Clinton Swanson (Rod Wilson file).

Laid back blues at Studio 64

By Mike Redfern

The second concert in the 2018 Live at Studio 64 fall series, by the Clinton Swanson Trio, was a laid back, schmoozy, bluesy kind of performance. Kelly Fawcett sang numbers from Brownie McGhee to Otis Reading in a voice that would have sounded right at home in a smoke-filled Chicago night club in the 40s and played slick guitar riffs, alternating with the raunchy voice of Clinton Swanson’s tenor and baritone saxophones and the quieter rhythm of Doug Stephenson’s upright bass. With the sound volume pleasantly modulated to suit the mood of the music and without the heavier beat of a drum set backing the trio, it was a relaxed, gentler night of jazz-infused blues.

For this listener, it was a pleasant reminder of how close jazz and blues are in character. All three of these Nelson-based musicians are talented and skilled professionals, often performing together in a variety of bands, including Doug’s wife, Melody Diachun’s various jazz ensembles. The smooth transitions from one instrument to another and the balanced collaborations of all three together attested to the jazz background they all share.

After the eardrum-vibrating brilliance of the performance by the Gabriel Palatchi Trio in the first Live at Studio 64 concert this fall, the Clinton Swanson Trio provided a gentler contrast in style and tone. The next concert in the series by Guy Davis, New York blues singer and guitarist, and Fabrizio Poggi, Italian harmonica player, is likely to continue this more laid back blues style as they perform the works of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on Sunday afternoon, October 14, starting at 3 p.m., a concert not to be missed if you like the more acoustic style of blues made famous by that incredible pair.

Tickets for this and the final concert by the Cecelia La Rochelle Jazz Ensemble from Vancouver are available at Centre 64 (250-427-4919 or


Kelly Fawcett (Rod Wilson file).

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