Kevin Hicks
Life and the Drum

...the Road Back Home

Larry Miller Quintet
Freya's Song




Saxophonist/Composer Larry Miller is an active performer and teacher. He has two CD releases as leader that features his original compositions and his ability on jazz standards. His CD “Freya’s Song” was released in November of 1997, and his second CD “Storm Head” was released by the jazz/funk/fusion group Navica in July 1999. Both CDs have seen radio play. Ross Porter, host of the popular “After Hours” CBC radio show, has featured selections of “Freya’s Song”. Miller currently leads his own group that has performed on the BCTV News hour and at many jazz festivals and venues throughout Western Canada.

 Miller’s compositions are gaining international notice as his Suite for Saxophone Quintet and Woodwind doubles has been published through Brazinmusikanta Publications of New York, U.S.A.  This Suite was premiered at the World Saxophone Congress at Montreal in July 2000. Miller was commissioned to write the piece by the Pacific Saxophone quartet of Victoria, B.C. and was the featured soloist with this group. In November of 2000 his arrangement for female vocalist and big band was performed at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo B.C. featuring Elizabeth Ryan on vocals and Miller on Alto Saxophone. This performance was part of the Port Theatre’s tribute to Remembrance Day.

            Miller has played in small and large ensembles with players such as Hugh Fraser, Campbell Ryga, Ross Taggart, Ian McDougall, Don Clark and Mike Herriott. With these players he has performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Duke Ellington’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. He has performed lead Tenor sax for the big bands of Dal Richards, (when on Vancouver Island), Chris Millington, noted trumpeter Gary Guthman, Nanaimo’s NMA, and the exciting mini-big band called Decadence. He has performed lead alto, tenor, and the Bari sax chair with Hugh Fraser’s International Jazz Orchestra. This group is dedicated to performing the works of past masters and the compositions of its members. Miller has performed in numerous musicals such as “The Music Man” and “Kiss Me Kate”.  He also plays in Blues groups, does free-lance jazz gigs, and works in show bands on cruise ships. Miller played Saxes, clarinet and flute with John Forest (Bass) in the Chemainus Theatre’s

Production of “Hello Dolly” during the summer of 2002.

            Miller was born in Port Alberni B.C. His education consists of an Associate in Music Diploma from Malaspina College, and an Honors Degree in Music from York University in Toronto. “My time in Toronto in the 1980s was invaluable for me as it allowed me to hear and participate in a great variety of music.” He has studied saxophone with Lynne Greenwood, Pat Labarbera, David Mott, Phil Dwyer, Mike Murley, and Steve Jones. He has studied clarinet with Earl Thomas and flute with Jennifer Cluff. He moved back to Vancouver Island in 1990 to complete a Bachelor of Education Degree (1992) and a Masters in Performance/Composition (1994) at the University of Victoria.

            Miller is currently rehearsing a new quintet that will perform his original compositions in preparation for recording and touring.  He teaches at Malaspina University-College, the Conservatory of Music in Nanaimo B.C. , and Shawnigan Lake private School.

Lloyd English & Sia Samimi
Dances of the Veils

Style: Jazz
Released: 2001
Produced by: Lloyd English
Recorded: Estania Audio Production, Edmonton, Alberta, & The Barn, Salt Spring Island

An eclectic mix of tunes called

"Flaperjalatin" Guitar Ensemble
menco PERsian JAzz LATIN

Sia Samimi  - Guitar
Lloyd English - Guitar
Buff Allen - Drums, Percussion
Ken Lister - Double Bass
Carolyn Knight - Vocals
Diana English - Vocals
Neda Yamach - Violin

Two talented guitar players have teamed up to create a unique and exciting blend of styles they call Flaperjalatin, a mixture of Flamenco, Persian, Jazz and Latin. Lloyd English and Sia Samimi met in Edmonton, Alberta, in late 1999 and spent the next year working on each other's compositions and writing new ones. The result is Dances of the Veils, a collection of eclectic, energetic and soulful tunes with international flavours. It was released in May 2001.

Lloyd English has played the guitar since he was a child. He studied at Vancouver City College and took private coaching in voice and guitar. To expand his horizons he moved to Toronto to study classical guitar with Eli Kassner, jazz with Tony Braden and Steve Brundage, and harmony and composition with Darwin Aitken. During the 80s he performed in several pop bands and toured extensively throughout western Canada and Washington.

