October begins diverse and busy fall jazz schedule at Crofton Hotel

Jazz on Sunday afternoons at the Crofton Hotel really hits its stride in October.

Jazz on Sunday afternoons at the Crofton Hotel really hits its stride in October.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, it’s the Commodores Band. This collection of excellent musicians bring the nuance of the jazz big band experience to the intimate venue.

“They’re real crowd pleasers,” according to organizer Pat Selman.

The 18-piece band has been performing since 1975 when it was called the Coppertones. The Commodores name was chosen in 1984 to reflect Victoria’s nautical history, according to the band’s publicist.

Led by Mark Fraser for more than a decade, the Commodores are well known to ballroom dancers at Butchart Gardens, The Empress hotel, Crystal Garden, Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, Langford Legion and Edelweiss Club, and perform regularly at the annual Oak Bay Tea Party and the Saanich Strawberry Festival.

Vocalist Kim Greenwood, a successful crossover artist equally at home in a big band or a classical ensemble, is on the voice faculty at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

Wanda Nowicki, a Vancouver-born and now Gibsons-based vocalist, comes to Crofton on Oct. 16.

She now works with three bands: one in the city, one on the coast and one from Saltspring Island, but her training and singing career began in Los Angeles where she lived and performed for almost two decades. Her resume includes performances with the great Big Jay McNeely and Richard Berry.

Nowicki has been featured in the Vancouver International Jazz fest from 2005 to 2010, and more recently the Gibsons Jazz Festival 2016, and the Pender Harbour Jazz festival 2015, and 2016.

Her set list is always unique and yet familiar at the same time.

On Oct. 23, its the Monik Nordine Trio offering standards and originals with pianist Brent Jarvis and Bruce Mieikle on bass.

The Nanaimo Musicians Association Big Band, directed by Bryan Stovell, hits the stage in Crofton Oct. 30, bringing back their special repertoire while they continue to hone their combined musicianship.

Guest vocalist Sydney Needham is a powerhouse singer that really lights up the stage as well. Collections at the door go towards the NMA bursary program to assist young up and coming musicians.

The Jazz at Crofton series runs from 2 to 5 p.m. each Sunday. Musicians are invited join in a jam session during the last hour.

The pub is at 1534 Joan Ave., a stone’s throw from the Saltspring Island ferry terminal. Admission is $15.