Forget the Big Apple, try the Big Potato 

Rotary fundraiser brings ’60s-style jazz to the Pemberton valley

WHAT: Jazz by the Pond: Colin Lovell Quintet

WHERE: Backcountry Adventure Lodge, Pemberton

WHEN: Aug. 27, 8 p.m.

TICKETS: $45

Can you dig it? The late August air hints at impending fall, but the summer sizzle is enough to melt the keys off a licorice stick. The scene is hip, 160 fly cats and burnin’ chicks have left their cribs looking sharp and ready for some hot licks.

The plaintive notes of a saxophone, in the hands of a real finger zinger comes wailing across the water, just begging to be swapping fours with another sweet axe. You feel like you’re dockside with some cool cats in The Big Apple. But whip off your shades, and peel your peepers, you’re in Pemberton, The Big Potato, Daddy-o. For a little bit of bread you find yourself at The Pemberton Centennial Rotary Club first independent fundraiser, Jazz Night By The Pond. Dig it.

Making this jazz fantasy a reality is Lizz Kelly, owner of Pemberton Event Planners and a proud Rotarian. The decision to give her time and energy to the newly formed club was easy for Kelly.

"For me personally, I love where I live," she says. "And I enjoy of being able to give back to the community."

Kelly has drawn on her expertise as an event planner to co-ordinate this unique fundraiser which features the Colin Lovell Quintet playing their ’60s-style jazz against the bucolic background of the Backcountry Adventure Club. Guests will have the rare opportunity of enjoying jazz in a local venue while quaffing a glass of bubbly and munching on nibblies prepared onsite by Evelyn’s Kitchen and Sushi-Ya.

"We really wanted to do something different," says Kelly. "We wanted a distinctive event that would let people know that Rotary was here while being able to have an enjoyable social evening. I think with the combination of the great food, music and venue we’ll achieve that."

The word "distinctive" is music to bandleader Colin Lovell’s ears. His love of ’60s-style jazz – typified by the free form bebop of Miles Davis and John Coltrane – opened the door to creating his own distinctive sound through improvisation, one of the basic musical tenets that separates other musical forms from jazz. It was improvisation that led the drummer to abandon playing rock ’n’ roll in high school.

"There’s more interplay in jazz," says Lovell. "Playing jazz is just more open. There’s less playing in straight time and just more ‘conversation’ between the musicians."

The band, which features both Lower Mainland and Whistler residents, has been enjoying a fairly lengthy conversation. They have been playing together in one configuration or another for a decade. And although they are listed as a quintet, the day we speak, the group is technically a quartet. Lovell is on the lookout for a new sax player before the Pemberton gig, but he doesn’t sound too concerned. The lineup has always been evolving.

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