true jive pluckers
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true jive pluckers


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"Flawless pluckers offered variety"

'Jive Alive'


Conexus Arts Centre

In the dictionary, "eclectic" has two definitions: "Selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles," and "composed of elements drawn from various sources."

They could have added a third: "the music of the True Jive Pluckers."

Ranging from jazz to blues to Klezmer to classical, violinist Eduard Minevich, bassist Stephen McLellan and guitarist Jack Semple displayed amazing versatility and virtuosity in their Saturday night concert with the Regina Symphony Orchestra as part of the Shumiatcher Pops series.

The concert launched in dramatic fashion with the trio appearing on a raised platform at the back of the orchestra, where the usual shell had been left open to expose the red-lit cyclorama (a nice look for the Pops series!).

With their own giant silhouettes as background, the Pluckers got things off to a swinging start with "Come Fly With Me," then moved down front for the rest of the concert, where they turned out terrific number after terrific number, interspersed with low-key banter.

Eclecticism kicked in early. Debussy's "Claire du Lune" showed up as an introduction to "Moonglow." Mozart and Sarasate got their due, but so did "Pennies from Heaven." A first-half-closing "Fiddler on the Roof" medley featured not only Minevich's violin playing (obviously) but surprising mandolin sounds from Semple's guitar on "Sunrise, Sunset."

Semple's ability to switch styles on a dime shone throughout the concert. He went from blistering electric blues on B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get" straight to rippling Latinesque acoustic styling on "Nature Boy." And his voice (which impresses me more every time I hear it) moved just as easily between songs.

He was also on display as a composer: his "Jaxx Jazz" was a highlight of the first half. (And Stephen McLellan's "Don't Worry About a Thing" was a highlight of the second, and Minevich's orchestral arrangements a highlight throughout.)

Minevich's incredible energy impressed on every song, and particularly in the "Klezmer Suite," which garnered probably the largest ovation of any individual song of the night.

Bass players seldom seize the spotlight like guitarists and violinists, but McLellan's cool, rock-solid plucking on both acoustic and electric instruments provides the foundation on which TJP's unique sound rests.

And it is a unique sound. Even familiar standards like "Georgia" that you've heard a million times sound fresh in the hands of the Pluckers. (Much of that freshness comes from Minevich's violin, which provides a sound you don't often hear on arrangements of old standbys.)

The RSO was well-utilized throughout, and had its own chance to shine on "Harlem Nocturne" and the world premiere of local composer Matthew McLellan's tribute to David Rose and Leroy Anderson, "A Holiday for Mr. Anderson." (This delightful tune sounded like a holiday standard you've heard for years -- which in this case was exactly the point!)

The concert wrapped up with the amusing "Fiddlin' The Fiddle," which brought a quick and well-deserved standing ovation. (The encore saw Minevich doing the strolling-violinist bit through the audience, one or two of whom looked slightly alarmed.)

With the launch of TJP's first CD, We Are Here (selling like hotcakes in the lobby), and its plans to play with the Edmonton and Hamilton orchestras, many more people may soon learn what Regina audiences have known for some time: there may be other pluckers, and there may even be other jive pluckers, but these are the only True Jive Pluckers.

Accept no substitutes. - The Leader Post


1 We Are Here
2 Three Days in February



You name it, we play it.
Jazz, blues, tango, rock, country, klezmer, gypsy, and classical.
Our performance venues range from pubs to symphonic concert halls.