Pocket rockets 

Who: Hip Pocket

What: Whistler Jazz and Blues Festival

Where: Araxi and Skiers Plaza stage

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15.

Hip Pocket is led by Adam Rohrlick, a multi-instrumentalist with more than 20 years of experience under his belt. The guitarist, saxophonist and keyboardist is also a skilled producer, arranger, songwriter and music teacher. He’s had long tenure in the lounges of some of Vancouver’s coolest lobbies including the Hotel Vancouver and the Four Seasons Hotel.

As a recording artist and session musician, Adam has played on numerous recordings, film soundtracks and performed live on CBC Radio One. He has played in Japan, Spain, and New Orleans, throughout Canada and on cruise lines from Alaska through the Caribbean to New York. He also served as a juror for the 2000 Canadian Juno Awards in the Roots and Traditional Solo Category.

Catch Hip Pocket at Araxi on Saturday night from 7:30 p.m. or Sunday at 12:15 and 4 p.m., on the free outdoor stage.

"At Araxi we are a trio playing instrumental jazz standards with me on guitar, and an accompanying electric bassist and drummer," Rohrlick explained. "Then on Sunday there will be four or five of us, combining instrumentals and vocal tunes. Songs by Santana, Steely Dan, Sting and maybe some more current stuff, some funky instrumentals and Latin jazz plus instrumental arrangements by artists such as George Benson and Ronny Jordan."

Rohrlick said he’s looking forward to Whistler, a place he’s played several times before.

"It’s always a good time there and a band on a good day will feed off the energy of the crowd. Hopefully we’ll get some fun people at our gigs that will bring out the best in us."

Does he equate ski resorts to being similar to gigs on cruise ships?

"Not at all. I equate cruise ships to serving in the army. There is a certain heirarchy. The ship appears really large at first but when you’re out at sea for a long time it actually feels quite small. I guess like ski resorts, they are global villages in a sense. You meet all sorts of people from all over the world. It might be run by a Dutch company with Dutch officers but have staff from anywhere and then musicians from anywhere and then the guests as well. It was an amazing experience that I encourage all musicians to do at least once in their life."

For now though, Rohrlick has settled back into life on the mainland of B.C. where he’s bringing up a whole new crop of musicians.

"The new generation of jazz performers here in Vancouver is amazing. They have tremendous potential."

But will they stick around?

"Ideally a lot of them would like to go to New York if they can make it but Van still has a lot to offer. There’s a great jazz community in the city and festivals like the Whistler Jazz and Blues Fest and the Vancouver Jazz Fest give us all access to artists, agents and fans from all over the world."

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