Make room for Spacious Couch 

Vancouver jazz group brings acid jazz, Afro-Cuban to town

Who: Spacious Couch

Where: Brewhouse, June 14, 7 p.m.

Where: Village Square, June 15, 3:45 p.m. & 6:15 p.m.

Andrew Davies, of Spacious Couch, says jazz album Tonal Vision highlights the band’s "street beat, New Orleans sound" with a focus "less dixieland, more party-style."

The sound is complemented by the snare drum, Afro-Cubano influences and the saxophone playing of Cory Weeds, who performed in jazz band Crash this past year in Whistler and is owner of Vancouver’s Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club on West Broadway.

The band, which has been performing at jazz festivals from Victoria to Kaslo to Hornby Island since 1997, features guitarist Jon Roper, bassist Mark Humeniuk, drummer Leo Coodin, and percussionist Hector Navarro.

Together they’ve been as far south as Australia on tour. Their first Australian gig was the day after they landed in Perth earlier this year, where they were doing sound checks in a nearby park venue where it was 37 degrees in the shade.

"You can’t beat it, you know?" says Davies, who also teaches private music lessons in rain-famous Vancouver.

King Cross was one Sydney neighbourhood they played, which he likens to "Gastown by day, and Hastings Street by night; full of weirdos and freaks."

They’ve appeared at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 2000 and 2001, playing catchy titles like the song Revenge of Edgar, which features baritone sax, bass, and a horns-heavy sound.

Guests on Tonal Vision include percussionist Jack Duncan on Drop Dead Gorgeous, and trombonist Brian Harding on You Know She Likes Big Fellas.

"The main part of the tune is where the improv happens and you don’t always know where it’s going to go," Davies says.

"People don’t know where we’ll go with the ‘spacious funk’ music, and neither do we," he adds.

"Most of the time the melody or the head is all written in the main body of the tune you improv."

The band, who play Toronto’s Comfort Zone next month as well as the Academy of Spherical Arts, was nominated for Best Jazz Release at the West Coast Music Awards this year, of which Davies says, "it was fun being star for a day."

Davies says the band looks to artists like John Scofield, Soullive, and Medeski, Martin and Wood as influences.

"Their live trio seems to convey the spontaneity well, and they’re great whatever they’re doing because they have a bit more of a groove element."

For Spacious Couch, the Brewhouse venue size is just right.

On Tonal Vision , they "try to add a bit of variety to the album, tailor-made at North Vancouver’s Baker Street Studios.

And the Brewhouse venue is ideal, which also will open up to a jam session invite to locals.

"Jazz works better in a smaller venue, there’s more of a vibe there. With a couple thousand people at something like a festival, there’s (going to be) a different sense of the band."

Some spoken word sessions will also punctuate the band’s performance.

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