The Vernon Jazz Club will be hopping on the groove train as Groove Engine takes the stage this Saturday night.
The band will be playing funk hits from the ‘70s including Superstition (Stevie Wonder), Brick House (The Commodores), and Jungle Boogie (Kool & The Gang), as well as a Groove Engine original, Gravy Train.
This revved-up band features a full rhythm section, three vocalists, and a five-piece horn section. It will be showcasing Laura Lebbon and Rachel Skinner on vocals, Michael Garding on alto sax, Colin Moorman on tenor sax, Stan Sabourin playing bari sax, Bruce Dougall on lead trumpet, Tim Benwell playing second trumpet, Neville Bowman on keys and vocals, Nick Garding on guitar, Brian Wiebe on bass, and Scott Gamble on drums.
Groove Engine was started in 2012 by band leader Michael Garding who took core members of Soul Funktion and added more local talent to create a larger group.
Garding studied jazz performance at Grant MacEwan College. He is the musical director of the 19-piece Michael Garding Big Band, which won Best Instrumental Artist/Group of the year at the 2006 Okanagan Music Awards. His love for working in large bands is evident with his involvement with Soul Funktion, a 12-piece funk band and The Salmon Armenians, a 10-piece R&B group. Garding has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Tommy Banks, Big Miller, BC Read, Dee Daniels, and Campbell Ryga.
Lebbon hails from London, England. She has experience performing in pop, jazz, soul, funk, and musical theatre. She is an experienced studio recording artist and has been featured in TV and radio commercials in the U.K.
Skinner has a particular love for musical theatre. She recently performed a variety of Broadway hits including Hopelessly Devoted (Grease) and On My Own (Les Miserables).
Although Moorman began as a jazz saxophonist with bands such as Cameo and The Robert Jay Trio, he later toured as a sideman to rock and roll legends Bobby Curtola and Buddy Knox. Throughout the years he has become a pop-rock musician playing guitar, saxophone, and vocals with groups such as Three Wild Mice, Borderline Blue, and Moni Funk and the Groovemachines.
Sabourin is a saxophonist, composer, and educator living in Penticton. Along with playing with Groove Engine, he also plays with Offramp and sits in occasionally for Penticton’s Thursday Night Jazz Band. His big band composition, Ozone, was featured in the fall 2011 edition of JAZZIZ magazine and has been included on a Washington State University publication of recorded jazz music called Zoot Suit.
Lead trumpet Dougall is a former member of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment Military Band and a current commercial lead trumpet player in local music groups. His debut trumpet solo album won Canadian Instrumental Album of the Year at the 30th annual Covenant Awards held in Calgary.
Benwell, who recently moved from England to the Okanagan, has performed with The London Concert Orchestra, The Bath Festival Orchestra, and The Millennium Jazz Orchestra to name but a few. He was a founding member of the EM Horns and has appeared on BBC Television’s long running Songs of Praise. Since moving to the area, Benwell has been a regular fixture with The Dreamland Band and has been a part of the Michael Garding Big Band, the Pops Orchestra, and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
Bowman is no stranger to the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club. His quartet was featured with vocalist Ali Henry earlier this month. Bowman has been a part of numerous multi-award winning bands including Just In Time, the Jazz Cafe Quartet, Ten2Nine, and the Michael Garding Big Band. He is also a successful arranger and composer and can be found performing in theatrical performances in the Okanagan.
Nick Garding is a musician who originally played drums and bass before he took up the guitar. He is a graduate of the performance program at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton.
Wiebe has performed live on local television and CBC Radio. He has toured North America and Europe and has performed or recorded with David Ruis, Andrew Smith, Daniel Powter, and Canadian rock legend Darby Mills. He continues to perform, record, and produce in a broad spectrum of genres with a variety of instruments. He plays ney flute, upright and electric bass, fretless bass, guitar, and keyboard.
Gamble is also a regular on the Vernon Jazz Club stage. This season he has played with both Julie Masi and Rann Berry and The Random Act. Gamble is comfortable in any genre and it is for this reason that he has worked with a variety of musicians both live and in the studio.
Groove Engine takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup and at www.vernonjazz.ca.
To listen to samples and like their page visit: facebook.com/grooveengineband