Set your fingers snapping to the up-tempo beat of Sandy Cameron’s Dixieland All-Stars as they lay down some hot jazz at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.
Playing his signature sax and clarinet, jazz master Cameron will be joined by all-stars Terry Kosowick on trumpet, Gord Waters on trombone, Jim Johnston on keys and bass, and Doug Grant on drums.
The band’s repertoire features several standard Dixieland songs like Basin Street Blues, Muskrat Ramble, and Do You Miss New Orleans, as well as many lesser known but great tunes.
The Dixieland All-Stars play their own version of traditional Dixieland.
“The form our music takes is derived from the 1920s and on,” said Cameron. “A melody is stated, usually by the trumpet, while the other instruments noodle or improvise a background for the lead.”
Each instrument improvises based on the stylistic motifs of the era.
“The clarinet wails around in the high register, the trombone glissandos, and the drummer plays certain patterns while featuring a repertoire of Dixie tricks like the cowbell and sticks on the woodblock or snare drum rim,” explained Cameron.
A retired teacher from the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district, Cameron has almost 60 years of performing under his belt, starting with Arthur Delamont’s Kitsilano Boys’ Band.
“I was drawn into the world of jazz by my father. His influence gave me an early appreciation of jazz music. We both loved the saxophone, although he started me out on the clarinet,” said Cameron.
This year, Cameron has been organizing jazz concerts for the Salmon Arm art gallery and arts council at the wonderful SAGA Public Art Gallery.
“We’ve hosted many local musicians, including some outstanding high school and university students as well as out- of-town players from Toronto, Vancouver, Kelowna, Vernon, and Kamloops,” said Cameron.
Cameron also made his third appearance at Penticton’s annual Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival with The Cactus Jazz Band. Even with this busy schedule, he still makes time to freelance with small groups as leader or sideman.
Trumpet player Kosowick is the group’s youngest member. He teaches at the Okanagan University Salmon Arm campus. A former jazz student at Capilano College, Kosowick also arranges and plays piano.
Newly retired from his longtime position as fine arts/music coordinator for the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district, trombonist Waters also gigs with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
Johnston has a unique performing style. He “splits” his electric keyboard so he can play bass with his left hand while playing chords and melodies with the right. He is active in a party/dance band from Kamloops, plays sax in the Salmon Arm town band, and teaches piano and music theory.
Fresh from the Grant family’s recent appearance at the VJC, drummer Grant brings 60 years of solid drumming to the band.
“His musical experience is vast and we’re lucky to have Doug as our timekeeper,” said Cameron.
Cameron is confident the Dixieland All-Stars have the ear of Vernon’s jazz fans.
“I’m looking forward to a full house at the VJC this Saturday,” he declared.
Saturday’s show at the Vernon Jazz Club, 3000-31st St., starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $20 ($15 for jazz society members) available at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup.