Jazz’n its place
Alex Browne, Arts Reporter
October 10, 2006
Date: Thursday, Oct. 26 – 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Venue: Semiahmoo House
15306 24 Ave.
Tapestry Music, 1335 Johnston Rd.
Lee Aaron knows all about taglines and media monikers.
She’s had a few over the years, particularly from the 1980s through the early 1990s, when she was an arena-filling rock singer-songwriter.
An eight-time Juno nominee, and multiple award winner, she recorded 10 albums in as many years, sold a million records and toured the world.
But in the last decade she’s reinvented herself as a sultry, sophisticated interpreter of jazz and blues, using that feel as a starting point for original pop music, as in her recent CD Beautiful Things.
Still in demand to reprise the old hits, the South Surrey resident will be firmly on the jazz side at an Oct. 26 benefit concert for Semiahmoo Family Place.
For such gigs, she’s willing to accept the more up-to-date tags ‘Canadian icon’ and ‘Jazz Diva’, even if she finds it hard to relate.
“I don’t really feel anything when I hear myself described as that,” she said.
“It kind of tumbles off my back. If I believed everything that has been written about me, I’d either have the biggest ego on the planet or I’d cut my wrists from critical evaluations that seemed intent on stomping me into the ground.”
Fortunately, she now has a title she’s happy with – mom.
She and her husband, drummer John Cody, have two children – Angella, 2 and brother Jett, 1 – who Aaron describes as the delight of her life.
“They’ve had a powerful effect on me in the way I look at music and at the way I view the world,” she said.
“It’s in simple things like it being a lousy rainy day and saying to Angella, ‘what are we going to do today?’ And she gets her little rain boots and little umbrella and we walk around the corner to where the cows and horses are. We spend time slushing around in puddles, looking at sticks and slugs – she notices things that totally go by me.”
As a new mom, it was natural for Aaron to use her music to support Semiahmoo Family Place. The volunteer-driven organization provides a huge benefit for young families in White Rock and South Surrey – a drop-in centre for children up to five years old and their parents and/or caregivers.
“I’ve become very much involved,” Aaron said.
“I love the women on the board. I go there a lot and I’ve met wonderful moms and felt very supported.
“I want to help them keep their doors open.”
Semi Family Place recently switched locations from the old White Rock Town Centre Hall to Village Centre at 24 Avenue and King George Highway.
The Oct. 26 fundraiser will feature desserts, appetizers and a silent auction, as well as wine available for purchase.
And great music, of course – Aaron can vouch for that.
“I’ve got a wonderful, wonderful band for the event. There’s my husband, John, on drums and Graham Howell on sax – he’s one of my favourite sax players, as well as being a snappy dresser.
“On keyboard there’s Tilden Webb, and we’ve got Brent Gubbels, a truly great bass player. It’s a great band and I’m excited to be working with them.”
Aaron is also contributing in another way to the event.
“I have a new DVD that’s just come out. It’s called Museum, and it’s basically like a montage of my last decade of doing jazz, including videos, live performances and television appearances.
“It’s going to be available Oct. 26 and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to Semiahmoo Family Place.”
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