Vernon Jazz Society swings into Christmas with holiday jams

Sandy Cameron’s Shujazz Sextet will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday, Dec. 16

Candice McMahon

For The Morning Star

Six sharp players are presenting their Merry Krizz show, which involves jazzing up Christmas tunes and serving up some classic Jazz standards.

They are promising balanced sets with Latin, swing, a taste of R&B and a few ballads. Well-known and loved in Salmon Arm, retired music teacher Sandy Cameron is a first-class woodwind player. He has played in various band configurations for a total of 27 times at the Vernon Jazz Club, and he is a well-known and much-loved player here as well.

”I’ve been a member of the Vernon Jazz Club and attended club concerts since its beginning,” Cameron said. “Leading a band or being a sideman at the club is always a challenge, but it has always been a pleasure, too. I find the preparation involved inspires me to work hard, developing a better sound and a better understanding of jazz styles and theory. The club has also been an inspiration to jazz lovers in Salmon Arm, who have created their own successful jazz club.”

Cameron’s current favourite horn is the Tenor Sax. However, his clarinet remains a constant companion. Recently, he has pared down his stable of instruments with the knowledge that he is never going to learn to play them all properly, and so he concentrates on just the one saxophone.

“A three-year stint in Victoria was filled with jazz, for me,” Cameron said. “I was playing in three big bands, a concert band, and a couple of small groups. I totally enjoyed ‘sitting in’ often, at Hermann’s’ Jazz Club. It was a good time, but Salmon Arm and the North Okanagan are the best.”

Cameron loves Christmas jazz music, and he had the opportunity to do a concert for the Salmon Arm Jazz Club last year. He pulled together three new members and was delighted to meet Colin Spence, a new pianist on the scene; Jake McIntyre-Paul, a young guy who plays the bass really well; and a solid drummer, Gareth Seys, who also plays great trombone.

Seys lives in Blind Bay and works with his parents, owning and operating a Marina. He graduated from the Capilano College Jazz Program, and he brings an exuberant and energetic vibe to the group. Seys is stoked to be playing at the Vernon Jazz Club.

Vocalist, Andrea Roberts, is also a CAPP College grad and is another multi-instrumentalist. She is comfortable singing both operatic and jazz styles, plays piano proficiently, and was in the CAPP “A” Band on trombone. Roberts is an inspiration choir leader, as well, and has Cameron as one of her current Intergenerational Choir members.

Trumpet player, Terry Kosowick, is a professor at Okanagan University Salmon Arm and Vernon campuses. Another former jazz student at Capilano College (from the late ’70s), Kosowick also writes, arranges and plays piano.

McIntyre-Paul has a day job at Acorn Music and plays in other groups that sometimes take him on the road. He’s the real deal on upright bass, and he “just kills it.” As Jesse Mast (Nashville writing and recording artist) puts it, “Jake is brilliant and the best bass player I have ever worked with.”

Besides being a brilliant jazz pianist, Spence is very computer literate and is responsible for all the band’s arrangements, providing them with legible working charts. He has recently returned to Salmon Arm after a 40-year absence and credits his 23 years spent in Nelson for helping to define his musical skills. While in the area, he played regularly in groups with the Selkirk Music Program faculty members and honed a keen interest in jazz.

Sandy Cameron’s Shujazz Sextet will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $20 online at vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave), with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

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