Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon perform at the Lighthouse Bistro on Feb. 2. (Photo courtesy Brian Nation)

Vancouver jazz guitarists bring double dose of guitar to Nanaimo

Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon present ‘Two Much Guitar’ at Lighthouse Bistro

When jazz guitarist Bill Coon moved from Montreal to Vancouver 23 years ago, one of his first gigs was with a Canadian “jazz legend,” fellow guitarist, jazz veteran Oliver Gannon.

Coon said it was a big deal to get to play together and he was surprised by how well they hit it off.

“We just found a lot of common ground. It just seemed to work,” Coon said. “I remember a friend of mine who was there, a musician, and some time during the night he said, ‘You guys should record together.’ And this is the first time we’d ever played.”

Coon and Gannon did eventually record together, collaborating on the 2006 album Two Much Guitar. They followed that up in 2015 with the sequel, Two Much More. Coon said the title of their first album was inspired by a bit of feedback the duo received from an audience member at a concert.

“This older gentleman came up and he came straight for us. I remember he had a cane,” Coon said. “He was looking for us and we thought, ‘Well, here comes a fan’ and he comes up to us, looks us straight in the eye and goes, ‘That’s just too much guitar’ and he walks away.”

The guitarists decided to embrace that name in tongue-in-cheek fashion and they’ll be bringing their Two Much Guitar show to Nanaimo for the first time on Feb. 2. Coon said they’ll dig up old and new tunes and “see what happens.”

“This band really works best when all the preparation is – how can I put it?” he said. “There might be some rehearsals, but mostly we try to keep it really flying by the seat of our pants.”

WHAT’S ON … Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon play the Lighthouse Bistro, 50 Anchor Way, on Sunday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $15 for students, available from the venue, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and online.

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