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Plenty of support for Jesse and the Dandelions and Amy Bronson

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I was impressed by the huge turnout for Jesse and the Dandelions’ Cd release party, June 11 at the Amy Bronson was a highlight of the June 11 show. Photo by Richard AmerySlice.
 I missed the Necessities but caught the end of Amy Bronson’s set.

Lethbridge’s own Bronson has been away at school in Guelph and spent four months in India, so it was a pleasure to not only hear her dulcet tones but her superb guitar playing as well.
 Her voice has matured with a more jazz tinged edge. She had a few people dancing.

 Matt Robinson was up next with a strong solo set of original blues and folk music which had a lot of people swaying in front of the stage to his beat.

 Jesse and the Dandelions, dressed  for the occasion in skinny ties,  also played a pretty strong set. They were going to play their CD in order, but ended up playing a variety of music instead. If you missed the NEcessities and Jesse and the Dandelions, they will be playing again at the Blarney Stone, June 25 for Sleeping With Tuesday’s Cd release party along with Smokestack Jacks and the Shawna Romolliwa band.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Lethbridge jazzed about jazz festival this week and new jazz society

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Lethbridge jazz fans are looking forward to kicking off the Lethbridge Jazz Society through several events happening, June 18-20 in conjunction with the the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival.Local
 saxophonist David Renter. Photo by Richard Amery

“We’ve added a couple extra days in Lethbridge,” said local saxophonist David Renter, who has several gigs of his own during the festival including Thursday and Friday.

One of his bands, the Contemporary Works Jazz Orchestra plays the Slice, June  18 with special guest saxophonist, Calgarian Pat Belliveau.

There are several events on Saturday beginning with a jazz jam from 2-4 p.m. which Renter will be hosting. The jam is free for everybody who plays and five dollars for everyone else.

It is likely to feature renown New York City based jazz guitarist Nobuki Takamen who will also be playing at the Blue Note Lounge at Treats that evening June 19 from 5-8 p.m.
Lethbridge born saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Vern Dorge, who has played with everyone from Aretha Franklin, Gordon Lightfoot, Blood,Sweat and Tears and Tony Bennett, will be playing a solo show at the Slice, June 20 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $15.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 June 2010 10:04 ) Read more...

Vern Dorge looking forward to returning home for jazz festival

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Vern Dorge plays Lethbridge, Sunday as part of jazz festival celebrations. Photo submittedSaxophonist Vern Dorge left Lethbridge right after graduating high school at LCI in 1974  to pursue his musical dreams, and ended up playing with everyone from Anne Murray, Aretha Franklin and Gordon Lightfoot  to a revamped Blood, Sweat and Tears in the early ’80s.
 Now he is back home for a special performance at the Slice,  Sunday, June 19.

It will be part of several Lethbridge jazz events being held this week in conjunction with the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said adding he will be fronting his own trio here including Paul Holden, Brad Brouwer and James Oldenburg. He is also looking forward to  seeing old friends he used to play with like Herb Hicks, Billy Joe McCarroll and Dale Ketcheson.

 “We all used to be part of the jazz scene here  at a little place called  the Town Chef underneath the Paramount. It was a great experience,” Dorge recalled adding hard work and a willingness to play any style of music  helped make him a high profile  face on the Toronto  jazz scene.
“When I’m not being a sideman, making other  people sound good, I put together my own band in Toronto,” said Dorge , who also plays clarinet, flute and classical guitar.
A gig with jazz singer Nancy Wilson lead to a two and a half year gig with Blood , Sweat and Tears.
“I actually met  (original frontman) David Clayton -Thomas at a bar while I was playing with Nancy Wilson. I didn’t recognize him, but the next thing I knew he was backstage talking to Nancy. And then he phoned me up, I guess  it was a personal recommendation,” Dorge said, adding he ended up touring with them and appeared on their album ‘Nuclear Blues.’

He will be back to play with David Clayton Tihomas in August during the Calgary blues fest.
He also enjoyed playing with  Aretha Franklin a few times.

“Whenever she plays Toronto, she hires local musicians. I was in the background mostly, but I got to say hi to her. She lives in Michigan, but her favourite restaurant is in Kitchener, because it serves pig’s knuckles. She’s  kind of frail. She’ll sing for an hour and she’ll be exhausted and  basically have  to be carried off the stage,” he observed. He also played a couple concerts with Gordon Lightfoot  as one of his albums has horn parts.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 June 2010 14:53 ) Read more...

This week highlighted by new clubs, jazz plus open mic for Amnesty International

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As per usual, there is a lot happening this week including new  club openings, the jazz festival and an open mic for a great cause today.
  Today, numerous local restaurants are participating in the 15th annual amnesty International  Taste For Justice by donating a portion of the proceeds from today to Amnesty International.
 In honour of that project, Paul Kype and Texas Flood are hosting an open jam all day and night today beginning at 4 p.m. They will be starting mellow in the afternoon and work their way up to total rock an roll all night. Admission is free.

There are a couple cool new regular events happening in Lethbridge for music.
Last week Salem Abraha  oAl Harlow and Prism return to Lethbridge this weekend. Photo By 
Richard Ameryf the Ben Brown Trio started a new open mic at  the Bar One Lounge in the Sandman Inn. Something very cool is afoot at Coyote Joes beginning June 17. Taking advantage of a brand spanking new stage, every Thursday beginning at 8 p.m. there will be live karaoke with Paul Kype and friends. Singers will be able to choose from a list of songs, and will be able to get up on stage and sing them with the band. An acoustic open mic will follow that and a full fledged electric jam will finish off the night.
There are new clubs aplenty  opening this month.
A new dance club called the Republic opens this Friday, June 18 in the old firehall. It features live DJs and three levels of dance fueled mayhem. Doors open at 9 p.m.
 Look for the opening of Owl in the old Mood/O’Riley’s building, June 26. This is the Necessities/ former Henotic General manager Steven Foord’s new club which will be a new acoustic room featuring lunches and live acoustic music. It will help to pick up some of the void in the local arts community left by the closing of Henotic.
There are several choices for great live music this week.
 The biggest event this week is several Lethbridge events connected to the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival. The Contemporary Works Jazz Orchestra featuring special guest saxophonist Pat Belliveau perform at the Slice, June 18.
 The Deep Dark Woods are back at the Slice as well June 19 to cap off a day which begins with an afternoon jazz jam featuring New York guitarist  Nobuki Takamen. He will be playing a solo show at the Blue Note Lounge at Treats that evening.  Renown Lethbridge born saxophonist Vern Dorge plays at  the Slice, June 20. He has played with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett to name just a few. Local country musician Alyssa McQuaid is going to spread her jazz wings down in Medicine Hat as part of the festival as well.


Bent 8 back to play rockabilly

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Bent 8 tore up Jimmy’s Pub rockabilly style, June 5. Photo by Richard AmeryI did not want to miss revamped local rockabilly trio, Bent 8 who were playing at Jimmy’s Pub on the south side, JUne 5
 Guitarist/singer Dino Caravaggio and the band including stand up bassist Pat Ackerman played a couple upbeat sets of high octane rockabilly including Johnny Cash’s ‘Get Rhythm’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ as well as numerous originals which had a couple of frenetically dancing girls having a good time in front of the stage.

Caravaggio had the rockabilly greaser voice down pat as well as the big, loud fat Gretsch sound you need to get the job done properly. It was excellent.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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