If you were hanging out in Steveston last Friday evening, you may have heard your favorite classic hits playing loudly just outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. The popular 10 piece swing band Dancetime Big Band played some wonderful music for us that left the audience wanting more and reminiscing the golden age of the Big Band era.
But, did you know that Big Band swing was the mainstream music during which the canneries were operating? It is said by one historian that Big Band jazz has its origins in New Orleans in 1898 after the Spanish-American war, flooding the city with used instruments when military bands returned to the port to decommission. African-Americans interested in music quickly purchased these instruments and began to form bands, leading to unconventional playing techniques and unconventional rendering of popular musical tunes. From the 1900s onwards, this genre of music became one of the greatest successes in musical history.
Although this genre of music is not uniquely Canadian, artists from Canada have had much success. For instance, Dal Richards from Vancouver is still very popular today and he began playing insanely popular Big Band numbers.
Next Friday for Music at the Canneryannery, we have The Jessica Stuart Few coming to play folk jazz for us, also a popular form of music during when the cannery was open. The trio originates from Toronto and will be arriving in Steveston so be sure to come early because they are sure to be a hit!
Learn more about the history of big band music here!