London jazz fans can swing into spring back-to-back this week.

Young stars perform on Tuesday, April 25, at Banting secondary school for the first Thames Valley District school board Jazz Night. Then, A Group Of Seven–a septet blending top London-region vocalists and instrumentalists–plays the LPL’s Wolf Performance Hall on Wednesday, April 26, in a Jazz For The People series gig.

The TVDSB Jazz Night 2017 has three sets. Teenage players are heard in bands from the host school, Beal Secondary school, and South Collegiate Institute. Younger jazz players from elementary schools–Wilfrid Jury, Emily Carr, Stoney Creek, Pearson School for the Arts, and St. Thomas-based Locke’s–also hit the stage.

“This event is a new initiative for our School Board and will provide elementary and secondary jazz musicians with the opportunity to perform together and share their passion for this great art form … in what we hope will be an annual event,” organizers say. Concert time is 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Jazz Night has cool sounds earlier in the day via a top U of T ensemble. The U of T 12tet will be running workshops and has a 3 p.m. concert on Tuesday at Banting. The 12tet is comprised of fourth-year and graduate students. It’s a vehicle for jazz composers and arrangers to create new works of original Canadian jazz. Faculty member and musician Jim Lewis directs the 12tet.

A Group Of Seven blends members from JRLMA-winning acts After Four and Parallax. Vocalist and keys player Ron Nauta is in both acts. Vocalists Jenny Nauta and Theresa Wallis of After Four and Parallax sax player Rob Thibert are also in A Group. So are guitarist and vocalist Chris Norley, bassist Larry Ernewein and drummer John Knapp, who has just landed a gig with a touring Linda Ronstadt act. Quite the lineup, eh? 

A Group Of Seven jazz septet following practice in London, ON

Norley, the Nautas, and Wallis allow A Group Of Seven to share four-part harmonies. Jazz For The People head honcho Sandy MacKay is to guest with the Seven during Wednesday’s show.

All that jazz: Some details on these two London jazz events

What: TVDSB Jazz Night 2017
When: Tuesday, April 25 at 7 pm (doors at 6:30 p.m.)
Where: Banting Secondary School / 125 Sherwood Forest Square.
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How much: Admission by donation, with all proceeds going toward a scholarship fund for a senior TVDSB student who’s pursuing music at an accredited post-secondary institution.

Visit tvdsb.ca for details.

What: A Group Of Seven
When: Wednesday, April 26 at 7:15 pm
Where: The London Public Library’s Wolf Performance Hall / 251 Dundas St.
How much: Free

This is a Jazz For The People event. Visit londonpubliclibrary.ca or call 519-661-5120 for details.

James Stewart Reaney keeps James’s Brander Newer Blogger at LondonFuse.ca as part of his volunteerism and reverence for London A&E. He recently retired from The London Free Press after more than 30 years covering everything from A — The Alcohollys — to B: baseball’s 1986 World Series. Follow his Twitter #ldnont thoughts via @JamesSReaney

Feature photo by Patrick Smithers

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