A love of music is in the Bush family’s genes.
Trumpeter Greg Bush, a music professor at Vancouver Island University, will appear on stage with his jazz vocalist daughter Lauren Bush on Jan. 21 at the Malaspina Theatre.They’ll join forces with the Arrowsmith Big Band performing Greg’s original compositions and arrangements.
“It’ll be very cool to have my kid up there singing in front of 16 musicians and hopefully a big audience,” said Bush, who has been composing songs for 25 years.
“Being a composer is a big part of being a jazz musician. In my case, it seems to be an extension of being an improvisational trumpet player. I’m inspired by something I heard a long time ago … melodies already exist. We just have to find them. Corny perhaps, but I agree.”
Bush said his style of composing falls into the mainstream modern jazz category. “I’ve become more serious about composing during the past 10 years because I have groups at my disposal that will perform my music,” he said. “Getting your work performed is very important.”
As a music professor at VIU, Bush teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Composition, Instrumental Conducting and Pedagogy, and Music History.
Originally from Montreal, he holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University and Master of Music in Jazz Performance from McGill University. Prior to coming to Nanaimo Greg was Director of Jazz Studies at Abilene Christian University in Texas. He’s also been on the music faculties at McMaster University and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario; and Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta.
In addition to his teaching experience, Bush has enjoyed a career as a busy freelance jazz trumpet player, arranger and composer. As a sideman he’s played in big bands and orchestras that have accompanied such artists as Big Miller, Paul Horn, Bobby Shew, Lee Konitz, Dizzy Gillespie and Bob Brookmeyer.
As the leader of his own big band and quintet, Bush has performed his original compositions in jazz clubs, concert halls and many jazz festivals across Canada. He’s also performed in Australia, the Fiji Islands, Germany, and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Recently Bush released his first CD entitled Cause and Effect, which features his original music. Locally, he’s the music director of the Georgia Straight Big Band and performs regularly with the Nanaimo Musicians’ Association Big Band.
Lauren, meanwhile, is a dedicated jazz vocalist who spent four years studying music at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas and training with vocal jazz professor, Kristin Ward. She took part in vocal jazz classes that concentrated on improvising, scatting, developing her songbook, studying some of the most well known musicians from Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday to Nnenna Freelon and Pat Metheny.
She has performed with Canadian artists such as Pat Beliveau, Alex Clements and Martin VanGalen and the renowned American trumpet player Bobby Shew. In February, she attended the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho and sang with Bobby McFerrin at his workshop, attended by over 900 people.
Since moving to Nanaimo, Lauren has performed with the Arrowsmith Big Band out of Qualicum Beach and with the NMA Big Band. She has completed several courses at VIU, and performs whenever she can in various venues on the Island.
The Arrowsmith Big Band concert is at 8 pm., Jan. 21 in the Malaspina Theatre, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, with a cameo appearance by special guest artist Pat Coleman. General admission is $10 ($7 for seniors and students). Tickets are available at Tom Lee Music, Fascinating Rhythm and at the door.
The VIU Jazz Studies program is committed to providing its students, and the Nanaimo community, the opportunity to hear and see international and local jazz artists.