Brighten your mood with The Sean Cronin Quartet featuring Bruno Hubert, one of Vancouver’s most grooving, exciting bands, appearing at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.
The quartet features Cronin’s deep bass sound, Hubert’s subtly complex piano, James Danderfer’s sweet virtuosity on the clarinet, and Joe Poole’s creatively fresh drumming.
Tunes that evening include some of “the more oddball swing, bebop, and funky boogaloo material from the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s,” said Cronin.
“Our regular repertoire ranges from Thelonius Monk to Lennie Tristano to Lee Morgan with some Cole Porter and Fats Waller thrown in too.”
The band has also been working on some pieces by Oscar Pettiford, Charles Mingus, and classic tunes by Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. Original compositions by Danderfer and Cronin will also be featured.
Cronin has lived a musical life, beginning piano and recorder lessons at age four, eventually adding guitar, ukulele, sax, drums, and bass. After testing out punk, folk, country, and pop in high school, Cronin settled on acoustic jazz bass as his main pursuit.
“My personal style is pretty gritty but melodic, with a lot of swing, but subtle, not thrashy,” explained Cronin. “Mingus and Charlie Haden are two of my faves.”
One of Vancouver’s most successful jazz bassists, Cronin often gigs with Denzal Sinclaire, Mike Allen, Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, and many other well-known musicians.
He is also planning to relocate to New York.
“From my perspective, New York is the nucleus of the jazz community. I’m looking forward to exploring it,” said Cronin.
Hailing from Maniwaki, Quebec, Hubert initially studied percussion before moving on to the piano. He was in his late 30s before beginning to play professional jazz.
“After playing heavy metal and rock for 15 years as loud as possible, I thought that playing jazz was about the relationship with the musicians, not the just the music. You begin a love affair with the musicians,” said Hubert.
After 20 years of studying and performing, Hubert moved from Montreal to Vancouver in 1989. He spent five years studying piano with Miles Black before joining Brad Turner’s quartet and then becoming a band leader himself.
His list of musical influences is short but eclectic.
“I would say my influences are Keith Jarrett and Shostakovich. That’s pretty much the only two you need in my area. After that, they’re all imposters,” said Hubert.
Danderfer took up the clarinet in the school band.
“For me, early inspiration came from recordings by Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Oscar Peterson, and Artie Shaw as well as from Ray Charles, The Beatles, Muddy Waters, and Led Zeppelin,” said Danderfer. “I’ve always been attracted to jazz music for its unique mix of creativity, soul, romance, intellect, and groove.”
A protégé of Oscar Peterson and others, Poole has a great sense of musicality, groove, and rhythmic fluidity. He is a regular member of the Jaclyn Guillou Quintet, Rich Underhill Group, Tony Foster Group, and performs with the Juno-nominated Denzal Sinclaire. Recent work includes a season in Nice, France and a tour of Italy.
The Sean Cronin Quartet, featuring Hubert, takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club, 3000-31st. St. (upstairs from Nolan’s Pharmasave) Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $20 ($15 for jazz society members) in advance at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup.