The Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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

March 17th at 7:30 pm -Allison Au Quartet

Admission is $10 for society members, $12 for non-members.

On March 1st, the Comox Valley Record printed a full page featuring our achievements over our ten year history. You can read it on line at Comox Valley Record - Jazzing It Up. The article, though praiseworthy, neglected to mention that it is the many, hardworking volunteers that make this society the success it is today. Board members such as Anne Lawrie, weekly organizes the volunteer schedule made up of sound men, setup and take down crew, front door greeters, photographers and emcees. Bill Street wrangles with scheduling bands and Jackie Holt keeps tabs on our finances. Well done board, members and volunteers you can congratulate yourselves for our success!

From Saratoga to San Francisco, Toronto to Courtenay: Allison Au Quartet's month-long CD release tour is exhausting by any measure. This Toronto-based Juno Award-nominated group, led by Allison Au, Saxophone, plays at the Avalanche Bar this Thursday. Accompanied by Todd Pentley, Piano; Dan Fortin, Bass, and Fabio Raganelli, Drums. Allison promises us a memorable concert.

Initially introduced to music at age six with classical piano lessons which continued until she was 18, Allison concurrently migrated from clarinet in grade 6 to saxophone in grade 7 at the Claude Watson School for the Arts, the whole time being inspired by her father's jazz collection. Although he wanted her to play classical piano, the jazz influence was too strong, and the music of Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole determined her musical direction.

Most notably, Allison laughs when she recalls the scrawny Chinese kid, growing up in Malaysia, listening to jazz on vinyl, particularly a four box set: The Verve Story. It was there that she now recognizes the jazz root took hold. "I played those songs over and over again. I was kind of obsessed from all of those sounds, but I had no idea what was going on. It was at that time I became interested in the saxophone." Allison attributes her success to a succession of wonderful music teachers who encouraged her with their support and guidance, "They inspired me to keep developing my own voice."

At age 29, she knows that her career is just coming into its own. Her Juno Award nomination for the Forest Grove CD "Was a complete surprise," she said, "Though the response was initially overwhelming, it proved to somewhat facilitate the promotion of the album and garner more interest in other parts of the country. It was an honour to be recognized within a category of other amazing musicians. But all in all, it hasn't changed my approach to my career."

And now, dear Comox Valley jazz aficionados, this is your opportunity to listen to this remarkable young musician, and her talented band. Show time is 7:30 pm at The Avalanche Bar and Grill. Come early for dinner and the best seats, especially if you plan on gathering with friends. But if all of this sounds new and strange, why not just come on down and experience the show, the venue and the incredibly friendly atmosphere the Jazz Society generates? You're assured of a warm welcome, and you'll probably wonder why you didn't get involved sooner.

GSJS is committed to keeping jazz live, and allowing Comox Valley music lovers an opportunity to expose themselves local, regional and internationally-known jazz musicians.

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