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Jazz At The Gallery

This series is now completed
Jazz at the Gallery 2016 

Jazz at the Gallery – 2016 -

 This years series is now completed

Thanks to all who attended these great musical afternoons.
..........Till next year


The U-JAM Society is pleased to partner with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to present outstanding west coast musicians in a series of Sunday afternoon concerts.  Presenting jazz in an intimate, acoustic setting,  allowing the audience the opportunity  to virtually “sit in” with the musicians, joining them in a dialogue about the music and the musicians who create it.   This year’s series features special tributes to the lives and music of four great legends that helped shape and re-define the art form we know as “jazz”. 


FOCUS MAGAZINE  March 1 2016 by Mollie Kaye

Paying homage to those who shaped jazz

Last call for this season’s Sunday afternoon “tribute” concerts at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

JAZZ IS A GENRE defined by collaboration, creativity, interaction, and improvisation. While attending any musical performance can counter the isolating effects of our screen-driven culture, jazz’s unique alchemy reliably provides a sense of being in the flow of creative energy. Performances are influenced by whatever is happening in the moment. The internal landscape of the musician’s mood and the external landscape of the space and spectators can inspire shifts in melodies, harmonies, repeats and time signature, providing a you-just-had-to-be-there experience which, like a dream, can be difficult to describe after the fact.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) hosts an annual series of intimate, Sunday afternoon jazz concerts in the lofty-ceilinged heritage splendour of the Spencer Mansion’s main floor rooms, perfect for those who crave intimate and inspiring jazz and a low-key, daytime venue. Organized by the Universal Jazz Advocates and Mentors (U-JAM) Society, these “chamber jazz” performances give acoustic musicians and small audiences a way to meaningfully connect.

Victoria-based professional pianist Dave Paulson is an original founder of U-JAM. He leads me through the “old” part of the AGGV and gestures to one of the elaborately-tiled fireplaces. “This is usually where we set up the band,” he says, his voice reverberating in the naturally vibrant acoustics of the light-filled space. When I mention how much the room echoes, he assures me that when the maximum-capacity crowd of 75 people gathers, the music sounds rich and clear.

There’s a cluster of three large rooms on the main floor, all conjoined, and not all 75 spectators can fit into the one the band plays in. Paulson gestures to the dark, wood-panelled foyer (the one with the grand spiral staircase) and confesses that this is his favourite spot to perch during a concert. The acoustics are quite different from the livelier front rooms, and Paulson confirms that sitting here makes the sound even clearer. If you aim for the foyer, you’ll still be able to see the band.

That is, if you can get in. These Sunday afternoon U-JAM concerts at the AGGV, which happen roughly monthly from January through April each year, are typically sold out, even thoughVictoria is a notoriously last-minute town (much to the chagrin of event organizers). Your best bet is to reserve as soon as you read this; there are two concerts left in the season. Both are in April, and both are sure to be popular.

First up is “Maureen Washington sings Carmen McRae,” with Karel Roessingh on piano and and Joey Smith on bass. Late jazz diva Carmen McRae’s “dramatic and nuanced readings of standards put her at the forefront of vocal jazz,” says Paulson. “One of the best ever,” raves vocalist Maureen Washington, who personally chose the artist to whom she wished to pay homage. “It was an easy choice for me. I love her approach to singing. She imparts her own style while staying true to the song.”

Washington, who hails originally from Prince George, is one of the most popular singers in Victoria, and for good reason. She won 2014 “Best Jazz and Soul Act” at the Black Canadian Awards, and her renditions of MacRae’s best-known songs, such as Dave Brubeck’s classic “Take Five” (performed with lyrics) are both lithe and rich, with a dynamically deep and soulful sound. Her local following is large, so this opportunity to hear her in a smaller venue will likely be a hot ticket.

The men backing her up have their own loyal fans as well. Joey Smith is arguably one of the best bass players in Canada, and has a jam-packed schedule performing with many other esteemed musicians in the region when he’s not backing up Washington. Karel Roessingh has star quality as an innovative pianist, composer, and veteran of film and TV scoring.

If you’re reading this too late to get in on the early-April action, there’s another concert later in the month: “Conversations with Bill Evans,” featuring Brent Jarvis on piano, bassist Ken Lister and drummer Hans Verhoeven. Bill Evans “helped re-define the sound of the jazz piano in the 1960s with a minimalist, introspective approach to the instrument,” says Paulson. “His early trio recordings were also unique in that they gave equal room for expression from the bass and drums, rather than being piano-centred.”

Jarvis, who chose Bill Evans as his tribute, hails from “the unlikely jazz hub of Port Alberni” and received a performance degree in Jazz Studies from Humber College. He’s also a producer and composer, one of many accomplished musicians who make their home here. “We’re really lucky with our musicians in Victoria,” Paulson says of this bounty of local talent.

