A Vancouver Playlist

Leave it to me to put this posting off until after the Olympics.  Oh well.

Something I considered but didn’t have time for during the Games was to play a solid hour or so of all-Vancouverite music. Some of it I’ve found through the normal radio channels — CDs sent to the station — but a bit of my knowledge comes from a trip to Vancouver about nine years ago.

I didn’t get to do many touristy things, but I saw parts of downtown and the suburbs and got to visit some really cool CD stores including Zulu. There was a French-style crepe stand, 24 hour coffee right next to our hotel (yes!), and, randomly, a comic-book store with Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man) doing a signing. I hope to go back someday with time to do some more outdoorsy activities — or to just be in Stanley Park for a few hours.

Anyway. If you told me to do a Vancouver-themed jazz show, here’s what I’d pull:

* Tony Wilson — “I Am the Walrus” — Pearls Before Swine (Drip Audio, 2007) … This one, I actually did play. The album in general features a heavy rock influence and lots of great guitar riffage.

* ESQ — “Reaction” — Breakfast in Kamloops (self-releaesd, c. 1997) … A blind pick out of Zulu. I wanted to leave Vancouver with some unknown quantities in my pocket. This one, with its colorful cover, appeared DIY enough and edgy enough. Turns out it’s more straight than avant-garde, but with a chipper, youthful air and some crisp composing. This track’s theme is swingy and irresistable to me. I’ve seen Kevin Elaschuk (trumpet) and Dave Say (sax) mentioned in other projects since. Names worth noting.

* Now Orchestra — I love the idea of large orchestras that play long, composed pieces with lots of movements and lots of room for improvising. It’s not just that the music is awesome; it’s the sense of community and accomplishment that comes out of such an undertaking. (Note to self: Still have to check out the Oakland Active Orchestra at the Uptown one of these Tuesdays.) I happen to have their CD Wowow (Spool, 1997), but just about anything from them would do.

* Lisle Ellis/Paul PlimleyKaleidoscope (Hat Art, 1992) … Another one that I actually spun. It’s an album of Ornette Coleman covers, played on bass and piano. Crackling good stuff. Ellis hung out in the Bay Area for years. I got to see Plimley once in the ’90s, and he’s an entertaining performer: loose, and with a sense of humor.

* Peggy Lee — Cellist of note out of Vancouver. I’m running out of steam, idea-wise, but I’d definitely include something by her. In fact, I did, during last Friday’s show: Escondido Dreams, a trio CD with Wilson and Jon Bentley. There’s also the Peggy Lee Band’s self-titled album on Spool (which I haven’t heard) or the big, cinematic sweep of New Code, her recent album on Drip Audio. Dang, I’d forgotten about that one — shoulda pulled that for the show. Maybe next Friday.