The Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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

September 29th at 7:30pm

Jenn Hodge and Friends

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

Again, something special this Thursday when we are graced with a local jazz artist who left the Valley to make an international name for herself. It's been over four years since Jennifer Hodge played a concert on our stage, and we are really looking forward to her return.

Not as much as Jenn herself, based on what she told me in a recent interview. "I am so beyond delighted to be leading a band for a Courtenay audience again. It's been so long since I last performed for the Jazz Society!

"I've been doing a lot of exciting musical things since then, all over the world (throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, and China!), which I'll share with the audience in both musical and anecdotal form. I'm bringing along three incredible musicians and friends: Vancouver-based Arnt Arntzen, who I've known since 2002; Brad Shigeta, whose resume is surpassed only by his musicianship, who happened to be on the west coast looking for gigs at this time (lucky me!); and Connor Stewart, a phenomenal player whose sound, versatility, and swing feel are a joy to make music with. It's lucky that all of us are in the same place at the same time, really - Brad is based in Winnipeg and Connor is based in New Orleans. All four of us move around like crazy, so the fact that this particular combination of people can converge in Courtenay and join me for a homecoming show is special."

I told Jenn that we too are amazed at Connor's music, and couldn't believe our luck that we were going to experience just one more performance before he returned to New Orleans.

Jenn described her experiences, "Since graduating from Capilano University's Jazz Studies program in 2007, I have delved very deeply into traditional jazz music - New Orleans style jazz, multi-strain and odd-form compositions, classic and obscure repertoire written between 1900 and 1935, etc. In the past 2 years or so I have written more original material, influenced by traditional and New Orleans style jazz, reflecting my own 21st century life experiences.

"The real pleasure of this gig is the company I share on stage. Connor Stewart on reeds needs no introduction here. You know him and love him! This remarkable Comox Valley-born, Nanaimo-raised, New Orleans-based musician plays with such profound swing and musical wisdom that it's always a shock every time I am reminded that he's only 19 years old. After hearing a lot about each other for a long time, we met this summer and have played together a lot in the past few months around the Lower Mainland and in Calgary, and now on Vancouver Island!

"Brad Shigeta, trombone, is among the most outstanding trombone players today and it's incredibly fortuitous that he is going to be joining us for this trip to the Island! Brad was based in New York City for many years and is an alumnus of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet's band, and Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, among others. He is now based in his hometown of Winnipeg, and happens to be out on the coast for a tour which he will have just finished in time to join us in Courtenay. You will be blown away by his musicianship."

Jenn continued by telling me about Arnt Amtzen, guitar. "He is one of my dearest friends and favourite musicians to play with. He's a third generation professional musician, and I have been playing music with members of his family since I moved to Vancouver in 2002. I have made several recordings with Arnt, including one with his grandfather Lloyd and one as the Brothers Arntzen Jazz Band with his brother Evan. The Bros and I have performed together all over western Canada, done 2 tours in France, one in Spain, and last week performed in New York City.

"I'm SO THRILLED to be bringing this unbelievable roster to my hometown!

Jazz aficionados are reminded that tickets for the Marc Atkinson concert on October 13 are on sale at Bop City, Red Carpet and at the front desk. Priced at $16 for members and $20 for non members.

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