Jazz jams are not new to Kamloops, but it has been some time since one has happened. On December 29 Kris Ruston hosted the first ever jazz jam at The Effie. Musicians and fans from Whitecroft, Lytton, Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Vernon and all parts of Kamloops and a few former Kamloopsians, home for the holidays from various destinations descended upon the North Shore venue to play jazz. They met other musicians and had a good time. The turnout was very good and there was a diversity of musical talent. I counted alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, electric guitar, drums, piano, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, violin, double bass, electric bass, voice, percussions and maybe more. As in most jams the skill levels varied, but all musicians were put in a position to succeed by being among other talented players.
The ages of the musicians ranged from thirteen years old to the senior citizen level. Ruston and the Alex Ward Quartet opened the evening with a set that included “On Green Dolphin Street.” Individual members of this band appeared with other jammers throughout the evening. The impromptu set list for the evening included Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and “Take the A Train,” an instrumental version of “Fly Me to the Moon” popularized by crooner Frank Sinatra, Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” “Have You Met Miss Jones” from the pen of Rodgers and Hart, “Oleo” by Sonny Rollins, Coltrane’s “Blue Trane” and many more.
I was commiserating to a friend that it was too bad there weren’t any vocalists, when a young woman joined Ruston and others on stage. Aylah Jovanovski did a nice version of the classic “Autumn Leaves.” For the final track of the night the rest of the musicians joined the host band with a fifteen minute version of Chameleon which was composed by Herbie Hancock with Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson and Harvey Mason.
It was an incredible night of music and their was a nice mix of ages in the audience. Maybe we will see more jazz jams in 2023. We at CFBX would like to extend a Happy New Year to all!!