A music educator as well as performer, Paulson helped found U-JAM 11 years ago with a mission to advocate, mentor and act as a resource for lovers of music. (Paulson is wary of defining “jazz” too specifically, except to say there is some kind of improvisation involved.) “We came together to envision a new society to bring together various resources and act as an accessory to what the Jazz Society was doing. They produce the Jazz Festival and many concerts, but the educational mandate was a way [U-JAM] could contribute.”

And educate they do. U-JAM’s “Young All-Stars” project meets every week. “We bring together kids ages 12-18 on Saturdays to rehearse with a mentor from the jazz community,” explains Paulson. There is a similar mentoring program for adults, who get together with others who may have skills on an instrument, but want to learn about playing collaboratively.

Rick Gibbs, a retired schoolteacher and amateur musician, came up with the idea for the gallery series to offer musicians and audiences a new way to interact. U-JAM approached the gallery with the idea of having a concert series in the winter, “and they were pretty enthusiastic about it,” Paulson says. U-JAM and the AGGV split the ticket proceeds. This is the series’ seventh year.

“On Sunday afternoon, you get a different crowd than those who would go to Hermann’s on a Friday night,” says Paulson. “You get admission to the gallery for the price of the ticket as well. We encourage people to visit the gallery during he interval.” Musicians play two sets with a 20-minute intermission, during which there is tea, juice, and a chance to chat up the musicians.

Paulson seeks to inspire and build community through these tribute concerts. “You don’t just sit and listen, but ask questions and interact with the performers, who share anecdotes. It’s more personal. You get a better knowledge of how the music was created and where it came from when you understand who the artist was and what they were dealing with in their life.”

Jazz at the Gallery: Sunday, April 3, 2 pm, “Maureen Washington sings Carmen McRae” with Karel Roessingh and Joey Smith. 

Sunday, April 24, 2 pm, “Conversations with Bill Evans” with the Brent Jarvis Trio. 

At the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Tickets (including admission to the Gallery’s exhibits) $35, with discounts available for AGGV and U-JAM members. Tickets at 250-384-4171 ext 0.

Writer and musician Mollie Kaye celebrates all the ways community is being built through collaboration, song and performance.

COMPLETED : we had a wonderful afternoon with Roy Styffe, sax and Friends, including Steve MacDonald on guitar, Ross MacDonald on bass, Kelby McNair on drums.


Feb28 - Oscar Peterson was indisputably Canada’s most famous jazz musician, known for his hard swinging style and virtuosic technique.  Pianist Miles Black has extensive experience in transcribing his performances and offers a wonderful afternoon of exciting music.

On April 3rd, we welcome vocalist Maureen Washington, along with Karel Roessingh and Joey Smith, to the stage to pay their respects to jazz diva Carmen McRae.  

 April 24 -To close out the series, we have engaged Brent Jarvis and his trio to visit the life and music of pianist Bill Evans.  Evans, who performed one of his last concerts in Victoria in 1980, created impressionistic sounds on the piano with his unique chord voicings,  introspective improvisations, and recreations of popular songs.


Sunday, January  31st ”The Sound”  – Roy Styffe and Friends visit the music of Stan Getz

 Sunday, February 28th  “The Life and Music of Oscar Peterson” with pianist Miles Black

 Sunday, April 3rd   - “Maureen Washington sings Carmen McRae” with Karel Roessingh and Joey Smith

 Sunday, April 24th  “Conversations with Bill Evans” – with the Brent Jarvis Trio 

Concerts are held at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on the last Sunday afternoon of each month at 2:00 p.m., from January through April 2015.   Individual tickets (including admission to the Gallery’s exhibits) are $35, with discounts available for AGGV and U-JAM members.  Series subscriptions, including best seats in the house, are only $100.00.   

 Tickets and information are available through the Gallery 

 call 250-384-4171 ext 1.

**Steinway Grand Piano graciously supplied by Tom Lee Music


Jazz at the Gallery 2016 -Jan; Roy Styffe

"Jazz at the Gallery" - 2015 


"Jazz at the Gallery" - last for the year. 
Rounding off a wonderful season, three perfect professionals
Jennifer Scott - Rene Worst - Bill Coon delighted our audience with some great standards and exciting Brazilian grooves. 

