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A Story about Jazz in Kamloops 

I am going to Kamloops to host the district jazz workshop on March 29th. There is a pretty neat story surrounding this which I’d like to share, to help increase student enrollment and community engagement. The official info is here: https://www.kamloopsmusiccollective.info/blog/join-us-for-jazz-jam-and-hone-your-skills 

Christy Gauley (a peer of mine from jazz choir at Westsyde Secondary) is now the District Coordinator for the Arts for SD 73 in Kamloops. Working together with Kim Mangan of Kamloops Music Collective (KMC), Christy approached me to plan and run a jazz workshop for grade 8-12 students (we are calling it "Jazz Jam"). It is facilitated by a grant through the 2018 JUNO Awards Host Committee, in partnership with Creative BC and Music BC, part of $30,000 in funding for 33 @letshearitbc Experience Music Program events across BC. 

Our aim is to teach the basics of jazz to make it more accessible to students, who often balk at the idea of playing jazz and improvising, since it can seem intimidating and overwhelming. It is a rekindling of the District Jazz Program where professional jazz musicians mentored students leading up to a live performance in a cafe or club. For the young musicians at Jazz Jam, their workshop day will end in a finale jazz concert from 5:30-7PM at the Kamloops United Church, where they will perform alongside the professionals. 

I am really excited about this event because of my personal history with jazz in Kamloops. 

I was in grade 11 when the first District Jazz Program started, spearheaded by Steve Griffith and his band S.G.H.Q. I auditioned on trumpet, which I had been excelling on, playing in the Westsyde Stage Band for a little over a year. I had also participated in jazz bands and combos at KISSM (Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music). 

I didn't know very much about improvising at that time, save for a few scales that were supposed to work. Steve was a sax player that I had always admired. I used to go hear his band play at Java Cycle and other venues, so this was an exciting opportunity to perform with the pros. His leadership was inspiring and I learned lessons from him that I still teach today. The other members of the Quartet were highly engaging to work with as well. Virtuoso drummer Richard Graham was a recent Westsyde grad and composer Peter Ward on bass was a seasoned pro. Lastly, I was also coached by Oliver Rinaldi, composer and pianist. 

Oliver was the first person to tell me I should sing jazz. He was coaching a vocal student on her song, and I somehow got to sing a few notes for him by accident, trying to help her with the phrasing. He immediately asked me if there was any song that I knew and wanted to sing. At the time I only knew the standard song "When Sunny Gets Blue" from my first audition attempt for Westsyde's Jazz Choir over a year earlier. Needless to say, my secret wish to be a jazz singer materialized and I performed that song at the concert. Through university while studying jazz trumpet, my combos would often invite me sing here and there. Ironically, after graduation I ended up performing mainly as a vocalist at first instead of as a trumpet player. 

Coming full circle to Kamloops as a young professional, I started working with some of these same players from the days of District Jazz. The arts community of Kamloops was grieved in 2003 after Oliver Rinaldi passed away too soon from cancer. For District Jazz and SGHQ, guitarist and keyboardist Kris Ruston filled Oliver’s shoes in the years since. I am very pleased that Kris will be joining my group for this workshop to share his unique stylistic approach to soloing with the kids. 

The pictures included below I dug out from my old photo albums while contemplating this story. I am pictured playing my trumpet alongside Steve Griffith in 2000. Steve also tragically passed away in 2011, leaving a treasured legacy of students he had positively influenced. One of the best lessons I learned from him was, "If you play a wrong note, play it again immediately. Then it seems like you meant to do that." 

The other picture included is of me performing at Paradiso (now the Commodore) in Kamloops with Kris Ruston, Richard Graham and Peter Ward in 2006. 

Sadly, just last year our friend Peter Ward also passed away. He and I worked together many times so I was happy to hear that his son, Alexander, has picked up the torch and is now an exciting up and coming bassist and keyboard player living in Kamloops. He is excited to carry on with his father's work sharing the joys of jazz with the ambitious bunch that sign up for this workshop. Of course my longtime friend and bandmate Richard Graham and SGHQ veteran will be backing us up on drums at Jazz Jam. 

I am looking forward to sharing the secrets of this music with the next generation of Kamloops students and honouring the legacy of jazz in Kamloops.

