Photo courtesy coryweeds.com
Cory Weeds is involved in all aspects of the Vancouver jazz scene. The saxophonist leads his own groups. He has a weekly jazz radio show on community station CFRO. He runs the Cellar, the city's premiere jazz club, which regularly features both local and imported talent, and encourages musicians to try special events like recreating a Wynton Marsalis album onstage. And he runs Cellar Records, which has put out more than 50 albums featuring both local and imported talent, many of which were recorded live at his club, and which have received good reviews.
Weeds has released two CDs of his own groups: Big Weeds (2008), and Everything's Coming Up Weeds (2009). This latest album reached #6 on the JazzWeek Charts and has got excellent reviews.
The Cory Weeds Quintet will be in Ottawa Monday night, mid-way through a tour including Montreal, Toronto, and New York. He took the same band around British Columbia and Alberta last month.
Ottawa Jazz Scene editor Alayne McGregor asked Mr, Weeds some questions about the concert and his jazz experience, to which he responded by email:
Given your touring line-up, I'd guess the Ottawa show is more likely to reflect your more recent album. Is this true, or will it have some surprises?
Cory Weeds: Although there will be some suprises, most of the material will be drawn from Everything's Coming Up Weeds.
What was the influence of trumpeter Jim Rotondi?
CW: I can't necessarily say it was a specific inspiration per se. I seem to be the "organ" saxophonist so I definitely wanted to do something different. Rotondi has become a close friend over the years and I also really wanted to write, play and record and write with [pianist Ross] Taggart because he is such a deep musician.
How much has your music been influenced by the musicians who have gone through the Cellar since you've opened it?
CW: Wow, great question! Lots, I suppose, but it's not necessarily the music rather the dedication of the various people that come through that inspire me. I get to hear a lot of repertoire so I'm always stealing lead sheets for tunes etc.
The Cellar is a very important part of Vancouver's jazz scene. If you were to give advice to Ottawa musicians and club owners, what would you suggest is the best way to nurture a jazz scene here, based on your experience in Vancouver? Is it important to be on the path of jazz group tours that go to other large cities? How do you nurture local talent?
CW: Well, I knew the musicians on the scene here long before I owned the club, through doing my radio show, playing and doing some concert presentations, so the majority of them trusted me and were behind me from the get-go.
If you mean me 'on the path' in terms of doing research on other clubs and owners, yes, it was important. That's how I learned a lot about what not to do.
As for nurturing young talent, I think it's about giving them a chance to play. Although the club is for more established artists, there are a ton of great young players here who demonstrate a certain maturity that is going to get them far. In some ways they don't need nurturing.
The Cory Weeds Quintet plays the NAC Fourth Stage on Monday, October 5, starting at 8:30 p.m. More info here.