Jazz at the Gallery -'Quotes'

Q: How did you keep motivated as a young student?
Jennifer: "My push through all of that would have been the sheer love of the music - and - when you feel like you don't want to do anything else- then you know it's music for you"

Rene : "My father urged my to 'do it properly' ..so I went to UBC where I studied string bass [cos you couldn't study electric bass guitar.] If you have a good band teacher -thank them every day"

Bill:"There were tough years, but I focussed on the fun - my peers and some parents were into jazz. Go for the things you enjoy, play with those you like to play with and be inspired and motivated"

Audience member; "Oh - it's all about that voice - they are wonderful"


Another outstanding series awaits lucky music lovers in 2015 as U-JAM brings jazz to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria for a sixth year.  Concerts are held on the last Sunday afternoon of each month, from January through April 2015.   As in the past, the series draws on the great wealth of talented west coast musicians, presenting both familiar and fresh sounds in the elegant and intimate surroundings of the Spencer Mansion.

January 25 – “Jazz Bridges – Classical to Swing” with the George Essihos Trio

February 22 – “kNu Standers” with the Brooke Maxwell Trio

March 29 – “Blue Note Standards” – with the Dave Keen Quartet

April 26 - “From Brazil & Beyond” with Jennifer Scott & Friends

Individual tickets are $25 with discounts available for AGGV and U-JAM members, and include admission to the Gallery’s exhibits.
  Special subscriptions, including best seats in the house, are only $80.00 for the series.  Tickets and information are available through the AGGV by calling 250-384-4171 ext 1.


On March 29 is a quartet led by saxophonist Dave Keen with long-time collaborator Tony Genge on piano, paying homage to the “Blue Note Years”, a reference to the great jazz record label and the iconic music it produced in the 1940 – 1960’s.

Dave is Victoria’s version of XX, having hosted a private weekly jam session at his home for over 40 years.  Musicians that have attended have included the best of the best from the local music scene, many of whom have gone on to illustrious careers.  Moreover, his unflagging drive to pay consummate attention to recreating the music of the jazz greats that he emulates has offer a “school” to younger developing players. 


For the last in the series for 2015 U-JAM is importing Vancouver musicians Jennifer Scott, Rene Worst, and Bill Coon on April 26th for an afternoon of mesmerizing renditions of music from Brazil as well as some unexpected sources away from the traditional standard repertoire.

Jennifer Scott is a Vancouver-born vocalist and jazz pianist specializing in jazz, blues and world music. Jennifer is considered one of the most important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. From sold-out concerts in San Francisco to exclusive local club performances, Jennifer's performance experiences have been varied. Jennifer has appeared at Jazz Festivals all across Canada and in several of the United States. She has also appeared with such jazz luminaries as: Tommy Banks, Don Thompson, Kenny Wheeler, Skywalk, and Hugh Fraser, to name a few.

Jennifer Scott has appeared on Jazzbeat, Westcoast Performance, and CBC's Hot Air several times, and was selected to be featured on four separate CDs produced by the CBC. She has also appeared on several TV shows as a featured performer.

Interactive, Jennifer Scott's self-produced CD, was critically received and has sold more than 1500 copies independently. Jennifer had two subsequent releases: Something to Live By, featuring Jennifer on Vocals, Bob Murphy on Piano, and Rene Worst on bass; and Live at Monk's featuring Jennifer's vocals and her debut as a recorded jazz pianist. Rene Worst is, again, featured on bass; and multi-reedist Tom Keenlyside is also featured.

Jennifer is pianist/vocalist for San Francisco-based Novo Tempo, a Brazilian/jazz Fusion group featuring the music of Ed Johnson. She has recorded 2 CDs and toured extensively with this group, including dates at Dizzy's in San Diego and Catalina's in Los Angeles. She was featured with jazz legend Clark Terry, performing with him at the Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver.

After a few years of performing and traveling, Jennifer returned to the studio to record her fourth CD, Emotional Girl. Produced by her husband, Rene Worst, this CD showcases Jennifer's expanded emotional, performing, and creative ranges.

Jennifer and Rene then teamed up with SF Bay Area saxophonist Kristen Strom, guitarist Scott Sorkin, and drummer Jason Lewis to form Crossing Borders, a new international jazz group that performs and records music from the heart, whether an artful reworking of a standard or a new take on a classic pop tune.

More recent studio work has seen her align her vocal talents with the piano brilliance of Miles Black in the CD release Storybook.

Jennifer Scott has also been involved in many New Music and Theatre productions. Jennifer was nominated for a Jessie Award for her performance in The War of the Worlds (Rumble Productions) by Alex Ferguson and Peter Hannan, and was critically acclaimed for her performance in The Gang (Vancouver and Toronto) by Tom Cone and Peter Hannan. Jennifer is a featured performer at the 2004 Glenn Gould Studio Concert Concert Series in Toronto (televised by CBC).

As a side man, Jennifer's vocals have been critically lauded on the past four Juno-nominated recordings by Mythos. Jennifer's vocals are prominent on their hit single, November.

Jennifer Scott is in demand as an educator and clinician both in the United States and Canada, and has taught and created many workshops and college courses.

