Journeys to the Bandstand

What I didn’t know [when starting to research and write this book]: I would become full-on, hopelessly obsessed with finding out every arcane detail about the artists gathered in these pages, whether they are living or long gone. Those myriad facts are puzzle pieces that—even though some pieces are missing—form portraits of extraordinary people with a hunger for jazz and other creative artforms, a determination to overcome struggles, and a deep joy for creating profound expression.
—Chris Wong, from the Preface and Introduction to Journeys to the Bandstand.

Journeys to the Bandstand: Thirty Jazz Lives in Vancouver chronicles the creative lives and musical journeys of thirty extraordinary artists who have helped shape the jazz scene in the west coast Canadian city, and further afield. Each chapter focuses on one remarkable artist, or a small group of impactful musicians, mostly based in Vancouver (Al Neil, Dave Quarin, Brad Turner, Cory Weeds, Jodi Proznick, Natasha D’Agostino, and others). The book also highlights some American musicians (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Dr. Lonnie Smith, George Coleman, and others) who have made an indelible impression on the city’s jazz community.

Weaving a first-person perspective—through my experiences hearing the musicians perform and documenting oral history from in-depth interviews—with extensive written and audio-visual history gathered from articles, books, letters, recordings, films, and more, Journeys to the Bandstand is a compelling collection of long-form portraits. The unique life stories of each subject include challenges—addictions, anxiety and self-doubt, racism, abuse, and other hard realities—and triumphs when they succeeded in making expressive and memorable music.

Each individual path forms a complex and fascinating passage—the journey to the bandstand.

For more information, read the FAQs about the book. Photo of Hugh Fraser at Cory Weeds’ Cellar, December 20, 2006, by Steve Mynett.

Chapters

1 / Living the Jazz Life: John Dawe
2 / The Electrical Guitarist and his Only Son: Jim and Rick Kilburn
3 / The Man with the Plastic Saxophone: Ornette Coleman
4 / Far Out: Al Neil
5 / Father and Son: Barry and Dylan Cramer
6 / Mind of Mingus: Charles Mingus
7 / Fisherman’s Jazz: Dave Quarin
8 / The Road from Avonlea to the Cellar: Bobby Hales
9 / Total Honesty: PJ Perry
10 / Jazz Dreamer: Carol Fox
11 / The Voice: Ron Small
12 / Deep Connection: Bob Murphy
13 / Let Your Voice Be Heard: Hugh Fraser 
14 / Thankfully: Ross Taggart
15 / Here Now: Brad Turner
16 / Life of Bruno: Bruno Hubert
17 / How My Heart Sings: Kate Hammett-Vaughan
18 / Hardest Working Man in Jazz Business Cory Weeds / Part 1: How to Succeed as a Jazz Club Owner / Part 2: Fin de l’Affaire, Living the Jazz Dream
19 / The Doctor and the Ambassador: Dr. Lonnie Smith and Seleno Clarke
20 / Big G: George Coleman
21 / The Rhythm Section: Tilden Webb, Jodi Proznick, and Jesse Cahill
22 / Keeping It Real: Roy McCurdy
23 / Sense and Sensibility: Amanda Tosoff
24 / Love Walked In: Mike Allen
25 / Endings Rarely Are: Natasha D’Agostino

Thank you notes, and the book by numbers

Chris Wong self-published Journeys to the Bandstand with support from more than 130 musicians and others who kindly agreed to be interviewed (multiple times in some cases), editor David Ferman, FriesenPress, a volunteer community of generous souls, a wonderful benefactor/jazz fan, and family and friends. Chris is very grateful for their support.

The book includes the 25 chapters listed above, a Foreword by Nou Dadoun, a chronology of key events in Vancouver’s jazz history, a discography, more than 140 black and white images, and other elements on 605 pages.

