In jazz you'll hear plenty of musicians who can wail like Ferraris on their instruments while they perform feats of strength and dexterity. Miles Davis hated "grinning," as he called it, where Louis Armstrong would joke around with the audience and put on an interactive show. But it takes all kinds to make up the jazz scene.
Louis Prima added comedy and wildness to his act in Las Vegas in the 1950s. It made him famous. It was perfect for Las Vegas and that wild, cool and swingin' jazz music is still what many people think of today when they think of the genre. I'm personally a big fan of jazz that is fun. In fact, fun and entertainment in jazz is part of my own manifesto. Jazz was born out of fun and lightness. It's really nice to see jazz entertainers keep up that tradition.
This top five list is a tip of the hat to the top Canadian jazz stars who put on a great show.
1. Michael Kaeshammer.
Michael Kaeshammer is a piano tamer with charm oozing out of his every pore when he's onstage. He knows the value of giving the audience more than what they came for. Kaeshammer is the consumate entertainment pro, who hones his chops razor sharp like a samurai sword.
2. Jaymz Bee.
Some people may consider jazz impresario Jaymz Bee a little weird. That's because he is. That's his charm, though. Bee has been a die-hard supporter and performer of jazz for 20 years. He's kooky and over the top and he always makes his shows a spectacle. Love it!
3. Hans Stamer
Hans Stamer has been in show biz for a long time, and knows how to chat up an audience. With his recent foray into jazz, he brings along years of entertainer's experience. Stamer's refreshing and experienced.
4. Richard Underhill.
As one of the founders of the Shuffle Demons, Richard Underhill knows that a black suit and a can of white paint can do magical things. The standard dress code if you're a Shuffle Demon is to paint up a black suit with a wild pattern. Underhill encourages the audience to make noises, clap and get into the show. He also knows the power of taking the whole band through the audience as they play. It's a conga line of saxophone goodness, and the audience loves it!
5. Terra Hazelton.
Terra Hazelton plays the part of a 1920s cabaret singer to a T. She dresses up "pow" for her shows. She growls out lyrics and she's not afraid to get moving onstage. Hazelton entertains as she sings and thrills her audiences, just as they did back in the roaring '20s. She's a tigress.
Take 5: Canada's top 5 saxophone players
Take 5: top 5 bass players in Canada
Take 5: Canada's top 5 female jazz singers
Take 5: Canada's top five jazz clubs, from Victoria to Montreal
on Aug 20, 2012