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Vancouver Jazz Festival Part III

July 1st, 2008 No comments

The free concerts at the Roundhouse Community Centre started at noon and I arrived by Skytrain after dropping my bike at Simon’s for examination. At the present time it is a long walk from the Stadium skytrain station to the site, but the new Olympic line is being constructed with a station right across the street. This site will be much more accessible for the Jazz Festival in 2010, although a lot of people do make the effort to walk, bike or skateboard rather than find scarce parking in the area.

The High School Jazz Intensive, with Chicago-based flautist Nicole Mitchell conducting, was in full swing when I arrived. The young musicians played at a very high calibre under Mitchell’s expert direction. Paul Plimley and I were discussing this concert later that day, and we both agreed that the quantity and quality of instruction and instructional materials has increased since we were young. Instructional multi-media, books,magazines, DVD’s and the internet have all contributed to a positive trend. This access to information and the improved acceptance of jazz, as a music that should be taught in school, has raised the standards of musicianship among Vancouver High School Bands. This nine-day intensive workshop series culminating in this performance is an educational outreach program that requires that the student to audition to qualify for entry. We were listening to the result of a focussed program applied to some of the most dedicated young musicians in the area courtesy of the sponsors and Coastal Jazz.

Brian Nation, the impetus behind Vancouver Jazz.com, was listening too. We both decided to go in to the tribute to Al Neil concert set-up to take photos. Brian wanted to interview Al Neil for his website jazz magazine as he remembers hearing him play and has known him for decades. The pictures I took of Paul yesterday did not turn out very well because of the low light conditions, so I welcomed a chance to to go in pre-concert and try again.

Brian and I compared cameras and he showed me his cool new flash diffuser, he took a photo of me with and without and the difference was amazing. Lan Tung, the erhu player in the next group to play in the venue, had asked me to take photos of her new ensemble. I quickly asked Brian if he had time to take a few shots of them during their set-up as his camera was so much better than mine.I think it worked out because I ended up using Lan’s video camera to record the show instead of taking stills.

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The Vancouver Jazz Festival Part II

June 29th, 2008 1 comment

There is only one full day left of jazz festival action and then there is a short curtain call of Canada Day festivities on Granville Island, July 1.

A quick reprise of today’s highlights at David Lam Park and the Roundhouse Community Centre. I volunteered at the Ironworks last night so, I did not get up early and I forget to charge my cell phone. I decided to leave my motorcycle at home and take the bus downtown. I arrived just in time to get into Paul Plimley’s performance on piano with a quartet of mostly European influenced players. Harris Einstadt (Toronto) on drums, bassist Wilbert de Joode and saxophonist Tobias Delius.

In the second piece, Paul’s extended solo developed beautifully out of an ensemble improvisation and was one of the best pieces of music making in the improvised set. The ensemble played very well together, interacting and responding to each other in a musical dialogue. The group’s mood changed dynamically when they played a soulful ballad as the penultimate piece, showing that improvised music doesn’t have to be loud, noisy and full of odd sounds. The final piece demonstrated that it could be exactly that and the concert ended on an energetic chord. Read more…

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Categories: Inspiration

Vancouver Jazz Festival

June 23rd, 2008 No comments

Every year I volunteer at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and last night, June 22, was my first shift as the Crew Chief at the Ironworks. The show last night was fun and unusual as Francois Houle and Mats Gustafsson organized an improvisational program around the idea of a hockey game, Improv Power Play: Canada vs Sweden. The individual solo improvs that started the event were excellent with standouts in my mind being Peggy Lee (defense for Canada) on cello and Per Ake Holmlander (defense Sweden) on tuba. Everyone played extremely well and the night ended with both teams on stage playing together. The drummer or goalie, Raymond Strid, for the Swedish Team (Tre Kroner), was very playful and showed a great sense of humor in this some times “serious music” jazz environment.

June 20

I have already seen some great shows, Barry Guy (bass) and Myra Homberger filled up the room at The Western Front with delightful sonorities and tasteful improvisation. The Baroque violins that Myra specializes in playing, have a unique timbre and blend with Barry’s bass beautifully. This duo has played together frequently and they mixed composed works with less structured pieces in imaginative segues.

Unfortunately, I had a small motorcycle accident, so I was a bit disoriented and missed Benoit Delbecq at the Roundhouse. That hurt more than the bruises I sustained, as I am always inspired by his playing.

June 21

I did catch the set with Benoit Delbecq and Quator Bozzini at the Western Front and it showed me a more restrained side of his musical skill set. I will see them again on Tues and will write more after that.

