Banjo playing Jayme Stone is becoming a beacon for creating adventurous sounds that are being soaked up via his concerts and recordings.
With the growing interest in and success of recordings like his 2008 From Africa to Appalachia set and his most recent release Room of Wonders, this Canadian composer, bandleader and instrumentalist, who resides in Boulder Colorado with his wife and child, appears perfectly positioned to become one of the new darlings of acoustic instrumental music.
Headed our way to perform as part of the Fish Creek Concert Series in Calgary on Sunday May 6, before making his way to Edmonton for a two-day stay, Stone is making music that is a feast for fusion lovers.
In the space of a couple of minutes Stone can tell you about his love for the music of J.S. Bach, follow that with insights into how he has developed a passion for traditional Bulgarian folk music and how his musical recipe or recipes are finding favour at jazz, classical and folk music festivals.
“I’m certainly looking at the busiest summer touring schedule I’ve ever experienced,” says Stone who will be appearing at events as diverse as the Oklahoma Mozart Festival, the Rochester Jazz Festival and the Salmon Roots and Blues Festival between June and August.
“To be able to go to a classical festival and play Bach, Beethoven and Debussy and then play a stand-alone show at the same event with this mix of fusion material is a wonderful opportunity,” add the musician who will be working in a quartet setting during his visit to Alberta this week. His band includes one of Canada’s finest trumpet players in Kevin Turcotte and another much sought after jazz player in bassist Andrew Downing.
Turcotte played on the Room of Wonders sessions along with one of Bela Fleck’s favorite fiddle players, Casey Driessen. Also along for the ride and infusing their ideas into the 10 pieces were the bass-playing Greg Garrison of The Punch Brothers, and Grant Gordy who has the guitar chair in the current edition of the David Grisman Quintet.
The tantalizing sounding recording is also dotted with contributions from accordion player Sasha Luminsky, and Olov Johansson who plays a very complex Swedish instrument called the Nyckelharpa.
“The way the sessions came together was wonderful because we were able to spend 4 days at my family’s cottage in Ontario wood shedding. In a very democratic process we worked up arrangements and would chop them up pieces into parts and re-assemble them or change keys. By the time we got into the studio we really had our way with the music,” states Stone who is thrilled with how the crew ventured across so many musical boundaries.
He’s also been lucky enough to present album pieces like Vinicius, Andrea Berget, Ways of the World and Troll Kingdom Polska in “different configurations on stage”, depending on which musicians have been available.
Stone’s two-day stay in Edmonton is a residency at FolkwaysAlive! at the U of A and he sees it as a “pilot project” that he can take to a number of archives around the world.
“Because FolkwaysAlive! houses the entire Folkways record collection, we’ll be doing an archival expedition and picking out some gems from the library. We’ll take inspiration from the ones we use and write new tunes based on them and recycle interesting pieces. That way they are not just sitting there collecting dust,” explains the banjo player.
A banjo workshop is also on the itinerary at the U of A residency and later in the day on Tuesday May 8, Stone’s quartet will set up shop for a performance at The Haven Social Club. If the concert is anything like his performance at Festival Place eighteen months ago it could be one of the highlights of the 2012 concert calendar.
If you haven’t been introduced to the music of Jayme Stone, head to his website and soak up some sounds and video performances of one Canada’s finest musical exports.
As some of you have read here in past postings, I hang my hat from time to time in the beautiful community of Wells, B.C., which is about an hour's drive east and way up from Quesnel.
For such a tiny place, the cultural life of Wells is pretty amazing and inspiring and it looks like the folks at Island Mountain Arts are set to offer up a great season of performances, workshops, camps, and clinics through July and August.
Everything from tie-dying to photography to visual arts workshops are in the mix and the Artswells Pre-Fest Music Camps will once again have lots to offer to both the emerging, and to the ever-evolving, artist.
Dave Bidini returns to Wells for the second year running to host the Songwriting Band Camp that runs from Tuesday July 31 through Friday August 3. Rae Spoon will be presenting two camps, one on the Ukulele which happens August 1 and 2 and then on August 3 Spoon takes students through a day-long workshop on making music with computers.
There are a number of programs for kids of all ages including a Songwriting Day Camp piloted by Corwin Fox and Kia Kadiri that has a four-day run from Tuesday July 31 through Friday August 3.
Celtic Harp players should take note of the 26th Annual International Harp School that offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. The harp school runs from August 14 through August 18.
The instructor for this year's advanced class is Ireland’s Maire Ni Chathasaigh. Ms Chathasaigh is considered one of Ireland’s most important and influential traditional musicians and the late Derek Bell from The Chieftains described her as “the most interesting and original player of the Irish harp today.” What more do we need to know?
Much of the above leads up to the four-day Arts Wells festival which goes from August 2 to 5 in a number of venues in the town.
Head to Island Mountain Arts for complete information and ongoing updates.