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April 25, 2009

Jazz Pianist Oliver Jones Sparkles in Calgary Concert

Written by
cindy mcleod

Oliver Jones

Dear Readers;

Today’s post has been contributed by Calgary writer Kenna Burima, who attended the recent Oliver Jones Concert with Prime Time Big Band in Calgary.

Review: Oliver Jones with The Prime Time Big Band: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson
April 2nd, Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary, Alberta
By Kenna Burima

It was a big night for jazz fans at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Calgary’s Prime Time Big Band shared the stage with jazz ambassador and Canada’s greatest living jazz pianist, Oliver Jones. Only days earlier, the 75-year-old Jones had garnered yet another Juno award, this fourth one for his most recent recording “Second Time Around.”

The evening, billed as A Tribute to Oscar Peterson, was a fitting homage to Jones’ mentor and childhood friend. The concert also showcased the talents of many of Alberta’s most accomplished jazz performers, orchestrated by the band’s leader and founder, Calgary’s Dave Jones.

The 19-member ensemble set the tone for the night by opening with rousing arrangements of the Gershwins’ “Strike Up the Band” and Don Menza’s “Groovin’ Hard,” plus an energetic rendition by vocalist Shari Chaskin of Diane Schuur’s hit “Caught a Touch of Your Love.” Then Oliver Jones appeared, to thunderous applause, and joined with the band in playing Peterson’s “Jazz Gavotte” and Heyman and Young’s “When I Fall in Love.” These were followed by a solo of his own composition, the soulful “Blues for Helene.” The second half of the program included several selections from Peterson’s Canadiana Suite. There was no question a star was on stage as Jones’ fingers smoothly glided up and down the keyboard. And as if his warmth and humour were not enough, he further endeared himself to the audience by thanking them time and again for coming to see him play, as well as for the rare opportunity to perform with a big band.

The concert proved to be a wonderful expression of a vibrant jazz community in Calgary. Between the customary hamming of CBC Radio 2’s “Tonic” host Tim Tamashiro as emcee, to the exuberant exclamations from the audience at the end of every number, it was evident that the house was there not only to enjoy the thoughtful yet lively playing of the great Oliver Jones, but also to support their own.

The program was recorded for future broadcast on CBC 2’s “Canada Live” and for webcast on cbc.ca/radio2.

One comment for this post.

  1. Pingback from Aja West » Thee Phantom on May 4th, 2009 :

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