Saturday, May 9, 2009

2009_05_08 The Haven Social Club

When the Haven opened a while ago, it wasn't long before I heard good things. But I did wonder. It's located out on Stony Plain Road and 150th, not in the downtown, nor Stratchona - where the arts thrive in Edmonton. The club is in a basement - but maybe that's a bit of a tradition for music clubs.

I dropped in last July and had a blast listening to Ken Stead and Mike Ehlers, with lots of friends.

I'm happpy to see that the haven has not only managed to keep alive, but has grown to be one of Edmonton's favorite music haunts, with scheduled shows ranging from up&comers like Joe Nolan, to Juno nominated Souljah Fyah.

Last night, a triple bill, with Matt Epp, Ann Vriend, and the Bop Ensemble. And there was lots of mixing and matching throughout the night. Wykham Porteous, of the Bop Ensemble was also the host and MC. Ann Vriend gave some keyboard support to Matt Epp, Bill Bourne gave some guitar support to Ann Vriend, and by the end of the evening, it seemed everyone had done something with everyone else. And of course there was even a bit of audience participation. To tell you the truth, even with picutres, I sort of lost track of 'who was on first'.

As I edited and posted photos today, Ann's "St. Paul" went viral on me, sticking in my head every time I saw her in a photo. I went over to the Bop Ensemble's web page to remind myself of the beautiful 'Green River Girl' and heard some interesting vocals from Jas that I hadn't heard last night - I missed the second set. Matt Epp got me thinking. Well written, interesting tunes, good stage presence and patter.

And of course there was Bill Bourne, with his guitar and sounding board. Smiling like that cheshire cat. I know Bill has been working with Wykham for a while - it's good to hear the results of that collaboration. A pleasant mix of folk, pop, and just plain good music, mixed up with Jasmine's stage antics, fun to listen and fun to watch as well. And Wykham Porteous, brilliant songwriter having a great time haming it up with the barefoot Jas.

I had planned to drop by some other venues later in the evening, but the Haven held me - the excellent house beer and salted nuts didn't hurt either.

The Haven
Photos Matt Epp Slideshow Ann Vriend Slideshow Bop Ensemble Slideshow

The Bop Ensemble
Ann Vriend
Matt Epp

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jazz at the CopperPot: Dan Skakun Trio

There's a new jazz venue in town. After the closing of Four Rooms, the local restaurant jazz scene has moved over to the CopperPot. I'd heard about it in my travels, but didn't get a chance to visit until last Wednesday. Dropped by for dinner and jazz.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge as it is a busy area of one-way streets. However, without too much hassle, we found our way in and were seated near the music - after saying hello to many friends. hmmm... feels like home already.

The CopperPot sits on the edge of the river valley, a perfect place to watch sunsets as the seasons change. And the Dan Skakun trio, with Jim Head on guitar and Thom Golub on bass, provided a perfect auditory counterpoint to the view. The food was superb, although a tad more expensive than Four Rooms, and the service was excellent. Of course there is a bar, where you can have a drink and a listen if you don't feel like dining.

The CopperPot features jazz on Wednesday evenings. Check out their schedule. Upcoming shows include Jeff Hendrick, Charlie Austin, Chris Andrew and Don Berner.

Photos . Slideshow

Sunday, May 3, 2009

2009_05_03 Pretty Talented at the Blue Chair

Sunday morning brunch at the Blue Chair is generally time for jazz, or classical music. How about a 'Pretty Talented' brother and sister duo, who create their own music on stacked keyboards, vocals and an electric drum kit?

Harold had warned me in advance - these two are worth a listen. Jim Findlay, who often hosts Sunday morning jazz at the Blue Chair, is looking over his shoulder - these kids are coming up fast.

Luke and Tess Pretty live in Edmonton and have played at the Strathcona Farmer's Market, the Carrot Cafe - and now the Blue Chair. What's next?

Luke plays keyboards and sings, Tess on drums (although they to switch over for some tunes). During the break - Luke is outside on the skateboard.

The music was well chosen, suited to the venue and the time of day. The crowd attentive, and the musicians professional. I am looking forward to watching, and hearing - Luke and Tess grow musically as they hit thier teens.

Luke and Tess Pretty
Photos Slideshow
Blue Chair Cafe

Friday, May 1, 2009

2009_04_30 Craig Korth and Friends at CKUA

CKUA, the best radio station in the known, and unknown universes, is currently running their spring fundraising campaign - and you truly never know what might happen next. Last night, Craig Korth brought a bunch of bluegrass buddies into a studio for some live-to-air music and (of course) pun-ishment.

Having visited the studio many times, I was having a hard time visualizing where they were all standing as I drove in to get some photos. And you can see why in the pictures. There is no space. Five musicians standing around a large mike in a studio/CD Library, Lionel Rault at the controls counting down, and let's GO!

David Ward took the bus up from Calgary to provide the vocals. Craig and Lionel exchanged plain (or was it plane) and fancy puns, and let loose with real 'live music' on the radio. The phone room was crowded with volunteers, staff, friends and family giving a listen. The musicians, all solid provided a 'professional' performance, 'off the cuff'. I head David musing earlier in the afternoon that he needed to learn the words to a new song, because they were performing it in the evening.

Have you made your donation to CKUA yet? CKUA is real radio, music provided by real music people, actually get to choose what they play. Radio worth paying for.

Call 1-800-494-2582 to donate, or go to thier website