Mon, Apr 28, 2014.
After a successful album launch back in March at The Maritime Club in Oromocto, Fredericton singer Jenn Russell brings her jazz/blues swing sound home with another launch, this one Wednesday night at Dolan's in Fredericton. Russell's album, Double Kiss, features a big band sound with a full horn section, violin, lots of great vocals and ten original songs by the artist. Above all, it's fun music, and is perfect for dancing. Russell, a veteran of the popular Fredericton covers band Vinyl2Bits, says there's a growing interest in swing dancing around the province.
"I think there's been a revival," says the sax player and singer. "I think there's a younger generation out there of university people who are into it. There's a UNB swing dance group now, and I think that's taking off. There's a very large range demographic of people interested. Dolan's is mostly a sit-down venue, but there is a teenie-tiny dance floor, so there is room to dance."
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who dance and those who don't. Russell says there's room for both at her shows, but she's really excited to cater to the club dancers. "It definitely inspired me to write the kind of music that I'm doing," she confirms, "because of the dance band that I played in the last five years. I've been to performances where people weren't dancing, and it's just not worth it, we want that interaction with the audience, we want them to be engaged and excited."
Russell isn't just guessing that there's an active dance audience, she's done her homework. She's been contacting groups around the province, and finding just as much interest elsewhere. "The potential is unlimited," she says of touring. "I can build on that for sure, I have a lot of flexibility right now with my day job, and lots of a support at home. I'm definitely going to take advantage of as many opportunities as I can to play. I'm setting up shows all across the province, and marketing to people who are interested in dancing. There's another dance group in Moncton, so they're looking at venues there, and timing for a show. And I'm from Bathurst, so I'm going to do one there. I've talked to some folks in Saint John and St. Andrews to set up some shows there as well."
After the Fredericton show, Russell says provincial dates should start later in May, hopefully with two dance bands on the bill. "For this show at Dolan's, it's just going to be my set. For the shows around the province, there's a tentative plan. A lot of the musicians who play in my band also play in a Latin band called Tumba Sound, and the ballroom dancing crowd loves Latin music. I did a survey of the some of the groups around, and they all like to dance to about 50 per cent Latin music. To have these musicians in my band works out really well. So I'll do my set, which is more swingy and bluesy, and then their set will be Latin."
Jenn Russell's Fredericton album launch show is Wednesday night, April 30, at 8 PM at Dolan's, with some tickets still remaining at the door. Dancing encouraged, but sitting and enjoying works well too.
Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area. They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »
As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »
It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »
Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).