Bill Sample (pianist and BC Entertainment Hall of Fame Inductee) and Darlene Ketchum (vocalist) have been co-writing for the past few years and are now in the studio recording their first CD.
Their songs are a bit bluesy and a bit funky with smoky ballads all performed by a stellar band of world class musicians. Having played at Frankie’s Jazz Club and Pat’s Pub Jazz series in Vancouver, they are looking forward to their debut at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.
Together, Ketchum and Sample bring a fresh Canadian take on the classic sounds of jazz and adult contemporary that challenge traditional genre harmonies — blending the groove with math and heart. While pushing musical boundaries, their songs are broadly accessible and offer lyrical insights on the times we live in with songs of love, compassion, and the world we want.
Sample’s career has spanned four decades, and his reputation is unsurpassed. He is a first call musician and composer in Vancouver. As a jazz pianist, Sample has opened for Oscar Peterson and Monty Alexander. He has performed with Ray Charles, Mel Torme, Robben Ford, Art Pepper, Dee Daniels and Fraser MacPherson. In 2010, Sample received both a Lifetime Achievement Award and Most Influential Jazz Musician from the Royal Canadian Music Project, and in 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ketchum, a singer, composer, arranger, and conductor, performs solo and in collaboration with a number of artists singing jazz, soul, funk, and R&B. As a composer, the vocal freedom of jazz combined with the rich chords and funky laid-back groove inspire her songs. Two of Ketchum’s songs have been nominated for awards, and she released her first solo album Soul Connections in 2014.
“We want to write songs that will move our listeners to some sort of response…we want them to feel deeply…to get in touch with their inner core and emotions,” Ketchum and Sample said. “Many of our songs have a social conscience element to them, encouraging people to love better, risk more and stand up for what is right. We want them to connect with their own stories through the stories we tell in our songs, not only through the lyrics but through the melodies, harmonies and groove.”
Accompanying Ketchum and Sample to the Vernon Jazz Club will be all of their regular band members: Rene Worst (bass); Buff Allen (drums); and Bill Runge (saxophone).
Worst is a professional bassist whose virtuosic and supportive bass playing has been a Canadian treasure for many years on both acoustic and electric basses. Worst has established himself as a leading jazz bassist performing with the likes of Chet Baker, David Bowie, Dr. Hook, Jennifer Scott, Herb Ellis, Tommy Banks, Paul Horn, P.J. Perry, Bud Shank, John Faddis and Don Thompson, to name just a few.
Allen is a Vancouverite who has almost 50 years of professional drumming experience in jazz, pop, theatre, recording studios, concert tours, television and movies. He has performed with artists such as Diana Krall, the late Paul Horn, Pat Coleman, Sal Ferreras, Oliver Gannon, Tom Banks and Hugh Fraser.
Bill Runge has been a successful performer, composer, arranger and orchestrator for over 30 years. A multi-instrumentalist, he has performed and recorded on saxophones, flutes, clarinets, electric and string bass, piano and other keyboards, guitar, pennywhistle and accordion.
Ketchum &Sample Quintet will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $20 online at www.vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave), with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.