Beth Arrison
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Beth Arrison


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"Promising Jazz Singer Beth Arrison is out of Hibernation"

Yes, it was a lengthy hibernation. But it’s over now. And jazz artist Beth Arrison is ready to happily forage for a larger audience.

The Alberta native is on tour of Eastern Canada, including a stop in Ottawa Thursday, but a recent date in Calgary marked her most significant gig in the past couple of years outside of a handful of coffee shops and small cafés on the West Coast where she now lives.

“I really just took some time off performing in front of people, and now I’m getting back into it,” Arrison says. “I don’t know, I guess I just had some downtime. I needed space. I had good adventures and I probably just wore myself out emotionally, so I took a break.” That’s something of an abridged version of events that leaves out many of the key elements, most notably the fact that six years ago, at the age of 23, the vocalist released her debut, Modest Charms, a gorgeous album of smoky, contemporary jazz-pop that begged for bigger things to befall her.

That seemed a certainty when she left her Sylvan Lake homestead and plunked herself down in the bright lights of L.A. “I was mostly going down there because I knew there was a large amount of people in a smaller area,” she says of her naivete at the time. “I had a friend that had moved down there and I literally just jumped on a plane — I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t watch TV so I didn’t really know anything about a lot of what happens. I was totally clueless down there, I would walk around in dangerous neighbourhoods. . . .

“But it’s a small town, too, once you really know it. And I met a lot of cool people that are involved in the arts.”

She also managed to record her sophomore effort, Chasing Butterflies, which she released in 2010. It’s another excellent, late-night event that makes beautiful use of a voice that sounds like vapourized honey, planting it in a garden of dreamy but slightly askew sonics.

But, rather than use the album as a calling card to further her career, Arrison, who describes her-self as being “gun shy,” retreated to Alberta. “It was a really cool experience but I got a bit intimidated by music biz in general,” she says. “So I ran back home and went into hibernation. I ran right back to the farm. I was overwhelmed.”

Relocating to an acreage just outside of Whistler, B.C., helped her rediscover that confidence and inspired her to return to music. The somewhat closed community is one she’s begun to navigate (“Is it welcoming?” she repeats when asked, and laughs), and she’s also begun to write again and is hoping to head back into the studio before the end of the year.

“During this time I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a musician, as a piano player. And now I’m really excited to play onstage because I just feel that much more capable

“Artistically I think living on the West Coast has been really good for me. It opened some creativity that wasn’t there before. And I don’t know what it is — whether it’s the scenery or what it is — but I’ve been doing more art and dancing here and maybe that’s tapped into something. But musically it’s just been a great place.”

- Ottawa Citizen

"Arrison's Performance a Treat"

Romance at the Calgary Stampede, memories of Montreal, and starry skies were all part of Beth Arrison's dreamy ramble through inner and outer landscapes Friday night at Char's Landing.
The young musician treated the audience to a varied program of original compositions from her two CDs, Chasing Butterflies and Modest Charms. Pieces ranged in tone from gentle reflections on nature and desire, to lively honky-tonk celebrations of night life in the big city.
Her soft, creamy voice created a rather trance-like atmosphere as the music flowed from one song to the next. Arrison accompanied herself on the piano, showing considerably versatility and skill. At times she meandered into an ethereal tinkling that reminded me of Joni Mitchell.
Then she would plunge into a bright boogie-woogie that still retained a light, floating quality. Her music eased the audience into that relaxed, meditative zone common to cool jazz, while still maintaining a pleasant melodiousness that can be completely absent from much music produced in that genre.
Arrison could work on her enunciation a bit. It was difficult to make out the lyrics. And she declined to come out for an encore, because she was "too shy" - an odd attitude for an emerging performer. But other than that, her performance was delightful.
We can only hope that she can be coaxed away from her Whistler home to return to the Alberni Valley soon. - Alberni Valley Times

"Familiar Faces Return to Stages"

It is mostly about country and alt roots music this week and long missed familiar faces returning to Lethbridge stages.
Edmonton alt-country group the Swiftys come to Lethbridge on May 24 to play a gig with Shaela Miller and Treeline. Dave McCann plays a rare local show at the Slice on May 25 to celebrate 40 candles on his birthday cake. Andrew Scott also returns to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge on May 25. Vancouver-based glam-rock band Incura return home to Lethbridge this weekend when it plays the Slice on May 26 with Gravity Crash. For something more jazzy, Beth Arrison comes to the Owl Acoustic Lounge on May 26.

