Swinging into the New Year with the Vernon Jazz Society

Ring in the New Year with the Okanagan’s premiere party blues band

The Sherman Doucette Blues Quartet, featuring Sherman Tank Doucette (vocals and harmonica), Grant Jones (bass), Charlie Jacobson (guitar), and John Modder (drums) swing into the new year at the Vernon Jazz Club Dec. 31. (Photo submitted)

Candice McMahon

For The Morning Star

Ring in the New Year with the Okanagan’s premiere party blues band. This exciting night includes special New Year’s Eve treats with a later start time of 9 p.m.

“We love playing the Vernon Jazz Club and have been performing there for eighteen years,” Sherman (Tank) Doucette said. “It’s still one of my all-time favourite gigs. (It’s) been too long since my last visit.”

Doucette was born in northern Saskatchewan and left home at fifteen with a harmonica and a twenty-dollar bill in his pocket bound for the west coast. In Vancouver, he discovered the Chicago Blues style on an album featuring Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and James Cotton.

Doucette soon began singing and playing in a series of local Blues bands. By the age of seventeen, he had developed a style of playing greatly influenced by the late great Paul Butterfield.

It wasn’t long before Doucette was performing with the best bands in Vancouver. On numerous occasions, he had the honour of sharing the stage with such greats as John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Sonny Land Slim (Andrew Luandrew), Pinetop Perkins and several shows with old friends Jim Byrnes, Long John Baldry and Powder Blues Band.

Forty years ago, Doucette amazingly survived a massive explosion in a lumber mill, which left him in the hospital for six months recovering from burns to more than 50 per cent of his body.

Doucette earned the moniker Tank after this fight for his life. More determined than ever, Doucette embraced his true calling and began focusing all of his time and energy on his music.

“Sherman Doucette has a classic blues voice; it’s deep, gruff, gravely and oozes soul,” wrote Bob Colebrook with The Whistler Answer.

Today Doucette proudly calls the Okanagan home with his band, Tankful of Blues. They are busy performing and recording, and their groove has been captured live and on CDs.

Playing guitar in the band is Charlie Jacobson. He has backed up and been backed up by some of the Canadian Blues giants, including Kenny (Blues Boss) Wayne, Russell Jackson, David Vest, and Donald Ray Johnson, to name a few.

Jacobson is friends with 70-somethings who think they’re 20, because he’s a 20-something who seems like he’s 70. He has a penchant for all things retro, including Blues music, pompadours, old suitcases and garment bags.

Grant Jones has been playing electric bass with Doucette for 18 years since the inception of Tankful of Blues. He is a loyal and steadfast player and friend to Doucette, and he truly knows how to keep the beat alive.

John Modder is another long-time player with Doucette. He brings home those Blues shuffle beats on the drum set, which has become such a familiar, laid-back feel in both Blues and Jazz.

The band continues to perform with all the passion and conviction few can deliver. Get ready for an incredible show.

Sherman Doucette Blues Quartet will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Get your tickets early, so you don’t miss out. Tickets $55 online at www.vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave).

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