Except for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, jazz can sometimes get short shrift in this city (though, to be fair, such is the fate of jazz in most towns outside of NYC and New Orleans). Fortunately for the Cellar Jazz Club, though, a recent guest brought the West Side club into the limelight.
At the end of August, House star Hugh Laurie – in town filming the Disney movie Tomorrowland with George Clooney – came by the Westside club (3611 West Broadway) to enjoy the guitar stylings of Rob Montgomery and ended up playing a few tunes on the club’s piano (Laurie is an accomplished piano player in the “stride” style, with two albums to his credit).
The appearance made headlines and boosted the 85-seat venue’s profile just in time for its 13th anniversary celebration this weekend.
That celebration features Harold Mabern. The 78-year-old pianist has played and/or recorded with many of the greats, including Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery and Lee Morgan (until the night in 1972 when “Morgan was shot dead at Slug’s Saloon, with Mabern present,” according to Wikipedia).
Since opening the club in 2000, Cory Weeds has turned the Cellar into Vancouver’s premiere jazz venue, hosting local, national and international talent. Weeds is also a saxophone player with several albums and numerous gigs to his credit. He was nominated for a 2012 Juno Award in the Traditional Jazz Album of the Year category for his record Up a Step.
This weekend, Weeks will accompany Mabern for two sets nightly, at 7:30 and 9:30, Sept 26 – 29 at Cellar Jazz. $59 gets you a seat for the show and a two-course meal. For students and musicians, there is a $20 cover and $10 minimum Sept. 26 and 29. For more info, visit cellarjazz.com.