Former resident and musician Kit Eakle has a strong following in the area and now a new concert series he started up in California has top-notch musicians from around the world knocking at his door.
Eakle is a jazz violinist and versatile musician. He is based in the San Francisco Bay area but he taught at a number of local schools in the 1980s and 1990s and played in bands in and around the Island and Vancouver. He still teaches music part time in California.
Eakle calls Errington a second home, as he lived in Coombs for 12 years and played at the Errington Hall a number of times in those days. His show last year at the Hall was very successful and residents raved about the performance. He was invited back to perform this year, and he decided to return with a couple other renowned musicians.
Eakle will be performing at the Errington Hall Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m. with guitar virtuoso and director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest, Doug Cox, and luthier/guitarist Michael Dunn.
This year Eakle started up a new concert series in his community of Point Richmond, California. It’s called Point Richmond Jazz and it is dedicated to proving that the violin is more central to jazz than most people realize.
“I was not at all sure this would be a popular format, but was quite astonished to find I had great attendance at all the events,” he said.
Eakle said he is loving the series because he brings in the finest violinists from North America and beyond, but also because he gets to take part in the fun.
“As part of the series I have an opportunity to play a tune or two with each of these players, and can now list them all as part of my resume,” he said.
The performers have included The Hot Club of San Francisco, Mads Tolling, a young Danish violinist protege of the great Svend Asmussen who has recently relocated to the Bay Area, and David LaFlamme and his vintage 1970s rock group It’s a Beautiful Day. Eakle’s own group, DjangoSphere, was set to perform in the series last Friday night.
As for how his show at the Hall in Errington came together, he and Micheal Dunn go way back, he said. They played together in the 1970s and 1980s in the Gypsy Jazz group the Kitsilano Kat Kickers and have remained friends ever since. Dunn is based in Vancouver and is a renowned guitar builder, specializing in the Maccaferri/Selmer Gypsy style guitars, but he is also a great performer, Eakle said.
After a third performer fell through, Eakle happened upon a Youtube video of Dunn playing with Doug Cox. Eakle said he met Cox in Coombs years ago and knows his stellar reputation.
“While he doesn’t consider himself a jazz player, I knew from the video and his reputation as a musician, that playing with Doug could be something special,” Eakle said.
Cox has just completed an Island tour with Daniel Lapp and the Vancouver Island MusicFest takes place in July so he was able to squeeze some June tour dates in to join Dunn and Eakle.
So far the trio is also booked to play Jazz at Crofton on June 9.
At the Errington Hall it will be an eclectic mix of music and musical styles, Eakle said. There will be some jazz standards like Ellington’s Caravan, a couple of Thelonious Monk tunes, some New Orleans-style blues and swing tunes, some original music and some old folk and blues standards. Dunn has recently been producing a Hawaiian Guitar radio program on Vancouver’s Co-op Radio (along with building Hawaiian Guitars) so there will be a couple of Hawaiian numbers as well.
Eakle said he had hoped to be moving back to B.C. this year, but with the success of his violin series, he will stick around California for at least the winters. His two children and grandson live in Victoria and Mill Bay.
“I promise that next year we’ll have many more dates and opportunities to share my music on the Island,” he said.
Tickets for the show are $20 at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville, at the Errington Store and at Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach. Youth under 12 cost $5 at the door, and children under 5 are free.