He later moved with his family to Victoria, B.C., where he opened a teaching studio and worked as a freelance guitarist/vocalist. Several years later he and his family moved to Salt Spring Island, where he hosted a weekly jazz night for five years, directed a community choir, promoted concerts, played and studied.

Lloyd currently lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, and with his wife, Diana, commutes by ferry daily to manage their music store and lesson studios in Sidney, on Vancouver Island.  He also works as a freelance musician and producer.

When Sia Samimi was introduced to over 10,000 Edmonton Folk Music Festival fans in 1999, Cathy Ennis of CKUA radio called him "an astonishing master of the guitar. He amazes audiences with his unusual style -- influenced by Latin, jazz, classical and Persian roots". A signature of Sia's music is his use of the guitar as a percussion instrument. In 1998 Sia recorded his CD Dedications. The CD was nominated in the Best Instrumental Recording category at the 1999 Alberta ARIA awards, as well as in the Outstanding Instrumental Recording category at the 1999 Prairie Music Awards. Sia was invited to give 22 concerts at the 2000 World Expo Fair in Hanover, Germany, followed by several concerts in Hungary.

Recording of Dances of the Veils took place in early 2001 in Edmonton and at Randy Bachman's studio, The Barn, on Salt Spring. The guitar and violin tracks were recorded in Edmonton, and were then digitally transported to The Barn where Buff Allen and Ken Lister recorded the percussion and bass tracks. Vocal tracks were then added by Carolyn Knight and Diana English.

Marc Atkinson Trio II

The trio’s new CD-The Marc Atkinson Trio II, recorded at Vancouver’s Mushroom Studios pursues a direction similar to that of the first. But the group interplay displayed on tunes like the intricate arrangement of Bix Beiderbeck’s, In A Mist and the dazzling original, Fredrick’s Closet, heralds a new level of musicianship and creativity for the trio. Whether finessing the beautiful jazz standard Tenderly, segueing from Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique to The Sunshine of Your Smile or pounding out the playful power chords that begin Boilermaker, one of seven Atkinson originals that grace the CD, the trio maintains its exciting, unique musical identity.

This is jazz that is original, complex and challenging in its conception and delivery but remains accessible and absorbing. The music of The Marc Atkinson Trio good-naturedly welcomes all listeners aboard for an intriguing, exhilarating and unforgettable ride.

Melissa Hill
Across and Back

A Vancouver born musician with a Bachelor of music from U.B.C., witha major in piano performance, Melissa is a consummate professional with a style all her own. Already with one successful EP to her credit, and a full length album of original music, she is poised to take the Canadian music scene by storm.
Her music is a blend of standards and originals, largely influenced by the earlier styles of composers such as Gershwin, Porter, Ravel, Evans, Tyner and Hancock, all given a unique modern twist. Her vocal influences range from Holly Cole, to Cassandra Wilson, to Liz Wright, and Sarah McLachlan. She seamlessly weaves old and new to create her distinct sound.
A seasoned performer Melissa has entertained audiences across the globe with her unique blend of Jazz and Pop.
Her seasoned quintet consists of four Montr? based musicians with extensive experience in the music industry. From composing, to arranging, to producing, and with performances at major festivals around Canada, Europe, and Asia, these musicians have done it all. Her new album, "Across and Back" is truly a Pan-Canadian album, reflecting the wonderful diversity of this great nation.
Melissa Hill is a rising talent in the Canadian music scene. A woman destined for greatness, her music can be gentle or powerful, simple or complex, but no matter what, it is always unforgettable.

Michael Kaeshammer

Released November 2003
Michael Kaeshammer - Piano, Prepared Piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Vocals
Johnny Vidacovich - Drums
Ben Wolfe - Bass
Kevin Breit - Guitar, mad man on "Soundtrack to Something Beautiful"
Richard Bell - Wurlitzer on "Cry To Me"
John Johnson - Flute, Alto Flute, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bartitone Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Brian Barlow - Percussion, Vibes, Marimba
Michael Dunston - Tambourine
Produced & Arranged by Peter Cardinali
Tracks 2, 3 & 11 Arranged by Michael Kaeshammer
Engineered by Denis Tougas

Mike Herriott Quintet
Free At Last

1 used cd available in excellent condition

Mike leads his highly-acclaimed quintet, which has performed on both ocean coasts of Canada and recorded numerous times for CBC radio. The quintet appears on the recent CBC compilation CD release celebrating 50 years of the show Hot Air.