My daughter recommended Pink Martini as an interesting show and they were pure entertainment. The most unusual feature of this group is the multi-language focus of the songs. Although all of the songs fell within the movie theme + Vegas show + cruise ship show band type of genre; the switch to a different language showed how far the influence of stage band jazz has reached. The group excelled at Latin music and closed with a great version of “Brazil” after singing in Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, English and probably other languages as well. The pianist, Thomas L. Lauderdale, played with flourishes that reminded me of Liberace. Lauderdale is the mastermind behind Pink Martini, and the lovely vocalist Chana (citation) was credited with co-writing the songs and was amazing in her abilitiy to sing in all these different languages. Other members of the 13 piece group were outastandin musicians and helped contribute to the multi-cultural aspect of the performance.

June 22

Despite having an afternoon business meeting regarding the book, I managed to hear a bit of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute (VCMI), a co-production of Coastal Jazz and Blues and the Vancouver Community College. The large ensemble, conducted by Georgio Magenesi, was brilliantly executed with space for all the players, changes in density, dynamics and timbre that maintained interest throughout. One of the best improvised large ensemble pieces for this year. Lan Tung was featured on erhu, Chinese violin, and her tone sang beautifully.

Georgio has taught me a lot about music. Sometimes when I listen to improv, noise music or another genre I don’t completely understand — I switch into another mode of listening. I change from listening for melody, harmony, rhythm and other structures, to listening to a matrix of timbres and densities. If I can break free of my traditional music frames, I can enjoy and experience music in another way. I feel like I have never properly thanked him for this tool, and other things he has told me about conducting. He is the Director of Vancouver New Music and we are lucky that he left his native Italy to enrich out community.

Francois Houle was the Artistic Director of this years VCMI and he did a wonderful job of supporting the players. All of the faculty also play in the festival and this week long series assists Vancouver players to interact with established International artists.

Later, I volunteered at the Ironworks.

Today, I have to go to work and so will miss the shows. However, I might be able to get off early enough to use my pass to see at least one show.

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Categories: Inspiration, VIX at Work

Fear of Success / Fear of Failure

June 4th, 2008 No comments

The commitment I have made to The Live More Lightly Project is becoming a larger part of my life. I battle against my fears as I invest my meager resources into project production. The fear of success is based on the experiences I have had as a performer as I know that attracting attention can be dangerous. As a woman, the idea of riding solo far from home is a risk and on a motorcycle, I am particularly vulnerable. I am trying everything I can to make this tour safe and productive, and I want to focus on the issue, not on myself.

The fear of failure is faced every time I present my artistic work.

Will people like it? Will anyone want me to do my workshop or decide to buy my book? The chance of complete rejection is one that always lurks in the background at any performance or artistic presentation.

I tell myself that no one is making me do this. It is all my own idea and all the deadlines and pressure to complete the project are totally manufactured by me. I am trying to have fun with it, so I have been working on the cover and avoiding the business plan.

The business plan looms though, and I will have to convince my credit union to provide me with a financial safety net. I realize that there is a possibility that I will return to Vancouver in September with no money and no employment. If I am able to organize workshops along the way and sell some books, then I will retain some of my savings. I have to look on the bright side and consider all the positive reactions that I have gathered from people when I talk about my project.

It always depresses me when I have to do accounting, but I have to approach this with confidence and see it through. My life is a series of small tasks that will lead to a completed project. This is one more task that I don’t have to do, but it will make my journey more comfortable and give me a larger margin of safety than my VISA can provide.

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Categories: Inspiration

Song for International Women's Day

January 2nd, 2008 No comments

This is a video of a song written by Victoria Gibson in honour of International Women’s Day. Performed by Victoria and the Seaquam Secondary School Choir for the Society of Women in Science and Technology Conference in 2000 held at the school.

I have performed this song almost every year since I wrote it in 1994. The song was written to include the audience in affirming and celebrating International Women’s Day by giving them the line “Way-way-oh-way-oh” to sing or chant. I chose these syllables because my teenagers were arguing and one was insisting “Way”, while the other stated definitely “No way”. This sparked the idea in my mind that “way” could be a synonym for agreement and also indicate a positive direction, path or way.

This is a Quicktime link
Link to Women’s Day Song

Link to Womens Day Song Information and Lyrics

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Victoria will be performing the Womens Day Song

live in Bellingham on March 8th, 2008

[WA] Whatcom County Intl. Women's Day Celebration -
The Bellingham
Intl. Women's Day Celebration in Bellingham
 with Farmworkers
Whatcom County Women's International Day Celebration****

TIME: 4:00 PM

LOCATIONS: Bellingham, Washington

Maritime heritage Park (500 Block of West Holly Street), the rally will kick

off with a performance by the Raging Grannies and a short talk by Andreia

Borges Ferreira of the Brazil Landless Workers Movement. At 4:30pm we will

be marching downtown Bellingham and ending up at the DreamSpace

(1318 Bay Street) for an evening celebration of dancing, divas, and

desserts!

Focus: Rural Women confronting globalization fight for food sovereignty!

Check out Womens Day events near you on this site:

Womens Day Site

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Categories: Inspiration, VIX at Work