Juno Award winner P.J. Perry performs in Nanaimo

NANAIMO - P.J. Perry Quartet performs in Nanaimo at Simon Holt restaurant Sunday (July 17).

P.J. Perry performs with his quartet at Simon Holt Restaurant Sunday (July 17) from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

P.J. Perry performs with his quartet at Simon Holt Restaurant Sunday (July 17) from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

For 60 years, jazz saxophonist P.J. Perry has honed his skills.

He said jazz music takes dedication to play at a professional level and he loves that each performance is different.

“It’s honest. There is nowhere to hide. It’s spontaneous,” said Perry.

Perry has been playing the saxophone since he was 14 years old; he’s now 74.

His father was a tenor saxophone player who bought and owned Varsity Hall, located at Sylvan Lake, Alta., when Perry was younger.

His father would invite jazz musicians to play at the hall and soon Perry started playing with the visiting musicians.

When he was a little older, in the winters, he would travel to Vancouver and perform. He played with jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.

“It was really a lovely time for me,” said Perry.

Perry was recently awarded the Order of Canada.

“It was a huge thrill and a shock,” he said about the award. “It’s very cool.”

In 1993, he won a Juno Award for Best Jazz Recording of the Year for his album My Ideal.

In 2010, he was the featured soloist for the Broadway show Come Fly Away, which highlighted Frank Sinatra songs.

The P.J. Perry Quartet performs at Simon Holt Restaurant Sunday (July 17) at 7:30 p.m.

The quartet includes Perry, Neil Swainson on bass, Ron Johnson on keyboard and Kelby MacNayr on drums.

Tickets are $25 or $15 for students and are available at the restaurant or by calling 250-933-3338.

For more information about Perry, please go to www.pjperry.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com