Renowned trumpeter Lennart Axelsson leads a quintet of Okanagan-based jazz musicians at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Renowned trumpeter Lennart Axelsson leads a quintet of Okanagan-based jazz musicians at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Jazz friends are led by world-class trumpeter

Music fans have an incredible opportunity  to hear the stellar jazz stylings of world-class jazz trumpet master Lennart Axelsson with Neil Fraser and friends at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday. 

Music fans have an incredible opportunity  to hear the stellar jazz stylings of world-class jazz trumpet master Lennart Axelsson with Neil Fraser and friends at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Inspired by the theme “A Touch of Europe,” fans will be treated to a smorgasbord of European compositions with a substantial serving of North American standards.

European compositions include the Swedish Northern Light and Summer Night in Gottland, Edith Piaf’s signature tune La Vie en Rose, and Django Reinhardt’s famed Nuages.

North American favourites include On the Street Where You Live, Take the A Train, Body and Soul, and You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.

Axelsson and Fraser’s friends represent some of the Okanagan Valley’s finest talent: Bjorn Edblad on clarinet, Don Ross on piano, Bill Lockie on bass, and drummer Brian Pratt-Johnson.

Swedish-born trumpeter Axelsson is world renowned as a master of the high-notes and a brilliant improviser, at ease in any genre.

“My style is very broad,” said Axelsson. “I’ve played just about everything: early jazz, swing, contemporary, big band, Latin, bebop, and even rock.”

Axelsson has been performing since his early teens.

“At an early age my dad started teaching me jazz standards and improvisation. I learned fast and ended up playing dances and concerts already at the age of 13,” said Axelsson.

During his long career, Axelsson has performed with Harry Mancini, Chet Baker, Bill Horman, and Toots Thielemann, and sat in with the Count Basie, Buddy Rich, and Quincy Jones orchestras.

As a member of the James Last Orchestra, Axelsson played on more than 100 of Last’s recordings, many of which went gold in Europe.

Axelsson is also putting the finishing touches on his own Internet trumpet school, Power Trumpet, catering to the advanced trumpet player.

Axelsson is excited about his West Coast debut.

“I’m looking forward to meeting and  playing with local musicians. I have been told that the quality of them is very high,” said Axelsson.

Well known at the VJC, guitarist Fraser calls his fellow musicians “some of my favourite people,” and he is anticipating an evening of musical collaboration.

“I especially like the collaboration that happens as a band spontaneously creates an arrangement of a tune that combines the individual styles of all the players.”

Clarinetist Edblad took his considerable skills abroad this year.

“My musical highlight this year is playing in Sweden with the Swedish Military Band and two jazz concerts with Lennart Axelsson and jazz accordion player Eskil Columbus,” said Edblad.

Pianist Ross has been playing mainly with the Cactus Jazz Band from Penticton and Kelowna.

“I really look forward to playing with a world-class musician like Lennart at the VJC,” said Ross.

A recent highlight for bassist Lockie is playing in the newly formed Gadjology, a gypsy-style four-piece band in Salmon Arm.  He’s also looking forward to gigging with Axelsson and the rest of the band.

Pratt-Johnson has been co-hosting the Jazz Nights at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery for the last two years. Recent highlights include gigging with band-mate Ross.

Lennart Axelsson, with Neil Fraser and friends, takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st. St. upstairs) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $20 ($15 for jazz society members) at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup.