Jazz ties Bullfrog’s diverse influences together 

WHO: Bullfrog

WHAT: Whistler Jazz and Blues Festival

WHERE: Conference Centre Underground

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 15

Their music could be described as acid-funk laced with salsa grooves, raw energy with hip-soul vibes. That multi-genre fusion actually makes Montreal’s Bullfrog a bit of a chameleon. The sextet has the ability to fit in at any club or event, including headlining Whistler’s 11 th Annual Jazz and Blues Festival.

Jazz is in fact the one element that seems to tie all of Bullfrog’s influences together. Several of Bullfrog’s members come from a background of classic jazz, but with a turntablist and percussionist in the mix, you can expect this band to be anything but traditional.

"We do draw on the improvisational aspect of jazz but we’re not a jam band. We have structured songs but there are times in the show when we do open it up so each musician has time to solo," explains Eric San.

San is a world renowned DJ under the name Kid Koala and also a successful solo recording artist. His instrument is about as untraditional as it gets, but one that is gaining popularity in contemporary jazz.

The Juno-award-winning, Metalwood, will be opening for Bullfrog Saturday night at the Whistler Conference Centre. Although the quartet definitely leans toward a more classic jazz style, Metalwood did incorporate a DJ on their latest album.

"We just celebrated our 1,000th performance. We’ve been doing this for a long time, averaging 150 shows a year," says San. "This idea (of modern jazz) isn’t new to us. We’ve always worked this way as a unit. I actually enjoy the traditional ethics of the old rhythm sections, like Maceo Parker’s band. The work ethic is to keep the party going and to be entertaining. You can be really technical on stage and that can be interesting, but in the end it’s just about the songs and the energy on stage and hopefully the energy in the audience."

After 10 years in the business, the commercial music world is catching on to the value of this unique sound. Bullfrog was signed to Ropeadope this summer, an American jazz-based label, representing projects that have included such greats as keyboardist John Medeski and trombonist Hal Crook. Bullfrog has released several EPs over the years, but never a full-length CD. They’re putting the finishing touches on their first LP, scheduled for release Oct. 16 with distribution in Canada on Atlantic Records.

San says Bullfrog is fond of performing in Whistler because of its laid back vibe. This band always packs the house so be sure to get there early if you haven’t already purchased tickets. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.90, available at the Whistler Activity Centre or at the door.

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