Bill Coon’s Busy Weekend

Karin Plato went to see Carol Welsman’s concert last Friday April 8th and sent this report:

This morning I am still humming and my face is still hurting from the “perma-smile” following Carol Welsman’s superb concert last night at Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby. This was a concert with musical surprises and “people surprises” too. Bill Coon was the guest guitarist and no surprise that he sounded great but I hadn’t even know that “Bill was on the bill” (sorry, haven’t had enough coffee yet) Yay Bill!!
Carol is the type of singer I could listen to for hours on end. I love her vocal timbre and I love the fact that she’s not constantly singing melismas or singing with any over done or habitual affectations. I believe every word she sings and I’m drawn in completely. She happens to be a wonderful pianist too playing her well thought out and catchy arrangements of swing, bossa, blues and ballads.
Last night many of us heard two other wonderful musicians for the first time. Drummer Dave Tull was a new discovery to me. Man, can that man play rhythm and soundscapes and colour with finesse and excitement. Smitten I am, as they say. Bassist John Belzaguy was the perfect match in this group with his great time feel and ability to dig in deep whether laying down lines or blitzing a boppin’ solo.
I loved every single song that Carol and her group played but perhaps the encore alone is something that I’ll never forget. Of course I’ve heard the song sung and played countless times in my life but never with such beauty and tenderness. “Garota de Ipanema” better known as “Girl from Ipanema” to most of us English speaking folks was the gem that etched my perma-smile even deeper with Carol singing it in Portuguese. Bill coaxed some sighing/crying guitar notes into phrases, Carol’s singing and playing was divine and we the audience sort of held our collective breath. SOOO gorgeous.
In closing I’d have to say that personally I am impressed by Carol as a musician because she doesn’t simply “try” to sing sultry or sexy or be what I call a poser. She’s really a superb musician and hearing her blaze through a bebop tune or improvise unison lines with voice and piano or imitate motifs in trading bars with her band mates… wow. She can really do it all…
Carol has a brand new recording out called “Alone Together” and I hope she’ll be back in Vancouver again really soon; perhaps after my perma-smile face recovers a little bit! – Karin Plato


The following evening Coastal Jazz Board Member Mitchell Edgar and his wife Janice Wright hosted a Cherry Blossom House Concert fundraiser for Coastal’s Education Program which featured music from pianist Chris Gestrin, bassist Jodi Proznick and guitarist Bill Coon. The House Concert phenomenon has taken off in Vancouver in a big way and as always, it’s great to hear fantastic music intimately played in someone’s living room.
The trio stuck to standards for the most kicking off with Dizzy Gillespie’s Birk’s Works, touching on All The Things You Are, Stella By Starlight, Caravan and many others in the two sets that were better than an hour each. Jodi & Bill play together regularly as part of Triology (with Miles Black on piano) but Bill told me that he and Chris haven’t played together in that kind of small group context in 10 years. All three had lots of room to stretch out with deft interplay around light solo, duo and trio lines. Given the results, I hope that this trio continues playing together (I suggested the name Triography) since they were obviously having as much fun as we were.


The group Triology played at Frankie’s Jazz Bar on Sunday evening too – Miles Black back in the piano chair with Jodi and Bill, filling out Bill’s very busy weekend. Speaking of house concerts, Bill Coon has been featured in an East Van House Concert series that has been very successful with pairings with other Vancouver and visiting musicians like Rene Worst, Rueben Gurr, Ron Peters, Steve Maddock and Mike Allen. The next scheduled house concert in this series features Bill Coon paired with Karin Plato on Saturday May 7th – email House Concert Info for details and reservations.

Addendum from Bill: I have been thinking about the last few days, how lucky I am to be playing music I Love with such a diverse and amazingly talented array of musicians. The ironic thing is that if one were to count Thursday as part of the ‘busy weekend’, I played five concerts including Frankie’s with Tony Wilson and Brock House with vocalist Helen Hansen!

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