Mike Downes Quartet in Winnipeg

This event was one of the few times Jazz Winnipeg got it almost right. A well advertised event, a good venue, no ‘super friends’ lame ass opening act and even the weather broke making it nice for everyone.

Mike is from Winnipeg and, unlike so many that this town tries to call their own, was actually born here, went to school here and his mom still lives here.

The rest of the group, Robi Bottos on piano, Ted Quinlan on Guitar and Larnell Lewis on drums. Added for this tour was baritone sax player
Shirantha Beddage

You can follow the links and find out more about these guys if you are not already aware.

So, without the inappropriate opening act that plagues so many of No Jazz Winnipeg’s events, we got two sets from this top notch group. They played an hour and then a 45 minute set. A mix of newer and older originals as well as a couple of standards. “September in the Rain” was an off the cuff version showing how these guys were top flight jazz jammers. The other was “I Hear a Rhapsody” their own arrangement. It always gives me hope (or an excuse) when top flight guys like this miss a cue and have to recover.

The event was well attended and overall the sound was good.

It wouldn’t be a JW event without something to poke at and and for the second concert of the winter they had the same MC say something stupid. When reciting Mikes resume, she stumbled on the pronunciation of Pat Metheny’s last name.

Not exactly a surprise that a charity that uses the “J” world to collect money from donations, tickets and merchandise and still remain a charity but puts out only 33% jazz content hire people who know jack squat about jazz (and probably doesn’t like but a smattering of it.