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At the Avalanche Bar & Grill 275 8th Street, Courtenay

February 2nd at 7:30pm

Larry Ayre Blues Trio + 1

Members $10 - non members $12

Larry Ayre was born in Montreal, and he became interested in playing music in the 1960s. In a recent interview, he told me, "The music of the time was dominated by the hits of the Beatles, but local bands always started out playing blues because that was what you could play. Bands like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton) were very popular." With his brother's band set up and practicing in the basement of the family home, he also experimented with guitar, bass and piano.

His brother-in-law introduced him to Bebop and Larry became interested in exploring the origins of the many different styles of jazz and blues. He continued, "They are all closely interwoven, and learning to play the blues form has always been an indispensable jumping off point to learn how to improvise music. In many instances jazz and blues share a common melodic vocabulary, and they always have shared the same rhythms."

In the late 1970s Larry went on to learn the basics of jazz guitar playing while attending the York University jazz program in Toronto. He lived in Vancouver for a decade, playing many gigs in different styles and honing his musical skills on guitar, bass and harmonica. He moved to the Comox Valley in 1990. He was leader of The Larry Ho Blues Show and then went on to lead Larry Ho's Jive Five. As 2Jive Larry and his wife, award winning songwriter Marki Nickerson, went on to produce an EP of original material. You can hear some of their songs on Larry's website www.larryayreguitarist.com.

The Larry Ayre Blues Trio features Larry on guitar, harmonica and vocals. Greg Hill plays drums and Paul Stephens completes the rhythm section on bass. Greg hosted a popular jazz jam in Campbell River at the Willows pub for many years; that was where Greg and Larry met, playing jazz in one of the several incarnations of The Blue Monks. They have played many gigs together over the decades, getting tighter as they have explored both their jazz and blues favorites.

Paul Stephens is an extremely accomplished bassist and vocalist who grew up in Comox Valley. He was an original member of the band Comox, that recorded the album Comox and Friends in 1974. He recently has moved back to the North Island after a successful musical career in Whitehorse that spanned 4 decades. Larry added, "His lead vocals and harmonies are a fantastic addition to the group, and he is a rock-solid bassist."

Joining the Trio as a special guest for this gig is renowned saxman Darryl 'Spider' Webb on tenor and alto horns. Darryl is a fellow Montrealer who played his first gig there at the age of twelve. Since then he has enjoyed a long and successful career wailing on his saxophones at countless gigs in both Canada and the United States.

Please browse the Calendar page of the website to see the full line-up of acts between now and the end of May to discover the amazing range of performances you can experience without leaving the Comox Valley. We really have become a jazz destination for many out-of-town artists, and you have the opportunity to expose yourself to live jazz on a weekly basis. You'll be glad you did.

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