The Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation, better known as VEJI, is in its 21st year of regular performing and special presentations. VEJI's goal is to present intense passion and sonic diversity by respecting the past, having fun in the present and looking forward to the future. Their most recent CD "V" represents these goals and displays the diversity that makes up the comtemporary jazz musician's palette.
On the strength of their live performances at festivals and the recording, "V", Hugh Fraser & VEJI have been invited to tour Brazil in May, 2001. This will be VEJI's first tour outside Canada since their 1985 appearance in New York City. Looking ahead, a workshop and performance of VEJI is being planned for August 2001 at the Lincoln Centre in New York City.
VEJI has created an energized backdrop for guest soloists Frank Foster, Slide Hampton, Don Thompson, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, and Julian Priester. VEJIperforms mainly original music, but has performed important works at jazz festivals such as Charles Mingus's "Black Saint" and "The Sinner Lady," and John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme."
Their first album, "VEJI," was released in 1980 after winning the Canadian Stage Band Festival, "Classic VEJI" followed in 1986 on a Toronto label, and "VEJI NOW!" recorded with over 20 musicians was short listed (top ten) for a Grammy in 1990.
All of VEJI's members are major forces in jazz performance, composition, and education in the Canadian Pacific North West. Past members are thriving in New Yourk and Toronto, and still VEJIfy when near enough.
Whether VEJI is playing screaming bop, Afro Latin grooves, white noise or death fusion, the combination of horns, drums, strings and voices will transport the listener to another level of bliss through sound, then reurn them to their environment refreshed and energized.
Leading VEJI is Juno Award winning trombonist/pianist/composer Hugh Fraser.