Jazz courses through singer’s veins

See Amanda Morazain’s name in lights when she takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday

Jazz singer Amanda Morazain brings her band of highly respected Okanagan musicians to the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

You may have seen her name as a byline in these pages, and now you’re about to see Amanda Morazain’s name in lights when she takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

A contributor to The Morning Star, who normally promotes the musicians coming to perform at the jazz club, Morazain herself  is an accomplished singer and performer.

Backed by well-known Okanagan musicians, and jazz club regulars, Nelville Bowman on piano, Bernie Addington on bass, Craig Thomson on sax and Scott Gamble on drums, Morazain will be tantalizing jazz fans with standards including Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie), Something’s Got a Hold On Me (Etta James), and Charade (Johnny Mercer) as well as some more modern songs such as If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys) and Toxic (Britney Spears).

“You’ll also be hearing Latin tunes by Brazilian composer/pianist Antônio “Tom” Carlos Jobim,” said Morazain “It’s actually going to be my husband Mathew’s birthday the night of the gig. I have him to thank for introducing me to Jobim.”

Morazain was initially introduced to music through her grandparents.

“They used to take me to watch musicals all the time when I was growing up. They also had a huge collection of movies that I watched on a regular basis like State Fair, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Meet Me in St. Louis,” she said.I would love to sing and dance along to my favourite songs while they were playing.”

Morazain later attended a government-funded secondary school for the arts, where she studied voice.

“I first started to train vocally in musical theatre and classical.  It wasn’t until I was about 18 that I realized that all of those musical theatre songs that I had loved while growing up had been turned in to jazz standards,” she said. “I fell in love with Ella Fitzgerald in particular and went to Toronto’s Humber College to study vocal jazz. Years later I still have my heart strings pulled by Ella, Chet Baker, Astrud Gilberto, and Lhasa de Sela.”

Since moving to the Okanagan, Morazain has been an adjudicator, workshop clinician, and performer at the BC Interior Jazz Festival.

Her debut album, Pathway, featuring Thomson, Bowman, Addington, Gamble as well as Loni Moger and Michael Garding, was nominated for the B.C. Interior Music Award’s Best Jazz Album of the Year in 2009 and was suggested as a great gift for the holidays by CBC Radio’s Tonic.

When not writing or performing, Morazain also teaches approximately 70 private students a week at Wentworth Education Centre in Kelowna.

“I started teaching privately when I went to Humber and have been doing it pretty much ever since,” said Morazain, who also teaches Zumba, a Latin-based dance fitness class, in Kelowna.

Morazain has  performed alongside her students at sold-out shows in the Kelowna Community Theatre and at Prospera Place for the B.C. Summer Games. The busy mother of two young girls is also in the process of getting her bachelor of arts in psychology.

Well known throughout the B.C. Interior as an accompanist, composer and arranger for other artists, as well as his work in theatre, Bowman is a former member of the award winning Just In Time trio, and indie rock group Ten2Nine.

He can be seen performing at numerous venues in the Okanagan, solo, with members of the highly respected Jazz Café band and with the new phenomenal funk project, Groove Engine.

Bowman wrote the music for two original stage productions in 2014, as well as an original commissioned work for Ballet Kelowna called Redux Continuum.

Addington began composing, performing and recording in 1983. From 1989 to ‘91, he studied jazz at the Vancouver Community College School of Music, majoring in performance and acoustic bass. While there, he studied under the renowned bassist Rick Kilburn.

Since completing his studies, Addington has enjoyed a successful career as a freelance musician and private instructor.  He has played extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. Over the years, he has recorded with numerous artists as a session musician.

Since moving to the Okanagan, Addington continues to play and record throughout the Interior as a first-call musician and band leader.

Thomson is a well-respected teacher and clinician. He runs the band program at Mount Boucherie Secondary School in West Kelowna and also organizes the B.C. Interior Jazz Festival and  the Thursday night jazz jams, which take place on a weekly basis at the Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts.

In 2013, Thomson was recognized with an Okanagan Arts Award for his contribution to music.

He has also accompanied Ali Henry and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne at the Vernon Jazz Club.

As a versatile drummer, Gamble is in high demand for both live and studio work and plays many genres in multiple bands. He was named musician of the year at the 2006 B.C. Interior Music Awards and is also a successful graphic artist.

Gamble has played with Dee Daniels, Bill King, and Carol Welsman as well as pop artists Daniel Powter and Greg Sczebel. He has been on the Vernon Jazz Club stage numerous times with bands Groove Engine, Rann Berry and the Random Act, and Julie Masi.

Morazain and the band  are at the Vernon Jazz Club, 3000 31st St., Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup, and at www.vernonjazzclub.ca.


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