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Midnight Channel cap off busy week of jazz music with packed CD release party

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 Lethbridge had an excellent week of multiple jazz shows, Nov. 22-25, capped off by a beautiful performance  by local jazz collective Midnight Channel, who had a full, standing room only house for the CD release party for their debut album “Gemini Sunrise.” Saturday, Nov. 25. 

Stuart Dalby playing  with Midnight Channel. Photo by Richard Amery


Matthew Erdmann - Bass; Brandon deGorter - alto sax; Stuart Dalby - tenor sax; Chris Bernhardt - keyboards; Gabby Cabrerra-Lopex - percussion and drummer Drake McCheyne played an inspired and intense set of extended jams, mostly from their new CD. 

Matthew Erdmann playing  with Midnight Channel. Photo by Richard Amery


They often play Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens on Thursday, and have quite a dedicated and vocal following, looking at the size of the audience, who eagerly wecomed everybody’s solo with rousing cheers.


They laid down a hypnotic goove  capturing the audience in a web of   crazed jazz melodies, solos and plenty of percussion.

 Stuart Dalby played percussion on a wooden frog for one of the songs.


 There were a lot of keyboards , and plenty of saxophone, with two saxophonists cutting loose and a fantastic bassist Matthew Erdmann, who switched to an unusual exotic looking West African  instrument  called a ngomi for extra low bass notes.

 They were full of joy as all  of the musicians displayed some impressive chops, which drew rousing applause.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 December 2023 14:07 )

Badlands bring country and more to the Owl Acoustic lounge

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New local  alternative country band Badlands returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 24 for a good sized crowd.


The band, including lead singer, rhythm guitarist Ali Cat, bassist Devin Gergel, drummer Avery Friesen and lead guitarist Brett Skauge.


Badlands playing the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov. 24. Photo by Richard Amery

Their second set was country, with plenty of songs about heartbreak and whiskey and regrets and often all three.


 One of their songs was a pretty solid ’50s doo wop style  number.


Brett Skauge sang lead on a song I think was called “ Times like These.”


 Skauge and Ali sang a duet about being wrong for each other that was a highlight.


They ranged between traditional country, honky tonk, a touch of outlaw, some 50s pop and ’90s country.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 December 2023 13:17 )

Local musicians remember Brent Sorge with a variety of music at Brentapalooza

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 The community came together for Brentapalooza, Nov. 25 at the Slice,  to remember  beloved scenester Brent Sorge, who passed away in 2021.


Jolene Draper and Steve Martin playing Brentapalooza at the Slice. Nov. 24. photo by Richard Amery

 Old friends I hadn’t seen for years were  hanging off the walls. I haven’t seen the Slice so busy in months, some of the staff who were off duty and ready  to celebrate Sorge’s  life, instead rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to serve an enthusiastic crowd  determined to honour the consummate  party animal and most boisterous  voice in the room by drinking their weights in Pilsner while listening to some of his awesomely talented old friends.


A touching slideshow of Brent Sorge through the years played over the fireplace. Most of them showing Brent in his element— as the life of the party with good friends or  with his daughter, plus a

few early shots from his childhood.


The  audience included a lot of childhood friends and local musicians he always supported.

 Though the doors technically opened in the afternoon, so people could watch Sorge’s favourite hockey team the Edmonton Oilers,  Tim Roth opened the music portion of Brentapalooza with a solo 

set of accordion music around 8:30 p.m.


Jolene Draper and Steve Martin played an eclectic set of originals, jazz/ folk musician inspired by Sorge, plus a few choice covers including Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike, which Steve Martin sang.


Skinny Dyck playing Brentapalooza at the Slice, Nov. 24. photo by Richard Amery

They even gave a musical nod to Randy Shaver, a beloved member of the music community also passed away way too young, by playing one of his songs . 


Little John

Jon Little playing Brentapalooza at the Slice, Nov. 24. photo by Richard Amerywith Jon Vornbrock on drums and Tyler Bird played a short but sweet set of  rock and roll.


 Tyler Bird played a solo set beginning with a tender acoustic set, then the multi-instrumentalist decided to do something a little different —  rapping.


 Shaela Miller and her top notch band of Taylor Ackerman, mostly playing keyboards for this show, Skinny Dyck on steel guitar, Tyler Bird on drums and bassist Paul Holden, played a solid set of mostly new ’80s pop inspired new music including the new single “ Masquerade.”


 I missed Berserker’s closing performance. 


Brentapalooza was a fine tribute to a man many people miss in the community.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 December 2023 13:12 )

Percussionist Graeme Francis plays jazz with a Texas twist and Lethbridge talent

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 I don’t get to a lot of jazz gigs, but was glad to catch and amazing evening of improvised jazz music featuring PEI born, Houston, Texas based percussionist  and  drummer Dr.Graeme Francis at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Wednesday, Nov. 22.


 Francis was backed by a couple of Lethbridge’s most seasoned performers– upright bassist Kurt Ciesla and saxophonist Michael Carter.


Graeme Francis, Michael Carter and Kurt Ciesla playing the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov. 22. Photo by Richard Amery

While Francis, who also played music at noon at the University earlier in the day, was the main event, the local talent pretty much stole the show.

 The Owl was packed for the concert with enthusiastic but also enraptured jazz aficionados, who gave Ciesla and Carter rousing  rounds of applause  for their multiple solos.


Graeme Francis, Michael Carter and Kurt Ciesla playing the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov. 22. Photo by Richard Amery

 Carter, seated centre stage, who I’d never seen before, played beautiful lines mostly on soprano saxophone, though he switched to tenor for the last couple songs.


 Ciesla got to really show off some impressive skills on upright bass.

 Francis seldom took the spotlight, preferring to let the local talent shine,  though he was alternately using toms, sticks, brushes and even his hands on a couple songs to hold down the rhythm.


 There wasn’t a  lot of talk or song introductions, though Francis did introduce a beautiful John Coltrane song “ Equinox”   which let Carter show his best tasty, soulful chops.


 The trio was so hot, there weren’t any more notes left to play after their set,  which is what Francis observed after they were called back for an encore anyway.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 November 2023 16:47 )

Plenty of blues and jazz and Kids Choirs leading into December

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There are a lot early week shows happening this week and November turns into December.

 Gabe Thaine was to  host a blues jam at the Slice beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 28 , but unfortunately it has been cancelled. Keith Catfish Woodrow will host  the next blues jam on  Dec. 12 at the Slice .


Steve Keenan will be playing a show with Paul Kype art Hinkers Pub on Saturday, Dec. 2. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has their weekly open mic tonight as well.


 Casino Lethbridge features the Cody hall band on Friday and Saturday.


James Oldenburg and Paul Holden return to the Watertower Grill, Wednesday,  Nov. 29.

 They also play  a Christmas themed performances at Streatside Eateries last jazz Saturday of the year on Dec. 2 from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. 


 The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra continues their collaborations with local kids choirs on Wednesday,  Nov. 29 with Nicholas Sheran Junior and Senior Choirs, Dr. Probe Senior Choir and St. Patrick’s Fine Arts Division 1 Choir performing on Wednesday.


Coalbanks  Junior and Senior Choirs , plus Dr. Hamman Elementary School Choir and St. Mary’s School choir perform with the Symphony on Thursday, Nov. 30. Performances are at 7 p.m. each night.. Tickets are $10.


Jared Wolf Child and Cole Howg return to the Good Times Stage to  host pro-Amateur night on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Admission is five dollars.

Ed Hill returns to Good Times to make you laugh, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2.

 The Slice has an open mic on Nov. 29.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2023 18:46 ) Read more...
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