Breaking News
Jazz guitarists playing Market

Jazz guitarists playing Market

On April 21, renowned jazz guitarist Bill Coon teams up with local guitarist Steve Giltrow when they perform at the Gibsons Public Market. The two players have known each other for over 15 years when Giltrow started taking lessons from Coon. “He’s an accomplished jazz guitar player,” says Coon of his former student. Coon himself is no slouch on guitar, and has been playing since he was kid, acquiring his first guitar by stealing his brother’s. “He didn’t beat me up or anything,” recalls Coon, laughing. “I would give it back to him, but I was so engrossed in it, he could kinda tell there was something special going on there.”

Jazz guitarist Bill Coon, based in Vancouver, teams up with Coast guitarist Steve Giltrow – his former student – for a concert April 21 at the Gibsons Public Market. Vincent Lim photo

Bill Coon’s professional music career began before he’d even graduated from his Montreal high school, joining Andre White’s band in 1978. White himself is now a famed jazz musician and Coon credits him with “coaxing him along” into playing jazz, and once he’d “found” jazz, Coon was hooked. “It’s really fun to play because you never know exactly what’s going to happen,” he says. “In jazz you’re making music in a collaborative way, especially in a duo situation. The possibilities are endless.” Coon came to Vancouver in 1995 to work with Denzel Sinclaire on Unforgettable, a musical tribute to Nat King Cole. When the project ended, Coon and his wife Jill Townsend, who is an accomplished musician in her own right, decided to stay, greatly increasing the talent quotient of Vancouver’s music scene. Over his 30-year career, Coon has been nominated for a Juno, won Guitarist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards, has played with numerous jazz legends, and has his name on over 50 recordings. His latest album, Departure, with his band BC Double Quartet, is a unique recording that highlights his formidable talents as a composer and arranger, bringing together jazz and classical music. Taken literally, the “double quartet” features a jazz quartet of trumpet, bass, drums and guitar, together with a string ensemble of two violins, a viola and a cello. There’s a distinct sound and feel to the album, which for Coon, is the whole point. “If I’m attracted to a sound, I try to write for that sound and make it happen in life,” he says. “I love the sound of orchestra, of string quartet. Why not have that in jazz?”

Coon is also an in-demand composer and arranger, having been commissioned to write for The National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and the Woody Herman Jazz Band, just to name a few. He also teaches at Capilano University, something he’s done in various capacities for 20 years, and that he says is as rewarding as performing. “In different ways, of course,” he says, noting that teaching “is a long process. Performance is more immediate.” Playing in smaller venues, like the Market, also brings immediacy. “Intimate moments in a small group can be some of the most fun,” says Coon. “It’s quite exceptional the moments you can create. The crowd becomes a third player in the band.”

Bill Coon and Steve Giltrow play at the Gibsons Public Market on Saturday, April 21 at 7:30pm. Tickets $20 available at One Flower One Leaf Gallery, Gibsons Public Market, The Medicine Shoppe, Strait Music or at the door

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top