Real live jazz concerts return to the Italian Cultural Center

Cory Weeds talks about upcoming concerts and new album

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Jazz Nights in Piazza with Cory Weeds Quartet

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When: July 30, August 11 and August 27

Or: Italian Cultural Center

Tickets: $ 35 to centreculturelitalien.ca

Music fans feeling a hole in their life due to a lack of live music, especially jazz, may want to attend one of Cory Weeds’ upcoming concerts.

Along with the Italian Cultural Center, the Vancouver saxophonist and jazz impresario will bring back his series of open-air concerts Jazz Nights in Piazza over the next few weeks, each featuring the Cory Weeds Quartet and one guest: Tilden Webb at piano on the 30th. July, Weeds’ Father Bill on guitar on August 11 and Sharon Minemoto on piano on August 27. We talked to Weeds about the concerts and his new album. The Cory Weeds Quartet, with Chris Gestrin on piano, John Lee on bass and Joe Poole on drums, will also perform at Frankie’s Jazz Club on August 21.

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Q: You released a new album, Day By Day, in June. Have you thought about delaying the release?

A: No. When the lockdown began in mid-March, obviously no one knew how long it was going to last or what effect it was going to have. I remember saying to my wife, “It’s probably going to be two crazy weeks and then that will change.” I never considered closing the record. I had some considerations for other records I was releasing (on his Cellar Live label). What I discovered is that people are at home, they want to listen to music and they want to support artists. We have therefore not changed our release schedule. And we really noticed a resurgence of interest. I measure this from the label’s website, our streaming and digital numbers, and then orders from our global distributor. They are all standing. None of this will make a mortgage payment, but there has been a lot of interest in supporting labels and artists.

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Q: Did you do any live broadcasts?

A: At first I decided I was just going to lay a low profile. And I watched a lot of musicians from the start livestreaming. Some of the quality was poor, some seemed hit and miss. I decided I wasn’t going to do anything. And then a friend of mine, Matt Jorgensen, who’s kind of my alter ego in Seattle, called me up and said, “You gotta do something, people want to hear from you. And I said, “What do you mean, ‘People?’ “” Your people. Now more than ever, people need to get involved. And you are a leader in the jazz community and people want to hear from you. So I started doing something I called Tales of a Club Owner (on Facebook), where I told stories about my time owning the winery and touring, and it was a success. Fast forward to realizing that this situation was going to continue; my need to create work not only for myself but for other musicians took over and I did a series of concerts live from a home in West Point Gray where I had presented concerts before the pandemic.

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Q: And now you do the shows at the Italian Cultural Center. Do you find people hungry for live music?

A: This is something that is rather encouraging. At least in the jazz world, Vancouver was experiencing a live music renaissance. It didn’t necessarily turn into more full-time concert halls, but there were a lot of places that moonlighted like jazz clubs on certain nights of the week. It all changed dramatically because of it, but it created a huge interest in live music and made people appreciate it more than before. Once this is all over, if it ends, hopefully we can count on the same support that we are currently receiving.

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Willie J. Johnson

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