Jazzilla, sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, is an annual charity benefit show with class. This year the event took place at Performance Works on Granville Island. Jazzilla began early in the afternoon Sunday March 7th in order to get everyone home in time for the Oscars on television. Jazzilla kind of felt like a mini Oscars ceremony with attractive emcees Dawn Chubai and Fred Lee juggling quippy remarks and a well-dressed audience applauding and laughing frequently. No awards were distributed at this event, but judging the quality of some performances, it felt like they warranted shiny golden statues.
Jazzilla is a fundraiser held by the Shooting Stars Foundation, a charitable organization for people living with HIV/AIDS. Jazzilla hosted sixteen stellar Vocal Jazz interpretations of academy award-winning songs. Did you know "Under The Sea" won the Oscar for best Original Song in 1989? Karin Plato presented a stunning 'jazzification' of the classic from The Little Mermaid. Don Stewart's natural light rasp was delightful in "Moon River". Other highlights include Vancouver's expressive 'Sojourners' with their beautiful vibratos, deep harmonies and soulful tone, Jennifer Scott's scat solos (non-sensical vocalizations) and animal impressions in "Talk to the Animals" (Jennifer actually enacted picking lice out of an unflinching Rene's hair during a bass solo), a performance of "Falling Slowly" from the soundtrack from the motion picture Once, Dawn Chubai's seductive version of 'Sooner Or Later' from the 1990 film Dick Tracy and Bria Skonberg's wicked improvisational trumpeting.
It was fully refreshing to hear Tom Keenlyside, a sax player who really knows how to solo. His style resonant of the great John Coltrane. Drummer Graham Boyle was humbly locked into a groove with Rene Worst on bass. Musical Director and pianist Miles Black played his role very well as leader on a pristine-sounding Fazioli Grand Piano which was donated to the show by Showcase Pianos.
All performers donated their time and fully professional services for the event.
And the award for best collection of jazz vocalists in Vancouver goes to…JAZZILLA!
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