Sunday, May 21, 2023

Jazz Banjo

 I have been having so much fun with my friends on monday nights at the Rex this month. These three musicians are so skilled and so open to trying new things it is a real treat. 

Aline Homzy on violin surprises me every week. I have had to stop playing a couple times I was so excited by what she was playing. If you don't know bassist Andrew Downing you may live under a rock. He is a multiple Juno winner, incredible bassist and fantastic composer, arranger, bandleader (and teacher!) Kelsley Grant might be the least obvious person to have in a string-band since he plays trombone however he is so good on that instrument and so fun to play music with he is certainly one of the great things about this group. 

Finding five mondays in a row where we were all available is quite something. I have not taken any of it for granted and I keep bringing new tunes every week and tweaking the arrangements of others. tommmorw, May 22 will be no exception as I am bringing a new chart inspired by Irish traditional music that I have written as well as a re-write of an old tune called Gamesroom and a slight variation on the Zappa riffs we improvised on last week. 

5-string banjo is not the.  banjo that was around when banjo was big at the beginning of jazz with the Louis Armstrong Hot Five, Fletcher Henderson, Jelly Roll Morton etc. but it is basically the same. Interestingly, Johnny St. Cyr played a 6 string banjo with Louis Armstrong. Did you know that he died the same year I was born. (kinda cool right!?)

I am considering naming this group Bonestrung! I think it is a better name than Jazz Banjo. Especially since a lot of what we play might be a stretch to call jazz. Some of it is most certainly jazz. Shout out to Tom Tytel at the Rex for booking us. I am a believer in an eclectic calendar at a jazz club or festival and eclectic we are! Go Jazz! Go Rex! Go Canada!


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