Ian Sinclair, who was born and raised in the city returns to the community Jan. 27, with a stop on his Series of Tubes Tour.
A Series of Tubes is an instrumental trio that enjoys creating a kind of musical conversation between the styles and traditions of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and electronica. They are appearing as part of their tour through Alberta and Saskatchewan in support of their self-titled debut EP.
Since late 2011, A Series of Tubes have been performing in Toronto at its most prominent creative venues—including Toronto’s premier jazz club, The Rex—and continue to collaborate with many of the city’s most acclaimed musicians including Juno winning saxophonists Mike Murley and Kelly Jefferson.
The band is led by Ian Sinclair, a jazz musician born and raised in Yorkton, Saskatchewan but who has studied and performed all over North America as a keyboardist and pianist.
Sinclair, who was born in Yorkton in 1976, leaving after high school to study music at the University of Saskatchewan, said this will be his first ‘professional’ show in his home town.
“While I have done some instructing and small appearances, I haven’t performed a concert with a professional ensemble in Yorkton since I left for the University of Saskatchewan,” he told Yorkton This Week. “It means a lot to do so, in particular in a concert largely spearheaded and sponsored by Larry Pearen, my first band teacher in Grade 5 at Dr. Brass Elementary. His example as a music educator continues to inspire me in my own teaching.
“Also, many families who I grew up with and lived in Yorkton since I was a kid are still there, and I am especially looking forward to sharing my performance with them.
“I expect it will feel really special once I’m on stage sharing music with an audience filled with so many folks I share a common background with.”
Sinclair said his interest in music actually took root in Yorkton.
“I started by taking piano lessons when I was in Grade 4 and then started band in Grade 5, playing the euphonium -- an instrument like a small tuba,” he said. “I continued studying both instruments while taking music education at the University of Saskatchewan.”
Over time, as an adult, Sinclair’s career path evolved.
“I was a band teacher for a year and then decided to take jazz piano more seriously with a private teacher in Edmonton and then some additional classes at McGill University for two years,” he said.
“I took time off to work on cruise ships for a bit then completed a Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, the largest university-based jazz school in the U.S. I worked full-time as a freelance performer in the Dallas area for a year afterward and then taught for a year at the University of Idaho.
“Since 2009, I have been working on a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Performance at the University of Toronto while freelancing here.
In terms of his music Sinclair is solidly set in the jazz milieu.
“The band I am bringing to Yorkton is A Series of Tubes, a band I started with two younger musicians - Mark Godfrey on electric bass & Mackenzie Longpre on drums - who are recent graduates of the University of Toronto’s prestigious undergraduate jazz program,” he said.
“I describe what we do as creating a kind of musical conversation between the styles and traditions of jazz and contemporary R&B, hip-hop, and electronica. Most jazz is about creating a conversation between its inherited tradition and popular folklore, songs, and practices.
“Sometimes that means creatively interacting with the melodies and rhythmic practices. Jazz is often associated with older popular traditions like swing rhythms and popular melodies from earlier in the 20th century, but - in reality - jazz musicians have always adapted practices from popular music for decades. Miles Davis was using the music of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone to inspire his work in the late 60s and 70s. Many current artists use similar influences as ours while still others have covered material like Radiohead. We play a lot of original music inspired by these practices but also some covers of popular songs.
In addition to Sinclair’s group All That Jazz, Yorkton’s adult community jazz band, will be playing a set of familiar swing favourites and some contemporary big band compositions.
A Series of Tubes, in concert is on Sunday, January 27th at 730 p.m. at the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans Centre. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.