The first place Heather Keizur ever sang jazz was in Nanaimo.
She was 17 years old and while she doesn’t remember the name of the band she was with, that was the moment that started her jazz career.
When the Oregon-based jazz singer comes to Nanaimo this weekend with longtime accompanist Steve Christofferson on the keys, she said it’s going to feel like coming home.
That’s because Keizur, who originally hails from California, moved with her family to British Columbia as a child. She grew up all over the province, but spent most her time in Ocean Falls, Port Alberni and Nanaimo.
“My mother and father just thought it would be fun to homestead, I guess in ‘67 that’s what people did. They thought it would be fun to raise four children on a corner section that hadn’t been developed yet,” she said.
“Was this 1867?” Christofferson asked.
The duo is touring in support of their new album, Moon River, which came out last fall. It’s their first duet album after nine years of playing together.
“We just got an instant connection, a real, deep connection right away on the very first night we played together and were compelled to keep working together,” Christofferson said.
Keizur describes the album as a result of years of spontaneous recording sessions spaced out every few months. She said they would spend a couple hours in the studio with minimal preparation and just hit record, “never thinking that we were actually making a CD.”
“We were just recording some songs and after four years we finally decided that maybe there was enough magic on there, enough songs that were compelling to listen to, that we could put it on a CD,” she said.
Christofferson described it as an “organic” process. After recording the tracks they had to wait about a month before receiving the recordings and listening back on their work. Out of the dozens of songs, Keizur and Christofferson picked the top nine.
“It was very surprising as to which songs made it and which didn’t,” Keizur said.
Nanaimo listeners will get to hear the songs that made the cut on this Sunday’s concert at the Lighthouse Bistro. With Keizur’s father, sister and some nieces and nephews living in Nanaimo, she said it could be special show.
“My songs often depend on who’s at the show, so if my family’s there or special friends I haven’t seen in a long time, I might select songs that are rather personal and meaningful for them,” she said.
WHAT’S ON … Heather Keizur and Steve Christofferson perform at the Lighthouse Bistro on Sunday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for students available at the venue, Fascinating Rhythm and online at www.quadwranglemusic.com.