Victoria-based tenor saxophonist and VIU jazz grad Ryan Oliver and his quartet perform at Simonholt Restaurant on Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy Luis Poretta)

Victoria-based tenor saxophonist and VIU jazz grad Ryan Oliver and his quartet perform at Simonholt Restaurant on Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy Luis Poretta)

VIU jazz grad plays Nanaimo in one of first concerts since pandemic began

Victoria-based tenor saxophonist Ryan Oliver and his quartet to perform at Simonholt

UPDATE: This event has been cancelled

A VIU jazz grad is returning to Nanaimo for one of his first in-person performances since the start of the pandemic.

Victoria-based tenor saxophonist Ryan Oliver and his quartet – keyboardist Tony Genge, guitarist Mark Crawford and drummer Hans Verhoeven – perform at Simonholt Restaurant on Sept. 20. After experimenting with live-streamed concerts due to COVID-19 restrictions, Oliver said he’s looking forward to having audience members present once more.

“Having people there in the room, it’s such a difference, just the energy and the feeling of playing music to people versus putting it out onto the internet,” he said. “So it’ll be a nice experience to have some people in the room again.”

Oliver said the group’s music will focus on Genge’s organ playing and their repertoire will cover songs in the organ tradition. That includes soulful, blues-oriented music and swinging jazz standards, ballads and bossa novas from the American Songbook.

“We also try to incorporate our take on more modern tunes by composers like Stevie Wonder, where we take some of those classic R&B or funk tunes and turn them into organ jazz versions,” Oliver said.

Oliver graduated from VIU in the ’90s before moving to Europe, Toronto and New York City. He’s been back living on Vancouver Island for the past three years and he said it’s meaningful to get to perform in Nanaimo.

“Whenever I get the chance to play in Nanaimo it’s always a lot of fun because I do still see some of my teachers from then and I see friends from back then…” he said. “So it’s always a really nice, sort of a homecoming in some ways.”

Early next year Oliver will be in the studio recording his first album since 2016. The record will feature compositions of Oliver’s arranged for an eight-piece string ensemble by guitarist Mark Crawford, who is also Oliver’s father-in-law.

Oliver said it’s an “amazing feeling” to have string accompaniment and not one that comes frequently.

“It’s a bit of a dream for horn players, saxophone players and trumpet players, to get that opportunity to record with a string section,” he said. “So for me it’s a really neat opportunity that I’m pretty excited about.”

WHAT’S ON … Ryan Oliver Quartet performs at Simonholt Restaurant on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, available from the venue, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and Luis Porretta Fine Arts.

RELATED: VIU jazz grad Ryan Oliver and the Cookers Quintet play the Lighthouse Bistro

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Corridor Foundation says this year’s Holiday Train will be even more brightly lighted when it makes stops to collect donations for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive. (Photo submitted)
Island Corridor Foundation all aboard with Holiday Train supporting toy drive

Charity event supporting Great Nanaimo Toy Drive takes place at two locations Dec. 10

A widened pathway, lighting and other improvements promise to convert a trail through Bowen Park into an urban cycling commuter link as part of a sewerage upgrade project to be carried out in 2021. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo sewer upgrade project will transform trail through Bowen Park

City asking for input into project’s design

Lantzville District Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lantzville moving forward with 7.6-per cent property tax increase

District council passes three readings of financial plan bylaw

War and evil aren’t God-made, they are human-made, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Human choices, not God’s will, cause war

God gave us free will and unfortunately we do not always make good decisions, says letter writer

A Nanaimo driver was sentenced Monday for fatally striking a high school student with his vehicle in 2019. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo driver sentenced after motor vehicle incident that killed teen last year

Brandon Geoffrey Murdoch fined and prohibited from driving for two years

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

Brian McFadden, vice-president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, shows elements of a new exhibit there that examines some of the horrors and hardships for women and children in prison camps during First and Second World Wars. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women in prison camps persevered

Letter writer shares her mother’s recollections of prison camp in Java during Second World War

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Most Read