Herriott toured Canada again last year as lead trumpet with Hugh Fraser and the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI). He has also performed with Kenny Wheeler, Slide Hampton, Pat Labarbara, Keith Copeland, and Maynard Ferguson.

Artists: Mike Herriott (trumpet,flugelhorn, and fretless electric bass), Dennis Esson (trombone), Ross Taggart (piano), Ken Lister (bass), Keith Copeland (drums), Guest: Hugh Fraser (bass trombone and trombone solo)

Miranda Sage
Standards and Originals in a Jazz Key








Artists: Miranda Sage (vocals), Hugh Fraser (piano and trombone), Rick Kilburn (bass), Blaine Wikjord (drums)

Monik Nordine
not just to but over the moon

Style: Jazz
Released: 1998
Producers: Monik Nordine & Zografos Caramanos
Recorded: Studio Karisma, Studio Tempo, Montreal

What qualities define the jazz musician? Is it simply love for the music, an adventuresome spirit or obsession? Or is it a strong work ethic and a firm set of goals? It's likely that the best players have an abundance of all of these characteristics.

Since she left Salt Spring some 15 years ago as a budding jazz saxophonist, Monik Nordine has immersed herself in the jazz life, studying at UBC and then at McGill in Montreal, putting in the requisite thousands of hours of practice, and playing hundreds of gigs. She is now a brilliant, seasoned musician and has produced her debut recording called Not Just To But Over The Moon.

From the free-swinging modal piece Fives, which opens this collection, to the lively calypso Mary Lou, which winds it up, Monik Nordine has assembled a varied set of tunes, which she composed and arranged, music very strongly in the unique and distinctive tradition of original Canadian jazz which has emerged in the last couple of decades, developed and nurtured by such people as Kenny Wheeler and Hugh Fraser.

While the bittersweet sound of Monik's soprano sax permeates this recording, it is in fact a very democratic affair, which amply features each of her very capable sidemen. Because of You opens with a bluesy, soulful duo with string bassist Tommy Babin, segueing into a brief, gently swinging ensemble statement, followed by a succinct solo by Aron Doyle on flugelhorn, then a finely-developed improvisation by Monik, showing strong hints of John Coltrane, one of her prime influences. A short bass solo and the out chorus ends this fine piece, inspired by another of Monik's favourite saxophonists, Sam Rivers.

On first hearing, the colourfully-titled Free a Madcap Stoner, Lord, does sound like free jazz, but on closer listening we hear that it is mostly tonal, starting with solo bass, moving to a pulse-less conversation between the instruments (no piano on this track), then going to a straight-ahead swing feel, sounding a lot like some of the early Ornette Coleman releases (also pianoless). There's great rhythm section interaction here, first-rate drumming by Claude Lavergne and some surprising twists. This one grows on you.

There's a lot of music on this CD. Some of the other tunes are the lyrical lilting waltz Not Just To But Over the Moon, featuring a pensive solo by pianist Alex Clements, the lovely ballad Just for B, the beboppish How It Is, and Coming Home, which comes as close to a pop tune as you'd find on a purely jazz album.

A good criterion of a musician's ability is the kind of musicians she gathers around her, and here Monik has surrounded herself with some of the best young players on the hot Montreal jazz scene. These guys obviously enjoy playing this music, which Monik has spent years developing and it shows in their spirited, imaginative playing. For all the variety on this set, it remains remarkably consistent in its artistic intention and execution, and is what every jazz recording should be: a great collection of tunes, serving as perfect improvisational vehicles for a superior group of like-minded musicians.

I should also add that the packaging is superb: the art work is extremely attractive, and the liner notes are engaging and complete. There's a wealth of listening pleasure here and, based on the quality of the work on this CD, Monik Nordine does have everything it takes to be a superior jazz musician and is bound to have a long, rich career, both as composer and player.

Reprinted from the Gulf Islands Driftwood



Marty Steele