Jim Houston brings jazz to Char’s Landing

Jim Houston concludes a Vancouver Island tour in Port Alberni

Multi-instrumental singer songwriter Jim Houston will appear in a rare matinée concert Sunday, May 1, 2:30 p.m. at Char’s Landing in uptown Port Alberni, B.C.

Houston will perform from his extensive catalogue of original compositions, crafted within the framework of acoustic blues, jazz and roots music. Resophonic  instruments— inspired by the designs of the Dopyera Brothers in the 1920s—figure prominently: a 1936 ‘National’ Trojan; a 1994 Tricone built by Ron Phillips and a ‘Recording King’ ukulele.

In addition, on stage, will be a 1928 ‘Bacon’ tenor banjo and a variety of Lee Oskar harmonicas. Supplementing the original tunes will be  a selection of Robert Johnson blues songs in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his birth in Hazelhurst, Mississippi on May 8, 1911.

Houston was raised in a musically diverse family. His grandfather, Frederick Horwood, was a Doctor of Music at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and his mother, a child prodigy blessed with perfect pitch but also with an egalitarian ‘ear’ that revelled in Chopin, Liszt and Mozart but included Beatles harmonies and the jazz of Nat King Cole.

From his father came the ham-fisted LPs of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines with stories of big band concerts replete with gentlemen in the crowd sporting multi-pocketed trench coats stocked with all manner of liquid libation tucked into the folds.

Presently, Houston performs primarily around Vancouver but has developed a hungry eye for the road; hence this mini-tour of Vancouver Island to Gabriola, Duncan and Victoria that culminates in the concert at Char’s Landing.

Currently in the studio, Houston is recording a CD of his original tunes, Main Street, Sunday Afternoon.

Many are described as “story songs”, incorporating elements of family, history and events.

Char’s Landing is located at 4815 Argyle St. Doors open at 1 p.m. with pianist Sandy Bouleau opening for Houston.

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