Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2008: Curtis Fuller

Jazz on Wheels: Driving Forward

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Jazz on Wheels has had a busy summer, with appearances at a bunch of community events and several inner-city summer programs for kids. We’ve had a great time too. Amber Epp and Heitha Forsyth are an infectious duo—I swear they could get a crowd of corpses up dancing! They find a way to bring the most timid little mouse right out into the big playground and get them up shining and shaking. Curtis Nowosad and Will Bonness play like mad, and this year we added saxophonist Shannon Kristjanson, a very talented new kid on the block. Rodrigo Muñoz spices things up with Latin percussion, and I can often call up another player or two to sit in.

We’ve found the right repertoire too—something with a good beat that also tells a story about the origins of this music. Honestly, Jazz on Wheels is one of my favourite performance opportunities because I get to be serious and silly at the same time—this is definitely what I call Serious Fun!

The original plan of Jazz on Wheels was to expose kids to the instruments and the music—and the joy and pride of being indigenous to the North American continent. We do what we do to inspire not only those who have been less fortunate but everyone to the possibilities of dreaming a big dream.

We’re a few steps closer to our dream of an After Program which would make instruments and teachers available to kids who are interested in learning to play. I believe that sometime in the next year we’ll have the first instruments and we’ll be setting up the programming. Then, with a little help from our friends and supporters and the public at large, we’ll be able to make this dream a reality!

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