Jazz saxophonist Phil Dwyer will perform with his son Ben and soon-to-be son-in-law Hans Verhoeven (not pictured) at the Lighthouse Bistro on Sunday, March 4. (Photo courtesy Evan Shay)

Vancouver Island jazz saxophonist Phil Dwyer coming to the Lighthouse Bistro

Dwyer will perform with his son on bass and his daughter’s fiancé on drums

Some famous musicians lend their celebrity to causes they value. Phil Dwyer decided to take his advocacy one step further: He decided to enrol in law school.

The seven-time Juno Award-winning Vancouver Island jazz saxophonist graduated from the University of New Brunswick’s law program last spring and is currently articling at a firm in Port Alberni.

He said pursuing law was something he wanted to do for a long time. One reason behind his career change was a growing dissatisfaction with the “radical change” the music industry has been facing over the past 15 years.

“The business end of [the music industry] did get a little bit discouraging and I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I had other things I wanted to do,” Dwyer said.

“I had other interests and law was kind of at the top of the list because I thought it would be a degree and sort of a path to getting involved in different issues that I had an interest in: environmental issues and human rights issues and social justice-type issues.”

Dwyer said it was weird going to school with students the same age as his children. He described himself as “the guy that kept on putting up his hand whenever we were talking about something that happened before 1998.”

He said his law school experience was a little different being a nationally celebrated musician.

“In my first year of school I was appointed to the Order of Canada,” Dwyer said.

“And when I went to the ceremony at Rideau Hall I ended up sitting next to [former] chief justice [Beverley] McLachlin at dinner … so that did raise a few ripples at the law school.”

While he is now dedicating nearly all of his time to his law work – his first steady, non-music-related job – Dwyer is still finding time for his music.

Since returning to Vancouver Island, Dwyer has been performing with his son Ben on bass and his daughter’s fiancé Hans Verhoeven on drums. He said its the closest thing he’s had to a regular band in a long time and that he and his son share a telepathic connection he’s felt with few other musicians.

“For me it sort of takes it beyond the norm into kind of a special zone, musically. You can get where you want to go a lot faster because the level of intuition and compatibility is very high so the level of musical conversation gets very interesting very quickly and that’s not something that happens as a matter of course,” he said.

“It’s something that takes a lot of playing together and a lot of trust and a lot of common musical sensibilities.”

On Sunday, March 4 the Phil Dwyer Trio comes to the Lighthouse Bistro. Dwyer joked that they’ll be ready to hit the stage after after a run-through on the mainland.

“We’re warming up for our show in Nanaimo with a show in Vancouver the night before,” he said.

“We’ll work out the kinks on the Vancouver audience and be like a well-oiled machine for the show on the fourth.”

WHAT’S ON … The Phil Dwyer Trio performs at the Lighthouse Bistro on Sunday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students. Available at the Lighthouse Bistro (250-754-3212), Fascinating Rhythm and www.quadwranglemusic.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Swain will move over to mayor’s chair in Lantzville

Mark Swain and councillors Jamie Wilson, Karen Proctor, Ian Savage and Will Geselbracht elected

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

WEB POLL: How do you feel about the new city council Nanaimo has elected?

City of Nanaimo votes in its next municipal government

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

When to vote, where to vote, how to vote

Voting day is Oct. 20, with polls open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Most Read