Discovering Big Band Music in Vancouver

Photo credit: Fred Dunn | Flickr

Photo credit: Fred Dunn | Flickr

Did you know Vancouver has a big band?

In fact, the Metro area is home to multiple jazz ensembles specializing in big band music – the kind of horn-heavy, danceable tunes popularized back in the day by famous acts like Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Dal Richards Orchestra – helmed by none other than 96-year-old local legend Dal Richards – is probably the best known of the local big band acts.  But pop into the right bar or pub on any given weekend and you might just be blasted by a wall of saxophones, trumpets and trombones pumping out some serious swing music.

That’s what happened to me when I stopped in Pat’s Pub on Hastings Street recently.  For the uninitiated, Pat’s is one of the best – and most underrated – music venues in the city. Housed in the Patricia Hotel on an otherwise downtrodden stretch of Hastings, the pub opened back in 1914 as a jazz club.

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Discovering Big Band Music in Vancouver