jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

October 23, 2005

Canadian Trombonist Hugh Fraser and VEJI 25th Anniversary Concert

Written by
cindy mcleod

Hugh Fraser’s VEJI
Canadian Dedication Suite
25th Anniversary Concert

Victoria-born pianist/trombonist/composer and Juno Award-winner Hugh Fraser formed the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI) in 1980. In fact, the brash young bunch of West Coast players Hugh brought together not only revitalized the big band sound in Canada, they went on to generate enormous interest both nationally and internationally.

With full brass, saxophones, vocals, and rhythm section, VEJI creates endless energy with its palette of sonic diversity. The group’s first recording was simply called VEJI and was released shortly after winning the Canadian Stage Band Festival in 1980. Classic VEJI followed in 1986, and VEJI NOW (with over 20 musicians including harp) was shortlisted for a Grammy in 1990. In 1999, the ensemble released V to critical acclaim. Recently, VEJI issued their fifth CD, Big Works, with full strings and choral section. This recording features Fraser’s Concerto for Jazz Orchestra, a 30-minute tour de force, and Mass in C Minor, a blending of Hugh’s prime influences, J.S. Bach and John Coltrane.

Over the years, VEJI has worked with guest soloists Frank Foster, Slide Hampton, Don Thompson, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, and Kenny Wheeler. The band performs mainly original music but has also premiered important works at jazz festivals, such as Charles Mingus’s Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

Whether VEJI is playing howling bop, Afro-Latin grooves, or bombastic fusion, it’s all presented with passion and panache. This concert will mark the B.C. debut of Canadian Dedication — a 60-minute suite written for the 25th anniversaries of both VEJI and the Ottawa Jazz Festival. With Walter White/Lorae Farrell/Vince Mai/Bill Clark trumpets, Dennis Esson/Rod Murray/Brad Muirhead trombones, Cam Ryga/Perry White/Bill Runge/Ross Taggart saxophones, Christine Duncan voice, Jack Duncan percussion, Ken Lister bass, Dave Robbins drums. www.coastaljazz.ca

Oct 28, 2005
Vancouver East Cultural Centre
Tickets are $25/$22 and are available at Ticketmaster

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.