Photo by William Jorgensen

Impressions of Lightfoot come to Jazz Vespers

NORTH SAANICH — In anticipation of Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot’s 80th birthday, Nanaimo drummer and composer James McRae has arranged a jazz tribute to Lightfoot for St. John’s Jazz Vespers April 8 at 7 p.m.

McRae’s “Impressions of Lightfoot” recognizes the importance of Gordon Lightfoot’s deep and everlasting contribution to Canada’s musical culture and heritage. Joining McRae will be pianist Nico Rhodes and bassist Ken Lister.

Gordon Lightfoot started out with aspirations to be a jazz drummer. However, for over half a century he’s become best known for his rich baritone and gentle guitar accompaniment to his melodic stories of life. Songs such as ‘Early Morning Rain’, ‘Song For A Winter’s Night’, and ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ are just a few of this legendary singer-songwriter’s works being covered in this tribute.

McRae has played drums professionally since the early 1980s on a full time basis. He has performed with David Vest, Luv Train, Scott White, Miles Black and Ken Lister, among others. McRae has also been involved in multiple theatre productions including Western Edge Theatre’s Hedwig, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline at the Chemainus/The Arts Club Theatre and most recently Twist and Shout at the Chemainus Theatre.

Pianist and jazz saxophonist Rhodes plays everything from country to Coltrane. A professional studio musician, composer, arranger and music director, he has had the privilege of performing across Canada, the United States, Central America and Eastern Africa in a myriad of musical settings including funk bands, jazz trios, cabaret acts, chamber ensembles, with symphony orchestras and as a soloist.

Juno award-winning bassist Lister has been playing professionally since 1984, and has extensively toured Canada and elsewhere, including the British Isles, Cuba and South America. Lister is a member of the Hugh Fraser Quintet and VEJI (the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation). As a member of the Hugh Fraser Quintet, he won a Juno Award for the Best Mainstream Jazz Album of 1997.

The Jazz Vespers series will continue on May 6 with the Floogo Jazz Quartet featuring Imani Northeast, and on June 3 with Quinn Bachand.

Jazz Vespers services begin at 7 p.m. St. John’s United Church is located at 10990 West Saanich Rd., across from Deep Cove School. There is no admission charge. An offering will be taken to cover the cost of the musicians and the Vespers program.

For further information, please call Bernadette at 250-656-0875 or email her at bernadettegreene789@gmail.com to be included on an email list of upcoming concerts.

— Submited by

Bernadette Greene

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