Quartet ready to jazz up restaurant this weekend

NANAIMO - Up-and-coming Nanaimo musician performs at Simon Holt Sunday (Feb. 28) at 7:30 p.m.

An up-and-coming Nanaimo jazz musician meets up with Canadian talent of note to produce some smooth sounds at Simon Holt restaurant this weekend.

Graham Shonwise, saxophonist and bassist who grew up in Nanaimo and studied music at Vancouver Island University, will showcase his talent on sax alongside Juno Award-winning guitarist Bill Coon, bassist Ken Lister and veteran jazz drummer Geoff Bowen.

The performance, hosted by Luis Porretta of Quadwrangel Music, happens Sunday (Feb. 28) at 7:30 p.m.

“We do about nine or 10 gigs a year and normally get in Juno award winners – top-grade players,” Porretta said.

Coon is one of Canada’s top jazz guitarists. Bowen has drummed for some of the most respected names in the music business, including Herb Ellis, Pearl Bailey and even Elvis Presley, and Lister, who lives in Qualicum, is one of this country’s best acoustic bass players.

“Then we’ve got guest saxophone player, Graham Shonwise, a young saxophone player who’s really cutting an edge here in Canada at the moment,” Porretta said.

Shonwise, 30, said it’s the first time he’s been hired for a gig by a well-known artist.

Shonwise is a fixture on the local music scene, but has a day job at a cedar shake mill south of Nanaimo and is also studying to become a pilot. He got involved with jazz music at age 14 and while he’s preparing for career choices that provide steady income, he’s also open to other possibilities.

“There is a certain amount of nerves involved, not because I think I can’t do it, but simply because it’s just a first time thing and I’m trying not to even imagine the possibilities beyond this,” Shonwise said. “It’s more I’m just really grateful for the opportunity than anything.”

Tickets, $20, are available at Arbutus Music, Fascinating Rhythm, the restaurant or online at www.quadwranglemusic.com.

“It’s a great event,” Porretta said. “It’s some of the best jazz you’re going to hear in Canada.”

For more information about Shonwise, please visit his website at www.grahamshonwise.com. photos@nanaimobulletin.com