From left to right: Toni Blodgett, Doug Rhodes, Joey Smith, Mike Broadley, Tom Ackerman and Don Leppard perform at Hermann’s Jazz Club.

Jazz sextet continues to groove

Toni Blodgett’s love of jazz continues to fuel her band’s unique blend of what she calls “more traditional” music.

She’s been at it for 35 years, but Toni Blodgett’s love of jazz continues to fuel her band’s unique blend of what she calls “more traditional” music.

What it really means is her group has access to a vast repertoire of jazz tunes and has developed the ability to move seamlessly between Boswell Sisters arrangements to New Orleans Jazz and on to gospel, ragtime and pretty much any swinging jazz melody you can imagine.

Blodgett originally with the Dixieland Express Band for more than 10 years, but formed her own group, the CanUS Hot Jazz Band, in recognition of the fact she’d gathered the best talent she could find from both sides of the border. The band has played to critical acclaim throughout North America and at the 2003 Sun Valley Jazz Festival, where Blodgett was named the “First Lady of Jazz” in recognition of her talented representation of Boswell Sisters arrangements.

These days the group plays as regulars at Hermann’s Jazz Club (753 View St.) where they appear twice a month.

Originally formed as a quartet in 1991, the CanUS Hot Jazz Band travelled throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada and in 2002 played to rave reviews at the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage.

These days the band plays as a sextet, including Toni Blodgett on piano and vocals, Joey Smith on bass and vocals, Don Leppard on drums, Doug Rhodes on alto and soprano sax, and Tom Ackerman on sax and clarinet.

They blend tight group numbers with stunning individual performances to create a show where their sound meshes into a night of unforgettable music.

Although the band decided to stop touring in 2006, Blogett still considers the odd out of town gig.

“We played in Kelowna a while back and had a lot of fun playing to a packed house. It was fun, but these days a big consideration is whether we get to go home to our own beds,” said Blodgett with a laugh. “We’ve travelled enough for a lifetime.”

The group’s twice monthly gigs at Hermann’s are always a favourite and the family friendly venue is conducive to children joining their parents and grandparents to learn an appreciation of the music.

Blodgett said seeing a child on the dance floor, grooving to the tunes with their parents, is about the most satisfying aspect of her performances.

“I want to share tunes like Mississippi Rag, and Sit Right Down with a generation that maybe has never heard some of these great songs,” she said. “These are fabulous pieces and they can take your breath away given the chance.”

Tickets can be found at hermannsjazz.com.

 

Just Posted

Bill Gaston, Monique Gray Smith capture Victoria Book Prizes for 2018

Butler Book Prize and Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize winners collect $5,000 each

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read