Entertainment

All that jazz

Josh Rey said the tenor saxophone gives him the freedom to express himself. He is one of many young musicians from Nanaimo schools performing during JazzFest Thursday (Jan. 31) at the Port Theatre. - Rachel Stern Photo
Josh Rey said the tenor saxophone gives him the freedom to express himself. He is one of many young musicians from Nanaimo schools performing during JazzFest Thursday (Jan. 31) at the Port Theatre.
— image credit: Rachel Stern Photo

The tenor saxophone is an expressive instrument.

Notes can be sustained. Tones can have a tough edge or a soft voice.

“It’s very expressive,” said Joshua Rey, who plays the instrument. “I can change the quality or the texture of the note.”

He was attracted to the saxophone because of its range. He said it’s akin to the range of a male voice and it allows him to draw out sounds.

“It’s got curves like a person. It’s a very human instrument,” he said.

Rey, a grade 12 student at Wellington Secondary School, is one of many talented young musicians featured at JazzFest today (Jan. 31) at the Port Theatre. The event is presented by the Harbour City Jazz Society, and is an annual fundraiser for school music programs.

The 17-year-old said he’s willing to make sacrifices to reach his goal as a musician. He knows it’s not an easy path and not one that everyone chooses to pursue. Rey said even if people have a passion for music they still must be prepared to go through a long period where they aren’t making any money. Rey said he’s ready to make that commitment because music allows him to express “all the craziness” in his head.

“It’s like you have all the parts and you have to build it yourself,” said Rey about music.

He was first introduced to jazz music by fellow student Kelsey Hepples. She invited him to play with her band. It was at that gig his ability came to the attention of Carmella Luvisotto, the band director for Wellington Secondary School. She had formed the band Joshin’ Around. The members have changed over the years but it gave Rey an avenue to perform.

The young Nanaimo musician said JazzFest is an opportunity for the whole community to come together. It showcases the talents of young emerging artists and is a spectacle that all ages can enjoy, he said.

“It’s a positive thing,” said Rey.

There are many opportunities for people in Nanaimo to listen to live performances and support the arts, said the saxophone player.

“It will enrich your life,” said Rey about local performances.

As an aspiring musician Rey spends hours practicing his craft. During practices he’s focused solely on the instrument, but when he performs his attitude shifts.

“The process is very spiritual – it’s a very collective spiritual process,” he said. “It’s a very serene feeling. You just forget and play.”

This year’s event features guest performer Richard Underhill. The jazz musician has accumulated numerous awards over his career including a Juno Award for his album Moment in Time and the Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition for his contribution to the Toronto musical and artistic community.

His newest endeavour, Free Spirit, received critical acclaim and features trombonist Ron Westray and other musicians.

JazzFest is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and are available by calling 250-754-8550, at the Port box office, 125 Front St., or www.porttheatre.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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