FEAST FOR MUSIC FANS
The Bassment unveils lineup
Don Griffith has been busy in the kitchen, cooking and booking some 70 shows for the Bassment during the next six months.
“I really feel like a chef and I’m making a buffet. And when the people eat, I say, well, we can keep it on next week’s buffet,” says the venue’s artistic director.
He’s anticipating sell-outs on several nights, such as Jack Semple’s two-night stand Nov. 16 and 17 with a BB King tribute. Semple sold out consecutive nights last season.
“Both those shows were fantastic. I played with him both those nights and I’ve never seen Jack so into it. He was at 100 per cent from the very first song.”
Another can’t-miss is The Barrelmen — Berkeley Buchko, Jody Giesbrecht, Tyler MacKenzie, and Craig Wilson — performing in the Acoustic Roots series Dec. 15. The venue’s capacity is around 200: you can really pack them in at a Barrelmen show because nobody wants to sit.
Also in December is Solstice, which has a strong local following. The vocal jazz group featuring Rod Bell, Michelle Clancy, Bob Cowan, Grant Currie, Jean Currie, Lori Newman, Pam Pander and Nancy Sparling has been doing its thing for 40 years. The show won’t be on the actual solstice, which would be cool, but Dec. 16 is close enough.
Griffith must like seafood because there’s a distinct East Coast flavour to the season. JP Cormier and Dave Gunning, both residents of Pictou County, N.S., have teamed up for their debut album fittingly called Two.
“JP is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen. And Dave Gunning is a great singer and songwriter. I love all those East Coast guys,” says Griffith.
And nothing gets more East Coasty than a member of the Rankin Family. The Bassment welcomes Mairi Rankin who, you might have guessed, plays fiddle, sings and step-dances. She’ll be accompanied by Mac Morin, oft seen backing up Natalie MacMaster on piano.
Need more salt water in your diet? Check out the Newfoundland folk songs of Matthew Byrne (Sept. 15), or the roots music of Cape Breton’s Pretty Archie (Oct. 13) or The Once (Nov. 22— another likely sell-out).
Duos are another big ingredient this season. One gooder for blues piano fans is the tandem of Kenny (Blues Boss) Wayne and David Vest with Pianorama on Sept. 30. Each will play one of the club’s two grand pianos.
“Not many rooms have two grand pianos. They’re going to be talking about those pianos, I know,” says Griffith. “Those two are perhaps the most high-profile boogie woogie piano player and blues singers in Canada.”
The list of pairings goes on and on: Fortunate Ones, The Accordion Project, Elias James with Anna Klein, Twin Bandit, Ellestad Wiik Duo, Oliver the Crow, While Rome Burns and Belle Plaine and Blake Bergland.
On the jazz side, Griffith expresses admiration for Juno-winner Diana Panton (Oct. 1). Downbeat Magazine included her album I Believe in Little Things in its best-of 2016.
And of special note is the Dec. 2 appearance of New York jazz singer and pianist Champian Fulton whose image graces the season program.
“She’s the biggest jazz artist coming,” says Griffith. “She’s sort of old-school. She’s really charming. She does basically standards and she’s a good piano player. She’s sort of like a Diana Krall, but I would say it’s more accessible than Diana Krall.”
For more information and dates not listed, go to www.thebassment.ca
New York jazz singer and pianist Champian Fulton — called “the biggest jazz artist coming” — is among the hot tickets on Dec. 2. at The Bassment.
Duos are a big ingredient at the Bassment this season, including Kenny (Blues Boss) Wayne, pictured, and David Vest with Pianorama on Sept. 30.