The Cookers’ Ryan Oliver

The Cookers’ Ryan Oliver

The Cookers serve up hard boppin’ jazz

Get out of the kitchen and down to the Vernon Jazz Club when The Cookers serve up an evening of straight-ahead hard-bop this Saturday.

Get out of the kitchen and down to the Vernon Jazz Club when The Cookers serve up an evening of straight-ahead hard-bop this Saturday.

Formed in March 2010, the quintet is an exciting ensemble of some of Canada’s finest jazz musicians.

Bandmates are Ryan Oliver on tenor sax, Tim Hamel on the trumpet, and Richard Whiteman on piano, with “rhythm pals” Alex Coleman on bass and Joel Haynes on drums.

Informed by the hard-bop tradition of the ‘50s and ‘60s, The Cookers’ repertoire includes accessible original music and tunes by Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, and Horace Silver.

Originals include Oliver’s Mudbug Shuffle about a questionable “culinary experience” in New Orleans and Coleman’s Obligatory Blues, a boogaloo blues tune inspired by the Blue Note era of jazz.

Their debut CD, The Cookers: Vol. 1, was released in 2011 to critical acclaim.

A Juno-nominated musician, Oliver performs with various other bands including Organic, a B3 organ jazz combo featuring Bernie Serensky, and The Shuffle Demons, with whom he has toured India, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., and Canada.

A B.C. boy, Oliver first got into jazz in his Williams Lake hometown.

“When I was 15, I heard a recording by the great John Coltrane and was immediately drawn to the sound and spirit of the music, and the saxophone in particular,” said Oliver

Fortunately, Oliver had just the right teacher to nurture his interest.

“I was lucky that a great saxophone player and teacher named Michael Butterfield had moved to Williams Lake,” said Oliver.  “Michael introduced me to the world of jazz and the saxophone, and provided me with extensive bandstand experience.”

At ease in many genres, Oliver includes jazz greats John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Sonny Stitt among his musical influences.

“My approach to musical collaboration is simple: listen, project, swing hard, learn tunes, and play within the music. This approach allows me to play with a wide variety of groups, from straight ahead standard jazz, to the eclectic music of The Shuffle Demons, to the electric blues-rock of Derek Miller’s Bliss Fiasco,” said Oliver.

Hamel is one of Toronto’s most in demand trumpeters. He was featured on aboriginal blues artist Derek Miller’s most recent recording with Willie Nelson and legendary blues rhythm section Double Trouble.

One of Canada’s top-shelf pianists, Whiteman brings to the stage an encyclopedic knowledge of the jazz repertoire, embodying the spirit of the musicians The Cookers love. Whiteman is also an educator, teaching jazz piano and leading ensembles at both Humber College and York University in Toronto.

Coleman maintains a busy performing and recording schedule in Toronto as one of the city’s dynamic young bass players. He leads and arranges for Tonight at Noon, an eight-piece group that performs the music of bassist and composer Charles Mingus.

Haynes is one of the hardest swinging drummers across the land, performing with artists like Seamus Blake, Russell Malone, Peter Frampton, Gino Vanelli, and Rob McConnell.

The Cookers’ tour is made possible by a grant from The Canada Council for the Arts.

The Cookers take 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. Tickets are $20, available at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup coffee houses or at