jazz standards from a tired looking yet shockingly compliant honky-tonk upright.

It seemed a crime to me (perhaps one that I was complicit in) that there was no cover charge (I did tip the optional music fund), and that I sat yet 5 feet from this jazz genius. I would hit the Libra every Friday if I didn’t have other responsibilities, but such is not the case. So I went looking to find recordings of Bruno through the normal channels.

Enter Live At The Cellar, a 2008 recording at the sadly now defunct legendary West Broadway establishment of the same name, featuring Bruno, ubiquitous bassist Andre Lachance and Juno winner (for trumpet) Brad Turner sporting some serious drum chops.

Live At the Cellar, while certainly not new, is, to my listening, representative of the best jazz performances by local musicians and can easily sit on heavy rotation in my jukebox along with any of the jazz greats past and present.

More on this to follow…