The Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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

Harrison Squared

February 13th 2020

Members $10 non members $12

This week, Georgia Straight Jazz Society presents a wonderful group called Harrison Squared, featuring Mike Murley and Steve Wallace. It's a Toronto-based modern jazz quartet that features two up-and-coming instrumentalists, Harrison Vetro (drums) and Harrison Argatoff (tenor saxophone), alongside two mainstays of the Canadian jazz scene, Mike Murley (tenor saxophone) and Steve Wallace (double bass).

As Harry Vetro recently explained, "I'm a graduate of the University of Toronto Jazz program. I lead an active performing career playing at major jazz festivals and venues across Canada, and I've been featured as a rising star drummer in the Ottawa and Sudbury Jazz festivals in Ontario. I currently lead a monthly residency at The Tranzac (Toronto's premiere creative music club) featuring new compositions inspired by nature and landscape." ?

Vetro is the recipient of multiple grants: Canada Council for The Arts, Ontario Arts Council, FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings) and FMUA (The University of Toronto Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association).

Vetro continued, "The group hatched from a chance encounter between myself and Wallace in early 2016, at the University of Toronto, while my drum teacher (Nick Fraser) was on tour. Wallace was asked to sub in for a lesson, with the aim of offering his wealth of experience and some new perspective. As we worked together on time, tempo, and rhythmic feel, Wallace immediately recognized a natural musical connection. Wanting to end the lesson with some fun, Argatoff was invited to jump in and play some music as a trio. Wallace recognized and was inspired by both Argatoff's and my musicality, thoughtfulness, and creativity; very much in the Lennie Tristano/Warne Marsh vein."

The three resolved to get together and play again but scheduling made this a challenge. Finally, the two Harrisons took the bull by the horns, landing a gig at The Rex in September of 2016 and asking Murley and Steve to join them; thus was a band born! With an agreed-upon selection of standards, and some out-of-the-way jazz originals, the gig had an open and spontaneous feeling which was immensely satisfying. Having played together on countless occasions, Murley and Wallace were inspired by the stimulus of playing with fresh musicians. And likewise, both Argatoff and Vetro were pushed to rise to the level of such musical masters.

The band expresses a distinct Canadian jazz identity, and a forward-thinking modern approach to jazz. Together they have performed shows at Toronto's premiere jazz club "The Rex Hotel," as well as "The Emmet Ray". Harrison Squared recorded a full-length album in the Fall of 2019, which is being released on this cross-Canada tour.

Northern Ranger, Vetro's first album, released about a year and a half ago, topped fourth on the National Jazz charts in Canada and continues to gain international airplay from New York City, USA, to Toronto and across Canada.

Jazz aficionados are reminded that it's time for membership renewals, you have an option to do so at Thursday Night Jazz or otherwise by PayPal via the website

Please browse the website and while you're there select the calendar tab to see the amazing schedule of acts we have already lined up between now and the end of 2020.

It is all rush seating, there are no reservations.

GSJS showcases jazz live in the Comox Valley, giving music lovers an opportunity to enjoys local, regional and internationally-known jazz musicians.

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