Beth Arrison blends jazz and classical music
Beth Arrison is bringing her blend of piano-based jazz and classical music to the Owl Acoustic Lounge on May 26.
She plays Lethbridge with Calgary drummer Nathan Giebelhaus and bassist Kodi Hutchinson.
Arrison originally hails from Bassano and lived in the Calgary area for a while but has since moved to Vancouver.
“I was trained to play classical piano when I was young, but i always liked that jazz has a lot of improvisation,” she said from Squamish while on her way to a rehearsal for another gig.
While she has played with Giebelhaus before, she has yet to meet Hutchinson.
“So there will be that element of surprise,” she said.
She has to go back to Red Deer immediately after her Lethbridge show for her piano concert.
She enjoys both classical and jazz performances.
“With classical music, it is more about how you play a particular piece. With jazz, it is more about improvising,” she said.
“I like being able to play jazz music in a classical context or playing jazz music while adding classical elements to it.”
Arrison expects she will be on stage at 10:30 p.m. as there is an opening act. - Lethbridge Sun Times

"Arrison's Back on the Road"

Beth Arrison wants to tour again.
The Vancouver-based jazz pianist has rarely toured in the last few years. Her desire to connect with a new audience is bringing her back to playing live music including a show at Java Express on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
“I really haven’t been focusing on tours for the past 2 years for whatever reason; mostly to record and practice. The way you drive for hours and hours can be very tiring. I’ve decided to go out once a month and fly,” Arrison said.
Arrison, 29, had spent about six months living in Hollywood while writing her record Chasing Butterflies. She bought a car in Los Angeles and drove it to Vancouver before spending a year in Alberta, where she’s originally from.
All that travel didn’t leave Arrison with much energy to travel to play music.
“I didn’t feel like I could perform and I’m at a better state now so I’m really happy to be back on the stage,” Arrison said. - Moose Jaw Times-Herald

"Jazz Album Flutters to Life"

Edmonton-based singer/songwriter/pianist Beth Arrison’s second album, Chasing Butterflies, lives up to its title: It’s all levity, light and “up.”

Arrison, who’s often compared to Diana Krall, is no stranger to space and abstract phrasing (Under the Moon). This characteristic gives the music on Chasing Butterflies an off-beat jazz-driven quality full of eccentric moments that attract and meander (Jack and Lucy).

Vaudeville themes are checked and explored in songs with open-ended meaning –– Arrison’s direction seems to point to ambiance rather than definite statement.

Arrison’s vocal is alternately wispy and detached on the beatnik tracks and clean and intimate on forceful songs like Stuck in the City, the vibrant opening track, and the expressive ballad Broken Highway.

These songs buck the jazz vibe while using a similar free-form approach. This latter song, as well as Nicholas Green, creates a brief glimpse into Arrison’s dreamy way with the ballad form – a vibe that David Lynch would appreciate. - Vernon Morning Star


Modest Charms (2006)
Chasing Butterflies (2009)
Darling (2012)



Beth Arrison, born and raised in the prairies, is a jazz musician often heard on the CBC. After a promising start with debut release, Modest Charms, Arrison relocated to California where she worked in the film industry while gigging at night. Returning north to record Chasing Butterflies, she settled in Whistler, BC & currently performs with grammy award recipient & percussionist Israel Berriel. Arrison received high praise from legendary producer Bob Ezrin who acted as engineer advisor on her latest session.