Interviewees

Mike Allen, Bernie Arai, Ross Barrett, Mike Beddoes, Peter Bernstein, Fiona Black, Miles Black, David Blake, Julie Brown, Jesse Cahill, John Capon, James (Jim) Carney, Nikita Carter, Morgan Childs, Bill Clark, Donnie Clark, Seleno Clarke, Terry Clarke, Joanne Clifton, George Coleman, Bill Coon, Dylan Cramer, Anna D’Agostino, Rocco D’Agostino, James Danderfer, Steve Davis, John Dawe, Michael de Courcy, Joey DeFrancesco, Lorae Farrell, Wilmer (Bill) Fawcett, Maurice Foisy, Don Fraser Jr., Hugh Fraser, John Frederickson, Don Friedman, Jack Fulton, Chris Gestrin, Michael Grunewaldt, Collette Hackl, Bobby Hales, Jeff Hamilton, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Louis Hayes, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Terry Hill, Ken Hole, Bruno Hubert, Jim (Jimmy) Johnson, Steve Kaldestad, Tom Keenlyside, Jim Kilburn, Rick Kilburn, John Korsrud, André Lachance, Jenny Larisey, Mike LeDonne, John Le Marquand, Stephano Liapis, Walley Lightbody, Harold Mabern, Katie Malloch, Joan Mariacher, Jon Mayer, Christopher McBride, Roy McCurdy, Ian McDougall, Charles McPherson, Eric Metcalfe, Reece Metcalfe Rehm, Sharon Minemoto, Marcus Mosely (corrigendum: incorrectly spelled “Mosley” in the book), Bob Murphy, Carol Murphy, Margo Murphy, Steve Mynett, Lewis Nash, Brian Nation, Tracy Neff, Karen Newman, Andreas Nothiger, John Orysik, PJ Perry, Ray Piper, Jodi Proznick, Dave Quarin, Jamie Reid, Jack Reynolds, Dave Robbins, Ed Roop, Mike Rud, Campbell Ryga, Jennifer Scott, Gregg Simpson, Dick Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Gary Smulyan, Bryan Stovell, Joani Taylor, Don Thompson, Amanda Tosoff, Bob Turner, Brad Turner, George Ursan, Monique Van Dam, Gavin Walker, Jan Walters, Tilden Webb, Bill Weeds, Cory Weeds, Blaine Wikjord, Tim Williams, Spike Wilner, Audie Wong, Rod Wong, Rene Worst, Doreen Young, Henry Young

How to buy the book

Buy the book, inscribed for you, from Chris • Version available: Paperback. If you’re in the Vancouver area, you can buy Journeys to the Bandstand from Chris for $40 (including GST). You can pick up the book from him or he can personally deliver it to you. Chris can also ship the book. Send Chris an email or submit the Contact form and he’ll make arrangements with you.

Neptoon Records | The Paper Hound | Massy Books | Reasons To Live Books & Records  Version available (priced in Canadian dollars): Signed paperback. Buy the book at Neptoon by visiting the store at 3561 Main St. in Vancouver. Buy the book at The Paper Hound by visiting the store at 344 W. Pender St. in Vancouver. Buy the book at Massy Books by visiting the store at 229 E. Georgia St. in Vancouver or ordering it from Massy’s website. Buy the book at Reasons To Live by visiting the store at 709 Gibsons Way in Gibsons.

Amazon.ca • Versions available (priced in Canadian dollars): Paperback, hardcover, and Kindle edition. Buy the book on Amazon.ca.

Indigo Versions available (priced in Canadian dollars): Paperback, hardcover, and Kobo eBook. Buy the book on Indigo.ca.

FriesenPress Bookstore • Versions available (priced in Canadian dollars): Paperback, hardcover, and eBook. (The list price for paperback and hardcover versions is cheaper than it is elsewhere because shipping is more expensive.) Buy the book on the FriesenPress Bookstore website.

Amazon.com • Versions available (priced in American dollars): Paperback, hardcover, and Kindle edition. Buy the book on Amazon.com.

Barnes & Noble • Versions available (priced in American dollars): Paperback, hardcover, and eBook. Buy the book on the Barnes & Noble website.

Apple Books • Version available: eBook. Buy the eBook on Apple Books.

Google Play • Version available: eBook. Buy the eBook on Google Play.

Rakuten Kobo • Version available: eBook. Buy the eBook on Rakuten Kobo.

This page will be updated with information on other retailers who will carry the book.

How to borrow the book

The Vancouver Public Library has ordered four copies of Journeys to the Bandstand. You can place a hold on the book. 

What the people are saying about Journeys to the Bandstand

“I was fortunate to get to read Chris Wong’s new book about the jazz scene here in Vancouver. It’s coming out in February, and you should rush to get it when it arrives. I couldn’t put it down, and I learned so much about a scene that I thought I knew a lot about. From Charles Mingus fighting the BC Lions to Cory Weeds fighting pretty much everybody else, Chris tells us the real stories behind the people who shaped this city’s rich Jazz history. What a fantastic read and what a great testament to the amazing musicians who work here.”

—Tim Reinert, The Infidels Jazz

The soundtrack

Artists and songs Chris wrote about in the book:

Spotify

TIDAL

Definitions

journey, noun

A ‘spell’ or continued course of going or travelling, having its beginning and end in place or time, and thus viewed as a distinct whole; a march.
– Oxford English Dictionary

bandstand, noun

1: A usually roofed platform on which a band or orchestra performs outdoors.
2: A platform in a ballroom or nightclub on which musicians perform.
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary