Clinton Swanson and Melody. (Rod Wilson file)

Clinton Swanson and Melody. (Rod Wilson file)

Review of Melody Diachun Jazz Quintet concert, Live at Studio 64, October 28, 2017

A little sax makes a lot of difference

MIKE REDFERN For the Bulletin

When Melody Diachun added a saxophone to the line-up for her concert at Studio 64 last Saturday, she turned her laid-back quartet into a dynamic quintet. Clinton Swanson’s hot jazz solos and more mellow accompaniments to Melody’s vocals added a sultriness to the songs not easily achievable with the traditional quartet backing of guitar, bass, and drums. Not that Doug Stephenson on guitar, Mark Spielman on bass, and Steve Parrish on drums didn’t hold their own in contributing to the overall quality of the sounds this group produced. Each is a virtuoso in his own right and we were given ample evidence of this in the frequent solos that interspersed each number.

It was an interesting program, reflecting the musical tastes of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, a period when jazz moved from the traditional Dixieland jazz of the first half of the century to a variety of modern jazz interpretations of other contemporary musical styles by bands across Europe and North America. For this concert Diachun had selected what seemed at first glance an unlikely repertoire of Beatles and Bossa Nova numbers, given that the one is British rock and the other Brazilian samba & jazz. As it turned out, this was an inspired combination, providing changes of mood and rhythm that were endlessly entertaining.

Among the many fine renditions of popular songs from these two sources were a number of highlights to which the audience responded with particular enthusiasm. The bossa nova number, The Girl from Ipanema, by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, followed immediately by Lennon and McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby was, perhaps, the first high point reached and a tender rendition of Paul McCartney’s Blackbird, a song about a black woman fleeing oppression in the USA, was definitely the second. My personal favourite was a tender duet sung by Melody to husband Doug Stephenson’s scintillating accompaniment on guitar of John Lennon’s Imagine. Left me with a lump in my throat!

That the almost full house enjoyed this concert was made clear by the clamour for an encore. It certainly was a most satisfying evening of music, perhaps all the more so for the nostalgia felt by many of us who were around when these songs were first heard.

We are fortunate to have so many excellent musicians resident in the Kootenays to provide us with music to suit almost every taste. Up next at Studio 64 is the classical cello–piano duo of Paul Marleyn and Mauro Bertoli from Ottawa on Wednesday, November 8, playing a selection of cello-piano sonatas and other works. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25. Then, on Friday, November 17, the six-piece Rooster Blues Band from Calgary will conclude this season’s Live at Studio 64 series with a concert that promises to be lively enough for dancing. Advance tickets for this are $22 KAC members, $24 non-members, or $26 at the door. Call Centre 64 at 250-427-4919 or email for more information.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read