Jazz­ing it up for the win­ter sea­son

The truth is, a lot of us sim­ply want to curl up in a blan­ket cave and hi­ber­nate this time of year

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Todd Ma­cLean Todd Ma­cLean is a lo­cal free­lance writer and mu­si­cian. If you have a com­ment or sug­ges­tion for a re­view, you can get in touch with him at tmaclean@the­guardian.pe.ca or at 626-1242. But he won’t be of­fended if you don’t.

Now in its eighth year, the Win­terjazz con­cert se­ries keeps mu­sic fans cozy dur­ing the colder weather with monthly con­certs. Free­lance colum­nist Todd Ma­cLean warmed up to the mu­sic of spe­cial guest Erin Costello, as well as The Glen Strickey Quar­tet, on a re­cent Satur­day night.

And while we may find it hard to ven­ture out any fur­ther from the liv­ing room couch than maybe the kitchen to get a yummy snack on th­ese win­ter week­end nights, it may help to know that there are still some cool things hap­pen­ing out and about (you ac­tu­ally do at least have a choice in the mat­ter, that is.)

And last Satur­day night, the peo­ple who crowded around the filled ta­bles up in The Pourhouse chose to say bye-bye to their couches and hello to a fun win­ter’s night on the town, for 2016’s first pre­sen­ta­tion of Win­terjazz.

Now in its eighth year, Win­terjazz is the jazz con­cert se­ries brought to life each month dur­ing the colder sea­sons by its host band, The Glen Strickey Quar­tet.

Fea­tur­ing Strickey on sax­o­phones, Alan Dowl­ing on drums, Ian Toms on gui­tar and Deryl Gal­lant on bass, the quar­tet rou­tinely presents a dif­fer­ent artist each month as its fea­tured Win­terjazz guest. This month’s spe­cial guest was Nova Sco­tia jazz singer/song­writer/pi­anist Erin Costelo.

As the 2014 ECMA win­ner for R&B/Soul Record­ing of the Year for her al­bum “We Can Get Over”, the Hal­i­fax-based Costelo has stormed on to the At­lantic mu­sic scene over the past few years, mak­ing waves with her evoca­tive voice and her song­writ­ing that has one foot rooted in ‘60s soul and R& B and the other foot on her own cre­ative path.

An in­tro of jazz in­stru­men­tal mu­sic by the Glen Strickey Quar­tet set the tone for the evening, high­lighted by songs like Time Af­ter Time, Bird on a Wire and St. Thomas (which fea­tured an en­sem­ble of ig­nited so­los by all four play­ers), as Costelo took the stage shortly af­ter 8 p.m.

Seated at her pi­ano and fac­ing a full-yet-quiet room en­veloped around her, Costelo be­gan her solo set with a sweetly-de­liv­ered song from her al­bum Fire and Fuss called The Birds That Wake the Day.

More orig­i­nals like Down, Down and Is it Real fol­lowed, as Costelo then sang a well-re­ceived ver­sion of Ca­role King’s Will You Love Me To­mor­row - pow­ered through with her heartily-warm, vi­brato-tinged voice that cer­tainly bears ele- ments of King’s voice within it.

“I’m gonna be re­leas­ing a new CD at the end of March,” Erin Costelo told the room in be­tween songs within her solo set. “This is a song called Fighter, and I think this might be the first song I re­lease,” she added, as she then treated The Pourhouse crowd to a sneak peak of the sul­try sounds that will be re­leased on this an­tic­i­pated up­com­ing al­bum.

As Costelo was then joined by The Glen Strickey Quar­tet, the night grew to a fi­nale on a se­ries of col­lab­o­ra­tive high notes - most no­tably in Costelo’s tunes such as Give a Lit­tle and Oh Me Oh My.

“I just want to tell you that you guys are the best lis­ten­ing au­di­ence we’ve had all year,” said Glen Strickey near the end of the night, to the crowd that was in­deed hang­ing upon ev­ery note that was de­liv­ered.

Clearly, it was a roomful of lured-out-on-the-town mu­si­clovers who were ex­tremely glad they made the choice for live en­ter­tain­ment in­stead of cozy­couch hi­ber­na­tion en­ter­tain­ment that night.

The next Win­terjazz con­cert you can get out to will be on Feb. 6 with spe­cial guest John MacPhee of Pa­per Lions. On March 9, the se­ries presents Char­lie A’Court, and Kim Dunn will be the Win­terjazz spe­cial guest on April 9.

Next week: Pie-Off and Mu­si­cal Ex­trav­a­ganza with The East­ern Belles at The Dunk to­mor­row night...

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