Skip to content

Club jazzed for season of music in Vernon

Jazz Club presents performances every 2nd Saturday
The Karen Wiseman Quintet kick off the season at the Vernon Jazz Club Jan. 14. (Contributed)

After a remarkable fall season of live music, the Vernon Jazz Society is thrilled to present 11 new performances as part of the 2023 winter/spring season.

“And what a season it is going to be,” said Jacqueline Gijssen, director of communications. “Exceptional artists playing a diverse range of jazz at the club in downtown Vernon. Showcasing the depth of Okanagan talent, as well as artists from Montreal, Vancouver, Seattle and LA.”

The Karen Wiseman Quintet kick off the year Jan. 14, as the Vernon-based jazz vocalist brings her velvety tones, attention to phrasing, and an inordinate love of the old standards to the stage, joined by Chris Harwood-Jones on bass, Greg Baturin on drums, Nevill Bowman on piano and Sean Bray on guitar.

“Expect old swing classics, soulful ballads, Latin jazz, re-imagined Broadway/pop tunes and some of the lesser-known gems of the jazz tradition,” said Gijssen.

Melody Diachun, winner of the 2008 Western Canada Music Awards’ Outstanding Jazz Record of The Year and Juno nominee plays Jan. 28. She was also nominated Female Vocalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards. She has also taken a bold step in working with songs by Sting.

“She is – and will always be – a force to reckon with in contemporary vocal music,” according to the Toronto Music Report.

Judy Rose & the Killer B’s take the stage Feb. 11 featuring E to the Power of Three – Edith, Ella and Etta. Celebrated Okanagan songstress Rose pairs her lifelong idol Edith Piaf with Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. Judy’s Killer B’s are a lovingly assembled group of the valley’s finest musicians: the inimitable Neville Bowman on keys, the gifted Stefan Bienz on bass, the master Loni Moger on guitar and the one and only Scott Gamble on drums.

Three-time Juno award winner Campbell Ryga, along with long-time Vancouver artist Chris Startup, bring their quintet to the Vernon Jazz Club, playing saxophone as you’ve never heard it before, Feb. 25. Joining these two stellar saxophonists are: the lyrical guitar player Sean Bray, and the solid rhythm section of Bernie Addington on bass and Scotty Gamble on drums.

Some of the Okanagan Valley’s best and beloved jazz musicians take the stage March 11 as the Craig Thomson Hard Bop Quintet. Award-winning saxophonist and educator, Thompson is also a session musician and a solo artist.

One of the hardest working bluesman in the valley, Poppa Dawg, returns March 25. Rick (Poppa Dawg) Halisheff has been a mainstay on the Western Canadian blues scene for more than 25 years, making a name for himself based on his strong vocal, guitar and song-writing abilities.

Velvety-voiced pianist Elizabeth Shepherd arrived on the international scene in 2006 and since then has established herself as one of the most alluring and imaginative jazz artists today. The Montreal-based soul-jazz innovator visits the Vernon Jazz Club April 8. Alongside Esperanza Spalding and Robert Glasper, she is among the new wave of jazz-influenced musicians bringing the art form to a younger generation of music fans.

The Dylan Hayes Quartet is composed of four brilliant, focused musicians, coming to town April 22. Developing their musical voices on the Seattle jazz scene, drummer Xavier Lecouturier, and pianist Hayes have become invaluable creatives in Northwest music circles. Joining them are Los Angeles musical partners Nicole McCabe on alto sax and Logan Kane on bass.

The Steve Maddock Sextet plays May 6. Over the past two decades, Maddock has been steadily establishing himself as one of Canada’s most versatile vocal talents. Whether sharing a concert stage with a 65-piece symphony orchestra, performing with a 10-piece show band, or fronting a jazz trio in a local club, he’s able to change gears effortlessly and present the music in a way that’s honest and fresh.

The club welcomes the Nick Maclean Quartet May 13. Formed in 2016, Maclean’s foursome delivers jazz between the two poles of thoughtful introspection and powerhouse conveyance. Featuring provocative improvising trumpet-playing iconoclast Brownman Ali standing shoulder to shoulder with Maclean & two of Toronto’s top-tier rhythm section players: Jesse Dietschi on bass and Jacob Wutzke on drums.

Blues Hoodoo, described as a high-powered, instrumental funk fusion/blues quintet with a balanced serving of jazz reflections, hit the club May 20. From the first composition to the last, their high energy sets have wowed audiences wherever they are playing at.

“What a way to close out the 2023 winter/spring season at the Vernon Jazz Club,” said Gijssen.

Volunteer-run, the Vernon Jazz Society has been delivering jazz in all its forms since 1999. The society is dedicated to creating a space where great live music can be heard and enjoyed — one of three jazz-primary live music venues in B.C. Featuring approximately 20 gigs a year from September to May, audiences experience a superb venue with vintage vibe in a 1906 heritage building in downtown Vernon.

For tickets visit

READ MORE: Curtain opens on Cabaret auditions in Vernon

READ MORE: What’s happening around the North Okanagan


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
Read more