Jazz guitarist Mark Crawford and his quartet perform at Simonholt on Dec. 9. (Photo courtesy Bob Ell)

Jazz guitarist and new Island resident brings quartet to Nanaimo

Mark Crawford, saxophonist son-in-law and local rhythm section to play Simonholt

This summer Toronto jazz guitarist Mark Crawford relocated to Victoria to be closer to his daughter’s family, but he also found himself among the Island’s jazz family.

“My daughter was expecting … and we thought if we’re going to make the move we’re going to do it now,” he said. “And so not only have I moved to Victoria, I’ve got a beautiful little granddaughter to boot. So it’s been a good move.”

Although he’s in a new place, Crawford’s not a complete stranger. He’s run into a lot of past collaborators since moving out here.

“I was really lucky to work with so any wonderful musicians in Toronto. It’s a real Mecca for fine musicians,” he said. “But coming out to the Island here there’s a bunch of guys that I worked with in Toronto who are on the Island now and some guys I toured with are on the Island.”

Crawford will be joined by a few of those players when he performs his “melodic, warm” repertoire at Simonholt Restaurant on Dec. 9. He’ll be accompanied by the local rhythm section of bassist Ken Lister and drummer Hans Verhoeven, as well as his son-in-law Ryan Oliver on tenor saxophone.

“Even if he wasn’t my son-in-law id still want to work with him,” Crawford said.

Crawford said he hopes to record an album with Oliver in the new year based on compositions he wrote for the saxophonist with string quartet accompaniment. He said he’s working on guitar and orchestral composing recently and hopes to get some of his work played on the Island.

“I’ll be over pestering some people at UVic soon to see if they can play some of my compositions,” he said. “But I’m just having a great time playing. I get the odd gig here and there and it’s fine for me. I’m kind of retired and I’m playing for fun and it’s a really good time out here.”

WHAT’S ON … The Mark Crawford Quartet performs at Simonholt, 6582 Applecross Rd., on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for students, available from the venue at 250-933-3338, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music or online.


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