Blues Berries to play blues, swing and all that jazz

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By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Morinville Community Cultural Centre has a swinging blues deal coming up Apr. 13 when the Servus Credit Union-sponsored Blues Berries show comes to town.

Blues Berries consists of Arnt Arntzen on guitar, Evan Arntzen on saxophone, Jennifer Hodge on bass, and Andrew Millar on drums.

Though aimed at elementary school aged children, the Blue Berries’ Jazz, Jive and Wail show introduces children and their families to various up-tempo, danceable jazz styles, including bebop, swing, and cool.

INTERVIEW WITH MANAGER / C0-CREATOR KEVIN BRUCE

Morinville News: What can Morinville children and their families expect from the upcoming performance?

Kevin Bruce: The kids and their families can expect an hour of lively, upbeat, danceable and singable tunes in a highly interactive performance that covers a broad range of blues-influenced styles.

MN: The show is subtitled Jazz, Jive and Wail, an obvious play on words with Jump, Jive and Wail, Louis Prima’s single off his 1956 album The Wildest. Is that merely a play on words or is there a bigger connection?

KB: Louis Prima’s 1956 hit, Jump, Jive, and Wail is one of the tunes used in the show. The title of the show is an obvious play on this particular song title, and was used because it alludes to the livelier styles of blues-influenced music used in the show.

MN: Blues Berries covers a full spectrum of music styles from blues to cool jazz, but there is an emphasis on performing many of the standards of jazz. What do you hope audiences will take away with them in terms of understanding about jazz?

KB: We hope that audiences will come to an understanding that no musical style was created in a vacuum, but is a result of myriad influences that preceded it. For example, one of the songs in the show is Ray Charles’ What’d I Say where the influence on rock and roll is readily apparent from the strong backbeat. Later in the show, the group plays a tune by Stevie Ray Vaughn where exactly the opposite occurs: blues being influenced by rock. In yet another piece, four different versions of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads are played in succession starting with a version faithful to the original Delta blues from the 1930s, and culminating with a cover of Eric Clapton’s rock version of the late 1960s.

MN: What would you say to encourage parents – who are more accustomed to hearing Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift coming from their children’s MP3 players than Duke Ellington or Miles Davis – to come to the show?

KB: I’d say to parents that this is an excellent opportunity for your kids to learn where the music they listen to came from, and even inspire them to listen to music from bygone eras. The songs for this show have been carefully selected for their audience participation possibilities. There are numerous sing-a-long, clap-a-long, call-and-response numbers, and no Blues Berries show would be complete without the entire audience getting up on its feet dancing.

Blues Berries will perform Apr. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The show is sponsored by Servus Credit Union and tickets are $10 for general admission. Tickets are available at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre box office, Servus Credit Union or through Tix on the Square.

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