Expanding trio keeps swing alive
A Walnut Grove drum teacher and performer unveils a new band, CD.
Scott Robertson's Swing Patrol Band and CD release party
Saturday, Oct. 25 Doors open at 7 p.m.
Surrey Arts Centre 88th Avenue and King George Highway
- Ticket are $25 (including show, CD and snacks) and can be purchased through Scott Robertson at 604-513-2282, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the Surrey Arts Centre box office at 604-501-5566.
Scott Robertson's lifelong infatuation with percussion instruments - especially drums - is evident in his new CD hitting the streets this weekend.
But this album also speaks to Robertson's long-time affinity for swing music.
Robertson is unveiling not only a new CD, but also a new band Saturday evening at the Surrey Arts Centre.
The new CD was made in honour of his 84-year-old father Morris, and as a tribute to the musicians his dad chauffeured around during the Second World War.
While Morris himself was never a musician, Robertson grew up listening to his father's collection of vinyl. He also relished hearing the stories of how his father, as a transport sergeant in the Canadian army, was tasked with shuttling the Canadian auxiliary services orchestra - based out of Guildford, England - to different military bases to perform.
More than just a chauffeur, Morris also helped the group load and unload, setup and tear down their equipment, and in the process became quite a fan.
The group would return to Guildford every three months to be reborn, or so Morris would explain to his young son, and it was during one of those reincarnations that the orchestra took on the name Swing Patrol.
That's where Robertson came up for the name of his newest band and CD.
Swing Patrol began taking shape for the Walnut Grove drum teacher and performer more than one year ago, and admittedly without the prompting of his wife Mona, Robertson said he'd probably still be in the recording studio.
Combining his love for the music with a deep-seeded passion to work with a varied array of musicians, Robertson had been contemplating creating a new band for some time.
As if he wasn't busy enough, Robertson undertook the project of creating Swing Patrol - the 2008 version.
And now, in addition to teaching drum classes to some 30 students from his home four days a week, he also instructs one day a week from a music store in Coquitlam, directs SFU's RMM pipe band - gr 4 drum corps, fronts two of his own trios, and is now adding Swing Patrol to the mix.
At present, he performs regularly with the Scott Robertson Trio (a cocktail dinner style music group), as well as the Tin Pan Trio (a Dixieland style group) that play hotel conventions, jazz festivals, corporate and special events, dances, banquets, and weddings.
Noting how difficult it is to market live bands in this day and age, Robertson said he wanted to create something more tantalizing to event organizers looking for live entertainment options.
Hence the creation of Swing Patrol.
Interestingly, while neither of his long-standing trios are actually made up of only three people (but rather made up of himself and any two of some dozen talent Lower Mainland musicians), this new group is made up of members from the fluctuating trios, as well as two new horn players, Evan Arntzen and Bria Skonberg.
The new CD contains 10 tracks, one original in a New Orleans second-line style, another song reaching back to the Dixieland era with Johnson Rag, and a number of more popular pieces from Count Basie and some of the famous swing bands.
Robertson began recording the first song last November, laid down a smattering of other songs during the winter and spring months, then wrapped it all up in early summer, in anticipation of this weekend's release.
"This CD keeps swing alive," Robertson said.
His first album, no expiry date, was released with the Scott Robertson Trio in 2002, featuring Robertson, Ron Thompson and Danny Parker.
That same crew, and more, are back for Swing Patrol. In his second CD, Robertson plays drums, with Thompson on guitar, while Danny Parker and Brent Gubbels sharing duties on bass. They're accompanied by Arntzen on saxophone and clarinet, and Skonberg on trumpet and offering vocals.
© Langley Advance 2008