Fratters to host jazz concert series

Red Deer is back on the map as a concert stop for touring jazz musicians.

Red Deer is back on the map as a concert stop for touring jazz musicians.

Tired of the absence of regular jazz and blues shows in Red Deer, local musicians Claude Godin and Curtis Phagoo have started the Barrelhouse Productions Jazz concert series at Fratters Speakeasy.

Starting on Oct. 2, the first Thursday evening of each month at Fratters will be devoted to jazz, with a lineup that so far includes performers such as Mike Murley and the A/B Trio, the Chris Andrew Quartet and the Don Berner Sextet.

(Other jazz nights will also be held periodically at the venue outside the series, such when the “bluesy, groovy, funky” Edmonton band The Whisper Kings plays on Oct. 3 and 4. The group featuring Godin on saxophone.)

Godin believes professional jazz artists will be excited to discover Red Deer has such a “beautiful” and acoustically appealing club as Fratters.

“We’re very excited about this, Curtis and I,” he said.

Since Calgary lost The Beatnik, Alberta’s only well-known jazz venue is Edmonton’s Yardbird Suite. And Godin hopes to draw some of the national and international blues artists who play there down to Red Deer for another concert.

While jazz music can be heard weekly in the city at the One Eleven Grill, Godin noted the restaurant is not an actual concert venue.

Touring jazz musicians stopped in Red Deer more regularly when The Matchbox was open. But even that now-closed concert hall didn’t allow drinks inside the theatre, added Godin, who believes the club-like ambiance of Fratters will be preferred by jazz lovers.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a while, bring more jazz and blues artists to the city … and we’re determined to make this a success.”

So far, public interest in the series appears to be high, with half the 130 available tickets already sold out for the Jim Brenan Quartet concert on Oct. 2.

Other series acts to look for are:

— Nov. 6 — The Don Berner Sextet of Calgary

— Dec. 4 — Mike Murley & The A/B Trio of Toronto

— Jan. 8 — Local semi-professional jazz group Twisted Lobby

— Feb. 6 — The Jerrold Dubyk Quintet of Edmonton

— March 5 — The Chris Andrew Quintet, also of Edmonton

Tickets to the 8 p.m. shows are $20 from the venue at 5114 48th St.; call 403-356-0043, or email abarrelhouseproduction@gmail.com.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com