The Vernon Jazz Club will get a sweet treat of blues this Saturday night when Juno-award winning Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne takes the stage.
Wayne will be joined by local jazz cats Craig Thomson on tenor sax, Les Copeland on guitar, Cam Ward on bass, and John Modder on drums.
The night’s music will include songs such as Caledonia (Louie Jordan), Blueberry Hill, I’m Walkin’ (Fats Domino), Georgia on My Mind, and Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles) as well as some originals.
Wayne grew up in San Francisco with a father who was a minister. Naturally his musical path began in gospel but veered towards blues after a trip to Spain where his audience kept requesting it.
When people started commenting on how Wayne’s stylings reminded them of great blues legends such as Charles Brown, Roosevelt Sykes, and Fats Domino, he knew that he had to continue on with their legacy.
When speaking of his music, Wayne describes it as being sophisticated blues.
“My style isn’t just one genre. It is a mixture of blues, boogie, and swing. I call it sophisticated blues… blues which is a little bit dressed up.”
His music is not the only thing that is dressed up. Any person who has the opportunity to witness Wayne live will notice his sharp, bright, colourful suits.
“It’s nice to have the guys sit down and have a suit. You know, show respect to the piano. That’s where my heart’s at,” he said.
This year has proved to be a busy year for Wayne filled with touring to parts of California, Quebec, France, Argentina, and Switzerland. He will be recording his next album in Vancouver this fall followed by another in December, which is a tribute to blues legend Fats Domino.
Thomson recently released his debut album of originals, Bright Beginnings. He co-hosts the Live After 5 Jazz Jam at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna, an open jam for students and professionals alike. Thomson is an organizer of the B.C. Interior Jazz Festival and was this year’s recipient of the Okanagan Arts music award from the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan.
Copeland has performed with blues greats such as Honeyboy Edwards, Jimmie D. Lane, and Sonny Rhodes. Earlier this year he attended the International Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto and will be traveling to Sweden to perform in the fall.
Ward can be heard playing on albums throughout the Valley. He won the Scorpion Entertainment’s Award for Best Jazz three years in a row and can be heard playing with Copeland at their regular gig at the Bourbon Street Bar and Grill.
Modder is semi-retired but is always ready to play with great blues musicians such as Wayne, Sherman Doucette, Copeland, and Phat Betty.
About Wayne, Modder says: “He is very accomplished technically and in terms of entertainment value he has great stage presence.”
Kenny Blues Boss Wayne takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup and at www.vernonjazz.ca.
Note: The Vernon Jazz Society will be holding its annual general meeting Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. This meeting is open to the general public and will be held at the Vernon Jazz Club.