Reviewer Ed Farolan


Larry Roy/Steve Kirby

Date and Venue 1 July 2009 @ 2.30 pm | Performance Works, Granville Island

What a fantastic quartet! This is jazz, truly classic jazz, and this is the kind of music we should hear at this festival. Two of Winnipeg’s biggest musical forces—guitarist Larry Roy and former New Orleans bassist Steve Kirby—come up with their own compositions in this almost two hour concert.

Having played together in a variety of groups for five years, they finally got a band together and came up with their first CD, Wicked Grin, which showcases a wide range of styles. The two other members of the band include Illinois-based Terreon Gully, drummer and Will Bonness at the piano. Bonness, somewhat reminiscent of Dave Brubeck, had some compositions which were also played by the band. These four are faculty members of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music. Steve Kirby directs the Bachelor's Degree program which is the only university Jazz Studies program in Canada.

Kirby started off saying that he's now Canadian; he couldn't stand Bush and decided to move up to Canada.This is the kind of show that should be performed in venues such as the Vogue or even the Orpheum because this band is first-rate not only in its innovative neo-classic jazz style but also the superlative quality of the performers.


Blue King Brown

Date and Venue 26 June 2009 @ 8pm | Biltmore Cabaret

There appears to be a very vague definition of jazz. A clear example is this band which is more aptly described as "reggae" and not jazz. So I think that the Vancouver Jazz Festival committee when it invites international groups like this one from Australia must understand what jazz is all about.

Another thing is this band is more attuned to First Nations festivals. In the opening night of the festival, the intro made by the band leader was a dedication and greetings to the First Nations of Canada. I'm all for this. After all, we are a multicultural society here in Canada. But shouldn't the first paid performance of an international Jazz Festival,especially the opening, be dedicated to the innovators of Jazz, the New Orleans blues, the southern USA blacks who innovated jazz? Someone like Sonny Rollins who doesn't perform until three days later?

Another disappointing thing about the lack of organization of the Coastal Jazz Blues Society is they put the bands in the wrong places. Why put this noisy band in a space like Biltmore Cabaret? You need earplugs to listen to this kind of music, with drums and singers screaming. Next time, put them in an outside venue where they can scream their heads off.

© 2009 Ed Farolan