Scott has set herself apart from the jazz-vocalist pack with her mesmerizing renditions of the most unlikely tunes ... With her warm, flexible contralto, Scott brings a striking emotional intelligence to everything she sings, no matter what the context. As much a song stylist as an improviser, she puts her stamp on material through her supple sense of swing and deft, slippery phrasing.
- Andrew Gilbert, The Seattle Times

She applies a velvet tone and superb phrasing to material including Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, Brazilian tunes and jazz standards.
- LA Times Calendar's Calendar

Vancouver's Jennifer Scott is a supremely resourceful singer who should be far better known. Co-led by San Jose reed expert Kristen Strom, Crossing Borders features guitarist Scott Sorkin and bassist Rene Worst. The highly sympathetic collaborators make this an ideal showcase for Scott's startlingly inventive, emotionally taut vocals.
- Andrew Gilbert, The Mercury News

This voice immediately arrested my hearing and said, 'Wake up, listen up, sit down, and listen to this lady 'til she's finished singing.' A very pure, a very flexible voice--a voice made to sing jazz ... Jennifer Scott definitely has great time and a very flexible voice.
- Katie Malik, CBC Jazzbeat

Vancouver vocalist/pianist Jennifer Scott...(is) a force of nature, an artist unafraid to take risks. Her big, warm contralto sounded in top form on Charlie Chaplin’s "Smile" and an up-tempo version of "Just In Time" that climaxed with several thrilling scat choruses. Most audaciously, she transformed Lesley Gore's hit "It's My Party" into a tortured torch song. Scott is the kind of singer who you want to tackle your favorite songs, just to hear what she might do with them.
- Andrew Gilbert, JazzTimes.com

Rene Worst has been a professional bassist since 1971. His virtuostic and supportive bass playing has been a Canadian treasure for many years on both acoustic and electric basses. He is as gifted on fretless as he is on acoustic - a rarity in the industry. Rene was educated both in Canada and the US. Rene Worst is one of the founding members of the noted fusion band "Skywalk" and has anchored and produced six recordings with them. He is also a highly regarded Producer.

Born in Ifar, New Guinnea in 1954, he moved to Canada with his family in 1960, settling on the West Coast where he grew up and went to school. At an early age he showed an aptitude for music, in particular Jazz bass, and it wasn’t long before he was out establishing himself as a leading jazz bassist performing with the likes of:

  • Alice Stuart
  • Chet Baker
  • David Bowie
  • Poison
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt
  • Aerosmith
  • Dr. Hook
  • Skywalk
  • Rita MacNeil
  • Jennifer Scott
  • Ernestine Anderson
  • Mark Murphy
  • Freddie Hubbard
  • Joe Pass
  • Herb Ellis
  • Norm Foote
  • Rick Scott
  • Carolyn Arends
  • Ferron
  • Phoebe Snow
  • Beverly D'Angelo
  • John Handy
  • Paul Horn
  • Glass Tiger
  • Buddy Greco
  • Shari Ulrich
  • Martha Reeves
  • Sheena Easton
  • Ed Johnson
  • Joe Pass
  • Gene Bertoncini
  • Barney Kessel
  • Eddie Harris
  • Rene Rosnes
  • Jack Sheldon
  • Jessica Williams
  • Rachel Z
  • Tommy Banks
  • P.J. Perry
  • Larry Correll
  • Bud Shank
  • John Faddis
  • Don Thompson


Background of Jazz At the Gallery

Since 2010, U-JAM, in association with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, has presented a series of four concerts by local and regional jazz musicians and combos in the intimate setting of the Art Gallery. “This inspired partnership doubles the creative genius that is present in our community, presenting the improvisational flourish of great jazz musicians in remarkable surroundings", states U-JAM past-President Barry Gough.  The series has won a coveted “M Award” from Monday Magazine for the “Best Multi-Media Event” in Greater Victoria.  For more information contact Linda Billings lindabillings@shaw.ca


Local and regional jazz musicians and their combos that have performed in the past include: 

2014:  Damian Graham Trio, Al Pease and His Hothouse Trio, Miranda Sage and Phil Dwyer, Oliver Gannon and Ian McDougall

2013:  Phil Dwyer, Melinda Whitaker, Photo Realists featuring Nick LaRiviere, the Great Guitars (Rob Cheramy, Quinn Bachand, Bill Coon)

2012:  Joe Coughlin, Tony Westlake, Joey Smith, Gord Clements

2011:  Ian McDougall and Oliver Gannon, Louise Rose, Miles Black, Daniel Lapp

2010:  Mark Atkinson, Ian McDougall, Kelby MacNayr, Marianne Trudel

Thanks to Barb McDougall for the photo below, taken at the April 27, 2014 JATG concert.

Steinway Grand Piano provided courtesy of Tom Lee Music