Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Candus Churchill and Tom Pickett

Date and Venue June 26, 2015 at 12 noon | St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, Burrard St., Vancouver

Reviewer John Jane

Among the dozens of free events that have formed an integral part of this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival, are the popular lunch time concerts presented at the St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church over on Burrard Street at Nelson. But unlike at many of the free events around town, artists don’t receive a stipend from Coastal Jazz or the City of Vancouver, they actually donate their performance.

Last Friday (June 26) jazz vocalist Karin Plato, who all week had been turning her hand (and voice) to emcee, introduced the duet Candus Churchill and Tom Pickett.

Pickett, a Berkeley, California native, who has made Vancouver his permanent home is more often seen acting in Pacific Theatre and Bard on the Beach productions. He certainly didn’t look or sound out of place singing gospel-tinged tunes in two-part harmony with his partner at the Chancel of this huge church. Hearing Tom Pickett belting out songs like Bob Dylan’s “We Shall be Released” shouldn’t be so surprising when you consider that his father was second tenor with The Four Aces.

The Churchill - Pickett duet were backed by a talented quartet of Vancouver musicians including Bill Sample on piano and Olaf de Shield on lead guitar. Pickett is an obvious admirer of Ben E. King, who passed away on April 30 this year. In a tribute to the late R&B singer, the pair covered the classic “Stand by Me.”

© 2015 John Jane