TicketMOMster Review: dig! Magazine Rent Party @ The Park Theatre
dig! Is a free bi-monthly magazine devoted to the Winnipeg jazz scene. Every year they host a “rent party” at the Park Theatre because “free” things have to be paid for.
Editor and bassist, Steve Kirby and Associate Editor, Charlene Diehl started the show off by explaining why dig! was created.
When Steve arrived as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba, he discovered Winnipeg had a disconnected jazz scene. Now in it’s twelfth year, dig! Magazine continues to keep musicians and the general public abreast of all jazz events and culture in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg’s Jazz scene strongly supports the up and coming musicians in the city. After a brief thank you to sponsors and volunteers, Steve introduced his ensemble made up of first year students and graduates of the University of Manitoba Jazz program.
I really love sitting in the audience watching these students. I try and cement in my mind how their playing feels now, because it will probably be different in a year.
Each of these kids has the potential to blow me away with their talent. Who knows what’s going to happen with them and their education, who knows where they’ll go or what they’ll accomplish? I find all that uncertainty and potential very exciting.
I wasn’t particularly struck by singer, Micaylee Rodyniuk’s voice until she relaxed and released “Long As You’re Living”. The goose bumps were shooting up and down my legs.
She held some fantastic notes during Steve Kirby’s “Speck Of Dust” as well, and then guitarist, Chenoa McKelvey played a dreamy solo; her style in that tune reminded me a bit of Keith Price.
Other musicians I’ll be keeping my eye on include: pianist, Kyle Zavitz (“Speak Like A Child” was impressive); drummer, Jamar Clark; and bassist, Ilya Osachuk. I’m looking forward to seeing them around town and watching their progress.
The second ensemble was trumpeter, Derrick Gardner’s group, called “Promise”. The musician that stood out the most for me in that group was drummer, Kevin Waters. I’ve seen him play numerous times and I was always pretty neutral about him.
Something has happened to Kevin Waters. Kevin is becoming quite the jazz drummer. There were times when I was a bit mesmerized by him and his playing. He looked confident and comfortable behind the kit, smiling freely at bassist, Jared Beckstead-Craan (who also had a great set).
The two of them seemed to have a good connection and they played off each other, especially during “MacDaddy Grip”. During that tune, the horns and singer left the stage while Jared was playing his solo. Then they all came back on stage, played one note, and walked off again. They did that three times and it was funny every time.
Other musicians that caught my attention included: baritone sax, Sean Irvine (“Paper Moon” and his own arrangement of “7/4 Line”); pianist, Haewook Kim; and trombonist, Anthony Bryson who both had great solos during “MacDaddy Grip”.
Both ensembles were entertaining, but the party really started when Papa Mambo hit the stage. I’m surprised only two people got up and danced, because the Park Theatre was jumping. Every song was upbeat and fun to watch and listen to. Rodrigo Munoz kept the Latin vibe strong with his energy and lively stage presence.
The U of M Faculty joined Papa Mambo on stage during “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” and I was thrilled to hear trumpeter, Derrick Gardner play. I don’t see him nearly enough around town.
Anna-Lisa Kirby shone on the last half of “Caravan” displaying the power and control in her voice.
For me, the underlying theme of the night was “progress”. It was so interesting watching the first and second ensemble; students at the beginning of their careers and then the seasoned musicians in Papa Mambo and the U of M Faculty. There’s a definite difference and yet it’s fascinating to watch the students on their way.
These rent parties are always worth the money and the magazine is worth the support. Pick up a copy and discover the amazing musicians right here in our city.
P.S. On a personal note, during this show, not once did I think about the recent, unexpected death of my father. That’s no small feat, I’m basically grieving 24/7. This show took me away from that for three hours and it was exactly what I needed. I’m going to bed with a smile on my face. Finally.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters