Emerging singing star Jaclyn Guillou will bring her fresh touch with jazz standards and new originals to White Rock's First United Church

Emerging singing star Jaclyn Guillou will bring her fresh touch with jazz standards and new originals to White Rock's First United Church

Singer breathes new life into old standards

Jaclyn Guillou, presented by Peninsula Production at First United Church next month, draws on her experience in dance and musical theatre

Call Jaclyn Guillou’s music jazz with a difference.

The format of a jazz singer playing off the swingy, tasty accompaniment of a small ensemble of talented sidemen is far from new, of course, but Guillou gives it a new spin.

The fresh style of this emerging artist – winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star award at the 2009 Vancouver International Jazz Festival –  will be spotlighted for residents of White Rock and South Surrey Oct.12 at 8 p.m. at First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., presented by Wendy Bollard and Geoff Giffin’s Peninsula Productions.

Whether breathing new life into a ’40s standard like No Moon At All, adding lyrics to the compositions of famed jazzmen like Dave Brubeck and Wayne Shorter, or singing new originals like To The City, Little Red Shoes or California – which flutter by the listener almost like pages from a personal journal thrown to the four winds – Guillou invests her music with a light touch, subtly rhythmic phrasing and an engaging, almost conversational way with a lyric.

It turns out that none of this came about accidentally.

Until she devoted herself to jazz singing five years ago, the Vancouver-based Guillou’s principal credits had been in the world of musical theatre, particularly Arts Club shows like the wildly successful Beauty and the Beast.

Before that, from almost the time she took her first steps, she trained and performed as a tap dancer. That discipline left her with an understanding of the intricacies of rhythm that still surprises the jazz instrumentalists who work with her.

“My drummers, particularly, can’t believe how intuitive I am, but it’s because of all the years of tap dancing,” Guillou said.

Joining her for the White Rock show will be three of Vancouver’s most impeccable jazz sidemen; pianist Bruno Hubert, bassist James Meger and drummer Andrew Millar.

It’s definitely a homecoming for Meger, who grew up in White Rock and went to school here. But it seems the same for Guillou, even though it will be the first time she has performed in the city.

“I’m somewhat of a local girl,” she acknowledged. “I was born in Surrey and raised in North Delta, but my grandparents lived in White Rock, and I visited there a lot.”

Guillou also did a lot of her stage training in Surrey with Valerie Easton, until she left for Toronto at age 17 to study in the musical theatre program at Sheridan College (now Sheridan Polytechnic).

It was Easton who brought Guillou back to Vancouver to appear in an Arts Club show, and she wound up doing five musicals back-to-back for the company, including Gypsy, in which she had the gift part of brassy burlesque dancer Electra.

“I was a little young for the role, but they thought I had what it took to put it over,” Guillou said.

Cabaret was a turning point for her – it was through that show that she met noted Vancouver bassist Rene Worst, who, in turn, introduced her to his wife, well-known Vancouver jazz diva Jennifer Scott.

Guillou immediately sensed, in their world, a potential for the kind of self expression she needed.

“It was definitely the musical freedom that drew me to jazz,” she said. “The ability to experiment, to come up with an idea and develop it, where in musical theatre, everything is set and written down.

“I wanted to do one thing and do it well, but to incorporate everything I’d done in  musical theatre.

“In jazz, there’s always something new to explore. I felt limitless, like I have millions of years ahead of me, while in theatre I felt I had done everything I wanted to do.”

While Guillou enjoys the sense of moving forward and creating fresh jazz-based music capable of attracting new audiences to the idiom, she recognizes a need to revisit the roots of the music by exploring jazz standards.

“Actually, I go back and forth between doing new material and covering standards, and right now, I’m revisiting standards again,” she said. “I feel they’re terribly important – they are the foundation of writing new music. Either I’ll sing them as simply as possible to bring out the quality of the song, or revamp them, as I do with All Or Nothing At All, bringing in different chords and a new arrangement.”

Guillou said she looks forward to the upcoming local show, particularly because of a sense of momentum with her current back-up trio.

“We have a lot of shows in October, including the Cellar Jazz Club the night before the White Rock performance,” she noted.

The musicians have an intuitive rapport built on gigging together frequently, although Guillou said she wasn’t aware of that when she booked them for the shows.

“It’s great, but it happened accidentally,” she said. “I called them all separately, and it was only afterwards I realized they’d all been working together regularly.”

Tickets ($25 advance, $30 at the door) area available from Tapestry Music, or online at www.tickets.surrey.ca

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Hundreds gather at Surrey park in memory of victims in London attack

Vigil organized by Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read