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Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival announces excellent line up for 2019

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The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival has announced an outstanding lineup for their ninth year.
“We have all sorts of Juno Award winners and Grammy Award winners,” summarized Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival president Don Robb adding they have collaborated  with with local organizations including the Geomatic Attic, Lethbridge Folk Club and Nikka Yuko Japanese Centre
 The Lethbridge Jazz Festival is excited to present an outstanding lineup for their ninth year.

Don Robb announces the line Up for this year]s Lethbridge Jazz and blues festival. Photo by Richard Amery
Lethbridge Jazz and Blues festival president Don Robb is pleased with the festival’s steady growth.
“We were under the banner of the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival for two years before that and we had 800 to 1,000 people over two days. Last year we had over 5,000. So We’re pretty pleased with our growth ” Robb said, adding they are excited to be back at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

“It was under renovation last year, so it wasn’t available to us ,but we’re back this year,” he said
 The Festival begins with the Young Lions concert at the Gate, Friday, June 7 at 12:45 p.m..
“It’s one of the cornerstone events of  the festival. It’s called the young lions because the older  generation of jazz musicians would say these young lions are going to take over from us and they will. So we have over a dozen bands and choirs from local schools participating,” he said.

 After that, they are trying out a new venue — the City Hall foyer, where Kayley Kinjo and the Hypocrites will be playing for  special collaboration with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.
“We’re experimenting with it as a venue. It‘s wide open and music sounds great there,” Robb said.
Tickets for that show are $45 in advance $50 at the door. Tickets for this show and all of the others  are only available online

 the other cornerstone event is Saturday, June 8 with the free event Jazz In the Park, which features  touring acts Rondell Roberts, Montuno West, Velle Weitman and the Dirty Catfish Brass Band performing from noon to 5 p.m.


Billie Zizi shows impressive guitar chops

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It‘s been a few years since I saw Edmonton musician Billie Zizi, probably the last time I saw her was playing a mellow set at the South Country FBillie Zizi at the Slice, April 18. Photo by Richard Ameryair in 2016. It was a pretty mellow set on acoustic guitar with her dad Cam Neufeld on fiddle.

But she picked up an electric guitar, plugged in and turned up at the Slice, Thursday, April 18 with her band, bassist Ryan Funk and drummer Jesse Miller for a good sized Wednesday night crowd.

 They played an eclectic set of mostly original music ranging from smooth jazz to alternative rock and groovy experimental music, all of it featuring a lot of solid, tasteful guitar playing from Billie Zizi and her Telecaster.

Her high pitched, wavering vocals reminded me of fellow Edmontonian Colleen Brown and Major Love. Drummer Jesse Miller adding background harmonies on a couple of songs as Funk added a few too on other tunes.

In addition to upbeat originals, she also put her own stamp on covers of “Angel From Montgomery” and The Zutons/Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”

 Then bassist Ryan Funk announced “Let’s get weird” before launching into a funky, bass powered  jazz rock jam before turning over the stage for The Slice’s regular Thursday night jam.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 April 2019 23:49 )

Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few play quite a few hits

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Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few returned to the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 12 in a ’50s and ’60s rock and roll mood.

Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few were at the Watertower Grill, April 12. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played several jazz tinged originals and  an array of covers  including rock and roll classics like “Oh Boy,” a solid version if Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock,” and ’90s rock including the Spin Doctors ’Three Princes.”

 A new original “Should Have Been” was a highlight of the second set.

 They played a disco flavoured number and wound up the set with Jefferson Airplanes’ “ White Rabbit.”
They stayed in the psychedelic  rock vein for their third set with a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus,” popularized in the ’80s by Bananarama.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 April 2019 08:28 )

Charlie Jacobson plays the blues as a one man band

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Red Deer based one man band and bluesman Charlie Jacobson had a decent crowd at the Slice, Friday, April 12.

Charlie Jacobson returned to the Slice, April 12. Photo by Richard Amery
 He was in the middle of a spirited version of  John Lee Hooker’s classic “Boom, Boom, Boom,” accompanying himself on a bass drum and cymbal, keeping a steady beat as he played and danced in place. He followed that up with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot.”

 It was one of several blues and rock and roll classics plus modern blues tunes he played including a stunning version of Albert King’s The Hunter and an outstanding version of Gary Clark Jr‘s blues groove “When My Train Pulls In.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 April 2019 08:20 )

Proud Sons excited to play sold out shows with the Tea Party

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Winnipeg alt country band Proud Sons are, well, proud to have been asked to spend  a couple months touring with ’90s alt rockers the Tea Party including playing a sold out show, May 1 at the Yates Theatre.The Proud sons play Lethbridge with the Tea Party, May 1. Photo by Francesca Ludikar

“Actually in another interview, someone asked us what our favourite show we played was and that opening for the Tea Party in Winnipeg at the Burton Cummings Theatre. So we put it on Instagram and one of the band members wrote and said hey, why don’t you tour with us and the rest is history,” said guitarist/ vocalist Ryan McConnell, noting they are also both on the same record label, Coalition Music.
 They began the tour on March 17 and wind down the first half of the tour in Lethbridge.
“Then we go back to Winnipeg for five days to get some sleep and go out again for the second half out to Vancouver and down to Los Angeles,” he said, adding the tour ends on May 17, after which the Proud Sons have a few music festivals planned.
“We’ve been playing a lot of sold out or close to sold out shows. And even though our music is a lot different than the Tea Party’s music, people really seem to like it,” he said.

 The band formed in 2012 after two different bands blended, after discovering mutual affinity for vocal harmonies.

“It’s something we sort of stumbled upon,” he said.
“We were all doing our own things. I was a singer/songwriter. Me and Jason (Stanley, guitarist vocalist were in one band and the brothers, (bassist/vocalist Jesse Meyer and Lead guitarist/vocalist Kyle Meyer) were in another. (Drummer Jay Mymryk rounds out the line up). So when we formed, we all decided to sing. We‘ve always liked the Eagles,” he said.

 One of the early  highlights of  their career was getting to record in the renown Sun Studios in Memphis in 2013, Where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and numerous blues musicians recorded in the ’40s and ’50s.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 April 2019 10:42 ) Read more...
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