Vancouver-based drummer Kristian Braathen and his jazz trio are coming to the MAC on March 9. — Submitted by Kristian Braathen

Vancouver drummer to bring Ray Brown-inspired jazz to Parksville

Kristian Braathen trio coming to the MAC March 9

Vancouver-based drummer Kristian Braathen wasn’t a jazz cat even after deciding to attend Capilano University’s jazz program.

“I just knew it to be a really strong music program, but I actually didn’t know how much emphasis there was just on jazz,” said Braathen. Turns out, there was a lot.

Even as he learned more about the genre, it was seeing a very specific trio play that finally set him off on a journey that now sees him heading up his own jazz trio with its own jazz album, and scheduled to perform in Parksville for the first time on March 9.

In a show at the MAC (the McMillan Arts Centre at 133 McMillan St.), the trio, including Qualicum Beach bassist Ken Lister and well-known Vancouver pianist Miles Black, will perform works from that album, Tempus Fugit.

Including very unique takes on Nothingman by Pearl Jam and Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, the music retains inspiration from the Ray Brown Trio that first got Braathen jazzed.

“I was, relatively speaking, a bit of a latecomer to jazz,” said Braathen. “I didn’t really get introduced to it until I was in my early 20s.”

“I got introduced to some different artists through my teachers and friends that I met at Cap,” he said. But a trip to Seattle’s Jazz Alley to see the Ray Brown trio made a big impact.

“Seeing the Ray Brown Trio just blew me away,” Braathen said.

The performance’s high calibre was impressive, he said. “The depth of the music was just so vast, and the intensity and their feel. They swung so hard.”

The fact that the drummer, Greg Hutchinson, was just a few years older than Braathen probably didn’t hurt in terms of showing a possible future for the Cap student.

“The drum solos were just fantastic. I mean, all the solos for that matter. But it was… just so dynamic, from the quietest volume to the loudest volume, and tempos and all those kinds of elements,” said Braathen.

That straight-ahead jazz, played with variation and passion, continues to affect Braathen’s own music, he said.

Based around tight arrangements and new compositions, the trio performs some standards, as well as a few unique takes on pop songs.

Much of their performance at the MAC on March 9 at 7 p.m. will include songs from the Tempus Fugit album.

Asked what sort of effect he hopes the trio’s music will have on its audience, Braathen said, “I just hope people leave happier than when they came.

“I like to focus on music that’s got a lot of happiness to it — a lot of inspiring energy. I think, generally speaking, if people feel the music and their toe starts tapping, then it resonates with them.”

Tickets are $18, or $15 for OCAC members. To purchase, go to the MAC office or go to mcmillanartscentre.com/the-kristian-braathen-trio/.

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