Local jazz show encourages musicians to jam

By Emily Acorn

Jan. 16, 2017

Dan Rowswell had been playing music since he was six. By the time he was 12, he was playing the saxophone in his junior high school band.

“My band teacher really inspired me.”

Rowswell has been nominated for three P.E.I Music Awards, including musician of the year, island jazz achievement, and community contribution. The winners will be announced the second week in May.

He celebrated the 56th Island Jazz Show on Jan. 19 at Baba’s Lounge with featured artist Bryson Guptill.

There’s a show there every Thursday at 8 p.m. Donations are collected at the door. The first set is Island jazz with a featured artist and the second set is open to anyone who wants to jam.

It’s a great way to put yourself out there and practice preforming for a crowd, said the 54-year-old Rowswell.

“A lot of the musicians are teachers so there’s nothing but encouragement.”

Evan McCosham, bassist for bands The Salt Licks and Koyote, said the open jams keep him on his toes and are an excellent form of practice.

“Practising at home is important, but the real learning happens on stage.”

Twenty-three-year-old Jayoda Tennekone is a former math student of guitarist Ian Toms.

“He was always down to help. He’s saved my ass a couple times.”

Tennekone has been to many of the jazz shows and he would recommend it to anyone wanting to catch some early entertainment and supper, he said.

“It’s always entertaining and there’s always a good crowd.”

Bar manager Jamie Crawford said the nights have been popular and have drawn a nice happy-hour crowd.

“It’s a very intimate show. The band and audience are chatting a lot.”

Eddie Arsenault is the doorman for the shows. There is never any trouble. Because of the early show time, people have a chance to get out and still get sleep, said the 20-year-old.

The atmosphere is remarkable.

“It’s magical almost.”