What the people are saying about Journeys to the Bandstand

“The first thing you notice holding a copy of Journeys to the Bandstand: Thirty Jazz Lives in Vancouver by author Chris Wong is the sheer heft of the text. Clocking in at over 600 pages, the book is proof that B.C.’s improvised music scene has a long and lively history. It’s testament to Wong’s skill that the book blazes by like a be-bop sax solo … Wong opens up the world of Vancouver jazz by bringing long lost names to life right up to events such as the Jazz at the ‘Bolt festival in 2023. Chapters focus on individuals while explaining their relevance to the greater scene. This means Journeys to the Bandstand avoids the curse of many music histories where the minutiae of dates, individuals and incidents are so complexly intertwined that the reader requires a flow chart to keep up. Instead, we are treated to stories such as the role that Vancouver played in the development of no less a titan of the genre than Ornette Coleman …”

—Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun and Province

Read Stuart’s article on Journeys to the Bandstand, based on an interview with Chris. 

 

“As the newest essential book on Vancouver jazz, Journeys to the Bandstand is inviting and personal. Chris Wong unlocks the decisions and emotions from the subjects’ lives from a well-researched vantage point, applying the same care to those tales from decades past as the ones from recent memory. Otherwise hidden personalities emerge as captivating stars on the scene alongside the more well-known names. You’ll learn a lot, whether you lived within these stories yourself or you’re discovering them for the first time … a book for the ages.”

—Will Chernoff, Rhythm Changes

Listen to Will’s two-hour+ podcast interview with Chris.

 

“Chris’s book is a must read not only because of Chris’s amazing ability to capture the personalities of these special artists but also to understand the foundation that Vancouver has for this beautiful art form.”

—Comment left by a reader on the Rhythm Changes website.

 

“I have never read a book so fast in my life! Chris did an exceptional job. It’s an absolutely wonderful book and it was so incredible to learn more about the history of jazz in our city and to read about the lives of people that I thought I knew really well. I can’t really put into words how fantastic it is … Congrats Chris Wong. You’ve contributed an incredible thing to the legacy of this city and to the legacy of this music.”

—Cory Weeds, saxophonist, founder, Cellar Music Group

 

“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

 

On Chris Wong: “A wonderful gentleman who has toiled and agonized for many years and now given birth to a very, very important book that is a wonderful document about Vancouver.” On the book’s unique approach of focusing on individual artists while also conveying history of Vancouver’s jazz scene: “That’s what makes this book particularly unique and worthwhile reading.”

—Gavin Walker, host, The Jazz Show, CiTR 101.9 FM

Listen to Gavin’s interview with Chris and a rare recording of Art Pepper captured live at the original Cellar jazz club. Chris wrote about the recording in the book.

 

“I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s fantastic. Chris Wong is such a good writer. I started out thinking I would read just a few of the chapters [on] musicians I was particularly interested in. But I wound up reading all the chapters in order. They’re so good. I can’t recommend it highly enough!”

—Brian Nation, founder, Vancouver Jazz Society & vancouverjazz.com

“For me reading this book was inspirational and revealing and surprising on many levels! I learned so much reading about the history of jazz in our city, about my musical heroes and colleagues and their lives in music, and all the challenges faced. Such wonderful true stories so beautifully written by Chris! A must have book for jazz lovers.”

—Karin Plato, Vancouver-based jazz vocalist and music teacher

“Boasting 605 pages, Chris Wong’s weighty new book “Journeys To The Bandstand” chronicles 30 jazz lives in Vancouver … Among others I was drawn to the adventures of sax legend Ornette Coleman (“the man with the plastic saxophone”) and “angry man” bassist Charles Mingus, who confronted a few B.C. Lions football players at the original Cellar jazz club on a cold night in 1961. Also look for chapters about Hugh Fraser, Langley-raised Brad Turner, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Cory Weeds (“the hardest working man in jazz business,” in two chapters), Dr. Lonnie Smith and many others.” 

Tom Zillich, Surrey-Now Leader

Read the complete item on Journeys to the Bandstand in Tom’s MUSIC NOTES column.

“A remarkable book and I am loving every page. Fun to hear about the old clubs that have, sadly, left the scene like the Glass Slipper and the Classical Joint. Wonderful and artistic portaits of some of our local jazz heroes. We shall look forward to Volume 2!”

—Comment left by a reader on the FriesenPress Bookstore website, where the book is featured as a FriesenPress Staff Pick.

 

A lovingly told and entertaining history of Jazz in Vancouver.
This book will appeal to Jazz fans everywhere!”

Outstanding writing. This Chris Wong guy can write. His style is unique, easy to read, and grounded in his research. A fantastic book. Highly recommended.”

—Comments left by readers in five-star reviews on amazon.ca.

Photos: Ron Small at the Cellar, March 7, 2008, by Steve Mynett. Ernestine Anderson and Clyde Griffiths at the original Cellar Jazz Club, by Franz Lindner. Bob Murphy at the Cellar, March 7, 2008, by Steve Mynett. Cory Weeds, Bill Weeds, and David Caballero at Frankie’s Jazz Club, January 22, 2023, by Vincent Lim. Bobby Hales: photographer unknown.