Ryan Oliver performs in Nanaimo at the Lighthouse Bistro and Pub Thursday (Dec. 15).

Ryan Oliver performs in Nanaimo at the Lighthouse Bistro and Pub Thursday (Dec. 15).

Saxophonist Ryan Oliver performs with Graham Shonwise Quintet

Award-winning saxophone player Ryan Oliver performs at Nanaimo's Lighthouse Bistro Thursday (Dec. 15).

Tenor saxophonist Ryan Oliver heard a recording by John Coltrane when he was 14.

He had no idea who the musician was, but he knew he loved the music.

“For me, I guess at the time, I loved how it sounded,” said Oliver. “There was an air of mystery to it.”

He was also intrigued by the history and traditions of the instrument.

Living in the small town of Williams Lake, Oliver came under the tutelage of instructor Michael Butterfield.

“He was a really inspiring guy, really into jazz music. He showed me the right direction, right away,” said Oliver.

He continued to study the instrument and since that time has toured across Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Oliver is also a member of the Juno award-winning Derek Miller’s Group. He released his debut solo album Convergence in 2007.

Oliver performs with the Graham Shonwise Quintet on Thursday (Dec. 15) at the Lighthouse Bistro and Pub at 7:30 p.m. The quintent also consists of Shonwise, keyboard player James Darling, bassist Ken Lister and drummer Hans Verhoeven.

Tickets are $20 or $15 for students and are available at the Lighthouse Bistro, Fascinating Rhythm or www.quadwranglemusic.com.

“It should be some really top-shelf jazz music,” said Oliver.

Audience members can expect some improvisation during the performances.

“I always equate it a bit to talking. You have to stick within the paramaters of language if you want to talk to people, music is the same,” said Oliver.

He works within the harmonies and rhythms, said Oliver.

“I am trying to tell my story on top of that,” he said.

Oliver recently moved to Victoria and said he would like to get into jazz education on Vancouver Island. He has been a featured clinician at Western University, the University of Windsor and high schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New York and New Jersey.

For more information about Oliver, please go to www.ryanoliver.ca.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com