Peripheral Vision likes to combine the “democratic” approach of ’60s jazz with influences as diverse as roots

Peripheral Vision samples widely for musical style

Peripheral Vision likes to combine the “democratic” approach of ’60s jazz with influences as diverse as roots, folk — even Radiohead.

Peripheral Vision likes to combine the “democratic” approach of ’60s jazz with influences as diverse as roots, folk — even Radiohead.

Mind you, Radiohead fans seeking recognizable strains of Creep or Karma Police in the jazz quartet’s music will be searching in vain. Guitarist/composer Don Scott explained these are mostly hidden influences.

“It comes out more in the (group’s) harmonic motion . . . A lot of our music is rhythmic in nature. And the odd time I’ll have Radiohead’s music at the back of my mind,” he said.

This is perfectly understandable, considering Scott moonlights as the lead singer in a Toronto-area Radiohead tribute band.

“We all have various interests in different kinds of things,” added the chuckling musician, who will perform with Peripheral Vision on Saturday at Red Deer’s One Eleven Grill.

The group’s other composer, double bassist Michael Herring, likes roots and R&B music and has recorded with Percy Sledge. Drummer Nick Fraser has dabbled in reggae, world and blues/folk music.

And saxophonist Trevor Hogg?

“He’s the most pure jazz of all of us,” said Scott, likely due to the characteristics of his instrument.

Together, the four musicians aim to start “a ’60s jazz dialogue,” said Herring, who believes Peripheral Vision’s music hangs on a “democratic give and take” between the guitar, bass, drums and sax.

“It’s like a dynamic interactive approach, with all the instruments treated as equals,” added Scott.

Tunes begin with the melody lines penned by Scott and Herring, but eventually branch off in various directions as the musicians begin to improvise.

“The written material stays similar, but we will alter the way we play it,” said Scott. Herring elaborated: “The way we play deliberately blurs the line between what’s written and what’s improvised.”

The instrumental tunes come with descriptive names such as Teenage Breakup and Butter Side Down. (As might be expected, the former sounds emotional and “melodramatic,” said Herring, while Scott wrote the latter with fun, but difficult musical twists. “It’s about mishaps, or things that can go wrong.”)

So far, Peripheral Vision has been getting play on campus jazz radio programs. But the musicians have also received exposure to more mainstream jazz audiences by playing at clubs across Canada, including the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton and Calgary’s Beatnik club.

Next month, they will be among 10 groups chosen to compete for the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Being in a jazz band means “no rock stardom,” said Herring. But he and Scott like that Peripheral Vision is turning new people on to the musical form.

“People happen upon us, they like what they hear, and they become dedicated fans.”

For more information about the performance at the restaurant at 5301-43rd St., please call 403-347-2111.

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