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  2. 2 All of Me 04:25
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  3. 3 Just an Hour 03:21 Info Free
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  4. 4 Fly Me To The Moon 04:45
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  5. 5 My Funny Valentine 05:24
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  6. 6 I Fall In Love Too Easily 03:42
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  7. 7 Summertime 03:29
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  8. 8 The Nearness of You 05:35
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  9. 9 Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight 05:08
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  10. 10 Black Coffee 05:53
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  11. 11 The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines 03:49
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  12. 12 These Foolish Things 03:52
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  13. 13 What A Wonderful World 04:47
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  14. 14 Angel Eyes 04:50
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  15. 15 Time After Time 04:19
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  16. 16 I'm Just A Lucky So and So (feat. Andrew Smith) 04:33
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  17. 17 Claim On You 03:51 Info
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  18. 18 The Good Life 03:56 Info Free
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  19. 19 Red Shoes 02:52 Info
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  20. 20 Flicker of My Eye 03:00 Info
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  21. 21 Through It All 02:39 Info
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  22. 22 Lovesick 04:21 Info
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  23. 23 Fumbling Forward 03:26 Info
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  24. 24 Call Me Up 04:22 Info
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  25. 25 Island Lament 03:26 Info
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  26. 26 St. Louis Blues 06:07 Info
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  27. 27 Scarlet Scribbles 03:51 Info
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Phoenix Centre Fundraiser

Country Garden Greenhouse, https://goo.gl/maps/YFBxCPi4dR72, Monte Lake, BC

On Sunday June 10, Country Garden Greenhouse and The Smorgasbord Deli are hosting the fourth annual Fundraiser dinner for The Phoenix Centre.

Most of us have at least one friend or relative who is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse and with the recent emergence of Fentanyl added to the mix, many people's lives are in even greater danger. The Phoenix Centre is one of very few places where help may be had and the good people there are, of course, always working with a shortage of funds. "This is our way of trying to help out" says Anita Strong, co-owner of Country Garden Greenhouse and the Smorgasbord Deli."The venue is our beautiful farm at in Monte Lake where music and appies start at 4pm. Be prepared for a wonderful evening" she added.

The fundraiser is a four course dinner featuring the best of what the Kamloops fields and streams can supply as well as the rich expressive voice and and sumptuous trumpet phrasings of Anita Eccleston/Andrew Smith Duo will be performing, highlighting her latest CD.

Four Course Dinner: Wild Salmon ( RiverFresh Wild BC Seafood - Wild salmon), Trout (Ted's Trout), BC Beef & BC Lamb. Salads from the Smorgasbord Deli, Coffee (Shuswap Coffee Company).

Tickets are $65 and are available at the following locations: Smorgasbord Deli (225 7th Ave Kamloops BC) Moviemart (369 St. Paul St. Kamloops BC) Phoenix Centre

https://goo.gl/maps/YFBxCPi4dR72

Help me create my next album by becoming a Benefactor today. Everything helps. Thank you!!

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Vancouver-based bandleader Anita Eccleston's acrobatic voice and lyrical trumpet style honour the traditions of jazz, often melding familiar and new in both her large and small ensembles. Her ongoing project showcases original songs and jazz favourites highlighted by instrumental improvisation, sweet sultry vocals, and sweeping cello counterpoint. Her growing passion for jazz ukulele has her adopting a new role as a rhythm player. Her major influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Diana Krall, Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Jake Shimabukuro. Anita's energetic performances incorporate many styles from jazz to soul, funk, reggae, pop, and the blues.

Her latest album, More Trumpet (December 2016) is a collection of traditional jazz standards, showcasing her distinctive vocal stylings alongside her playful trumpeting. She pays tribute to the timeless songs that she connected with as a budding musician.

In 2011, Eccleston released her debut Jazz EP, a collection of recordings from her early beginnings in Montreal at McGill University. Anita was featured in 2012 in a performance for CBC Radio One’s program Hot Air. She released her Trio EP in 2013, and in 2014 completed her long-awaited original LP, So It Goes. The full-length album explores her eclectic tastes in music. Her music is available for purchase and streaming online.

Anita toured BC and Eastern Canada (highlighted by a show at Canadian Music Week in Toronto) in 2014. In 2015, she performed with her trio and was also a featured guest soloist with the Plastic Acid Orchestra at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. The following year, she again performed with her 9-piece lineup on Granville Island for the Vancouver Jazz Fest. In April 2017, Anita showcased again at Canadian Music Week accompanied by pianist Steve Amirault with assistance from Music BC.

Joining Canada's only all-female Mariachi band Las Estrellas de Vancouver, Eccleston traveled in the early summer 2017 to Tlaxcala, Mexico to attend workshops and perform at the first ever Women's Mariachi Festival alongside groups from Mexico, Columbia and the USA.

Anita is currently writing new music, teaching, performing, and advancing her mastery of the jazz ukulele.