March 31 promises to be a special night at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria.
Not only is this Wednesday night livestreamed show headlined by the Tom Vickery Trio raising funds for the B.C./Yukon Kidney Foundation, it’s offering a musical glimpse into the past.
Club founder, the late Hermann Nieweler, was a kidney transplant recipient in 2010. The procedure followed three or so years on dialysis and gave him several more years of life, during which he frequently hosted fundraising shows and supported the cause in other ways.
“After he had his operation, the Kidney Foundation became a big thing in his life,” said Vickery, who himself had a kidney removed back in 1964. His trio, in its various iterations, has played in several of the aforementioned fundraisers.
Nieweler’s son Stephan, a current co-owner of the club, will attend the March 31 event – it winds up Kidney Awareness Month– to talk about the impact receiving a new kidney had on his father, their family and the Victoria music scene.
By his count, pianist Vickery has played hundreds of shows since his first performance at Hermann’s back in 1986, and has played with countless musicians in that time.
“Plus, this is the 40th anniversary of Hermann’s, and in celebration of that we’ve invited a few guests to play,” he said.
Along with current trio members Rob Johnson on bass and Dave Emmery on drums, Vickery’s original drummer Charlie Gates will play a few tunes. Sharon Fisher, formerly of Hermann’s staple act Elmore’s Bar and Grill, will channel Nieweler by playing the washboard on a couple of numbers.
Vickery also mentioned how important giving young musicians performance opportunities over the years was to Nieweler.
“Younger people were near and dear to Hermann’s heart,” he said. To reflect that, other guests for the evening include Esquimalt High grad Sean Fyfe, who received his jazz degree at McGill University and his masters from Manhattan School of Music in New York; and prominent jazz musician Ashley Wey.
The group will perform songs mostly written by musicians who have performed at Hermann’s over the years, Vickery said.
Donations to the foundation can be made at kidney.ca, where you can also find information about becoming an organ donor (look under Get Involved). Direct donations to the musicians and the venue can be made at ArtsOnView.ca/Donate. A list of upcoming online shows is at hermannsjazz.com.