Code Quartet at the studio, Mile End. Photo supplied

Code Quartet at the studio, Mile End. Photo supplied

CODE jazz quartet to play Rivercity Stage Nov. 7

Saxophonist, originally from Nanaimo, playing Campbell River for the first time

Though she’s had an illustrious career in Montreal as one of Canada’s top saxophone players and jazz composers, Nanaimo’s Christine Jensen has never played in Campbell River.

However, that changes on November 7 when she will take the stage as part of CODE Quartet for the latest Highway 19 Concert at the Rivercity Stage at 1080 Hemlock St.

CODE Quartet is an outstanding jazz collective based out of Montreal made up of four faculty members from McGill University’s prestigious jazz program: Christine Jensen on saxophones, Adrian Vedady on acoustic bass, Lex French on trumpet, and Jim Doxas on drums. Each are in demand session players and leaders of their own ensembles. They have numerous Juno Awards and Grammy nominations between them and have performed with a who’s who of jazz from Arturo Sandoval, Diana Krall and Kurt Elling, to Oliver Jones, Dave Douglas and Laila Biali.

“To see musicians of this caliber in Campbell River, up close and personal in our cozy little theatre at Rivercity, is an amazing opportunity,” said Highway 19 Concerts programmer Lucas Schuller.

CODE Quartet came together four years ago to build on the freedom of expression of a chording instrument-free quartet pioneered by Ornette Coleman’s seminal group of the 1950s, with two horns interacting with acoustic bass and drums.

Each voice within the collective is given equal weight, blurring the boundaries between lead and supporting voices, between frontline instruments and the rhythm section. The result is music that is free-wheeling, energetic, and swings hard. The group have spent the past four years sculpting their original compositions as a team, leading them to some exciting performance opportunities.

They have performed residencies at jazz clubs in Montreal as well as The Wellington Jazz festival in New Zealand. The group’s principal focus is to present original compositions, orchestrated exclusively for this particular ensemble, weighing heavily on their improvisatory reactions to the written material. The result is their debut album Genealogy, which was released this past April on Justin Time Records.

As with all Highway 19 concerts, tickets are free for kids when accompanied by a paying adult, and teens get in for only $5. Contact hwy19concerts@gmail.com or @hwy19concerts on Messenger to reserve youth tickets. General tickets are available through the Tidemark Theatre box office in person or online for $24 plus fees and taxes.

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