Christmas gets a jazzy touch

St. Philip Anglican church vespers go festive on Dec. 7

The Bob Watts Trio is launching Jazz for Christmas 2 during the December jazz vespers at St. Philip.

The Bob Watts Trio is launching Jazz for Christmas 2 during the December jazz vespers at St. Philip.

The Bob Watts Trio invites audiences on a wild Christmas ride to launch Jazz for Christmas 2.

“It’s just I’ve done jazz vespers at St. Philip’s 40 times, and the jazz vespers is all about sacred music … we’ve tried to maintain that standard. It’s sacred-based,” said Watts.

Watts is a veteran of the jazz scenes in both Victoria and Winnipeg. He created the monthly Jazz Vespers series at St. Philip Church in Oak Bay playing with notable Victoria musicians Joey Smith, Bruce Meikle, Tom Vickery, Karel Roessingh, Rob Cheramy and Tony Genge.

He’s the drummer, with Pablo Cardenas on piano and Ross Macdonald on bass – a team for over a year now.

The original Jazz for Christmas (2010) was the first of its kind, said Watts. It featured the purest of traditional holiday songs, such as Good King Wenceslas, reinterpreted as jazz standards.

“The first one was a pile of standard, standard, Christmas carols because I love Christmas carols,” he said. “These are still traditional Christmas carols. People know them and they love them but they don’t hear them in this kind of format. It was amazing because it was a runaway success,” he said.

Then along came Cardenas and Macdonald.

Macdonald is a Victoria bassist whose musical skills have taken him around the world, playing music in Dubai at the Burj al Arab and cruising on the world’s only residence ship, The World. He currently plays the bass full time with the Naden Band.

Cardenas leads the West Coast Cuban Allstars and the Pablo Cardenas Afro-Latin Band. Since arriving in Canada from Cuba in 2010, he has been teaching and performed with Gergana Velinova, Adonis Puentes, Maureen Washington, Phil Dyer, Damian Graham, Sara Vardy and Miguelito Valdes. His Project Fusion recently performed at the Victoria Jazz Festival 2012.

And he keeps the other two on their toes.

“He’s a joy to play with but you’ve got to be sharp,” Watts said.

“We play these songs and we play the melody so people know what the song is … When Pablo looks at his hands and smiles, it’s over, because Pablo’s about to launch you on a musical ride. He knows exactly where he’s going because he brings you back to the beginning. But you have to hang on for the ride.”

Jazz for Christmas 2 launches during the monthly jazz vespers for December at St. Philip where the CD was recorded live over a 36-hour period.

They whittled down a list of 35 carols for the album to: Deck the Halls, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Away In A Manger, Good Christian People Rejoice, Silent Night, Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy, Brightest and Best, Long Time Ago In Bethlehem and includes the bonus track, Hymn to Freedom.

The CD launch concert is Sunday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Philip Anglican Church, 2928 Eastdowne Rd. Admission by donation, both CDs will be available for purchase.

Visit stphilipvictoria.ca/event-items/jazz-vespers-2/ for more information and a sample of the music.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

Just Posted

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read