Vernon Jazz Society presents silky smooth tunes

Pyramid will be on stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) Saturday, Dec. 2

Candice McMahon

For The Morning Star

Pyramid has cooked up a recipe that explore jazz versions of the music of Burt Bacharach.

If you like how Diana Krall jazzes up Bacharach’s The Look of Love, you are going to absolutely love what Pyramid has arranged for your listening pleasure.

First ingredient: a fabulous, silky smooth singer named Danielle Evjen. Her warm tone begs the ear to listen. This jazz beauty is completely in her element under the eye of a discerning audience — listeners describe her vocal style as the connection between sassy and irresistibly sweet, baked in elegance.

“Hugh Parsons introduced me to the music of Burt Bacharach, and I realized that his music has been with me through all my important life events,” said Evjen. After seeing the 89-year-old Bacharach at Jazz Alley in Seattle, she had him sign her piano book containing his endearing songs. From then on, it was not if, but when the Burt Bacharach tribute concert would happen, and it just had to be with Parsons, who had started it all.

The eminent Parsons on piano is therefore another main ingredient in the mix. Parsons earned a bachelor’s of music from the University of Toronto and a master’s of jazz education from the University of Victoria. He then went on to pursue an illustrious career that offered a satisfying blend as educator (secondary school and university), festival adjudicator, performer and composer.

Having since retired from formal teaching, Parsons has focused much of his energy toward teaching private jazz piano lessons at the Kelowna Community Music School where he has also created original, commissioned piano compositions. Of special note is that Parsons played the very first Vernon Jazz Club gig at the Sandman Inn in October, 1999.

Spicing it up will be Michael Perkins on trumpet. Perkins has been a music educator and professional musician for over 40 years in both the public and private school systems. Having recently retired from teaching, he currently performs as a freelance trumpet player, clinician and adjudicator, working recently with the Okanagan Symphony, Kamloops Symphony, Michael Garding Big Band, Bandidos Cervesas, Nicola Valley Community Band, JG Jazz Quintet, Kelowna Kiwanis Music Festival, Okanagan Concert Band Festival and the BC Interior Jazz Festival.

Bringing the flavour is home-grown Brian McMahon on bass. Raised and educated in Vernon since the age of nine, McMahon has been deeply involved in our local music scene. He has enjoyed a 33-year career as a much-revered music teacher, a festival adjudicator and emcee, a member of more than a dozen different bands, an in-demand bass or sax sideman, an arranger and varying roles in the Vernon Jazz Club since its inception including president for many years and now our director of bookings. McMahon keeps that steady bass rhythm pounding and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Mixing it all together is Danny Sameshima on drums. A drum instructor in his own right, Sameshima knows how to serve up jazz with a major beat. Sameshima plays a variety of styles including jazz to classic rock. As a much-requested drummer by many bands, he has played and collaborated with Kym Gouchie, Conroy Ross, Thurein Myint, Yoko Dharma, Lucy Blu and the Blu Boys, Out of Eden, The Country Cowboys, and in his own group, the Danny Sameshima Trio.

Pyramid will be on stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $20 online at www.vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave), with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

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