Sax players Alex Szibbo Craig Carmody and Alex Barss

Sax players Alex Szibbo Craig Carmody and Alex Barss

Legendary Lake Monsters have horns aplenty

Deep from Okanagan Lake arise the Legendary Lake Monsters, grooving and swinging their way to the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Deep from Okanagan Lake arise the Legendary Lake Monsters, grooving and swinging their way to the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Brainchild of Rod MacDonald, upright and electric bass, Al Szeliga, trumpet and flugelhorn, and Craig Carmody, sax and flute, the Legendary Lake Monsters is a high energy 11-piece band with an amazing six-piece horn section.

“We wanted a name that was reflective of the whole Okanagan Valley and the size of the band – something unique and memorable. The legend of the monster in Okanagan Lake predates the arrival of the Europeans in the area and is recognized throughout Canada,” said MacDonald.  “And besides, we didn’t want to call ourselves The Ogopogos.”

The band covers a wide range of styles including swing, salsa, Latin, rock, pop, and R&B.

“We choose songs that use integral horn arrangements to create a dynamic and lush sound combined with a definitive groove in the rhythm section, including tunes from artists like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Louis Prima, The Mambo Kings, Gloria Estefan, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, and James Brown, to name a few,” said MacDonald. “We play music that’s fun for everybody!”

The band is preparing some special songs for the evening.

“The VJC is a great venue that’s hosted a lot of great players over the years, so we’re looking forward to becoming a small part of the history of the club.  We’ve been working on a few arrangements especially for the club, including Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke,” said MacDonald.

Naturally, a band this size takes some organization.

“This past year has been busy putting together the Legendary Lake Monsters. It’s very difficult rehearsing a band this large. It takes a lot of patience and discipline to keep it moving and paying attention to the details,” said MacDonald.

Nevertheless, the Legendary Lake Monsters team up to create their dynamic sound.

“Our approach to music is collaborative with everyone having input into the songs, the arrangements, the dynamics, etc. It’s important to all of us not to be boxed in by genre, leading to some unlikely tunes like The B-52s’ Love Shack being group faves,” said MacDonald.

The band is also one of the new local acts to take the Funtastic Music Festival stage this summer.

Musicians in the Mark Rose Big Band, MacDonald, Szeliga, and Carmody were playing together in a few jazz side projects before putting together their roster of talented local musicians in March 2012.

MacDonald has been involved in several recording projects over the past year and acoustic country-blues trio Steel Wound.

“I prefer to play across a wide range of genres,” said MacDonald.

Besides playing trumpet with the band, Szeliga performs classical music with Kelowna organist Sandra Fletcher and guests.

No stranger to the VJC, Carmody lends his talents to Kath and the TomKats in addition to the Mark Rose Big Band.

The remaining band members are Alex Barss, sax, Steve Durant, keyboard and vocals, Paul May, guitar, timbales, and vocals, Dave McDonald, trumpet, Brian McMahon, trombone and timbales, Caren Miller, vocals and percussion, Rennie Sirianni, drums, and Alex Szibbo, sax.

Don’t miss this season’s hot last gig.

The Legendary Lake Monsters take the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $20 in advance at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup Coffee Houses or at