Bill Sample and Darlen Ketchum of the Wild Blue Herons flock to Vernon Oct. 19 for a show at the Vernon Jazz Club. (Submitted Photo)

Herons soar with soul into Okanagan

Jazzy act, Wild Blue Herons, play Oct. 19

Paul Hunter

Vernon Jazz Society

Wild Blue Herons are a group of Vancouver-based musicians who play mostly groove-oriented jazz. It’s a little bit hip, a bit cool, a bit smoky, a bit bluesy, but very much accesible. Formed in 2018 by Bill Sample and Darlene Ketchum, they perform original songs and select standards, ranging from funk to blues to R&B but with a jazz twist. It’s jazz music for lovers of pop, or the other way around – depending on your viewpoint. Darlene and Bill bring a fresh Canadian ‘take’ on the classic sounds of jazz (soul/funk) and adult contemporary that challenge traditional genre harmonies – blending the groove with math and heart. While pushing musical boundaries, the songs are broadly accessible and offer lyrical insights on the times we live in; songs of love, compassion and the world we want. Their music blends familiar music idioms with unexpected harmonies that bend their varied genres for a contemporary world audience.

Collectively, the band members have played with Ray Charles, Diana Krall, kd lang, Van Morrison, and Michael Buble – to name a few.

When they come to play the Vernon Jazz Club, Bill and Darlene will be joined by Rene Worst on bass, Buff Allen on drums, and Bill Runge on saxophone. The last time they played Vernon, they were still going by the name Ketchum and Sample Quintet, but that changed when they launched the new CD – Wild Blue Herons, On the Outside.

Recently, David Foster had this to say:

“I had the great pleasure of getting to hear my dear friend and colleague, Bill Sample, and the band WBH a couple of months back. It was a treat from beginning to end. Great vocals from Darlene.”

Wild Blue Herons will be on stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 St.) on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash-only bar on site. Tickets $25 only available online at vernonjazz.com with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

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