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Leskiw returns to his roots with SwingSoniq



Who: SwingSoniq

Where : St. David’s United Church, Pemberton

When: Sunday, Nov.18, 8 p.m.

Before there was the Guess Who, there was a Gibson guitar player, age 12.

Greg Leskiw comes full circle from his days as a youth practising guitar, back to jazz with swing. He recreated old favourites of the ’30s and ’40s for a postmodern audience on Moonglow . This 1999 release for the all-acoustic blend of SwingSoniq captures the vintage and contemporary originals in the sound of swing.

"My father taught me chords and how to play pop, which at that time was hot club swing – songs like After You’ve Gone and Moonglow. There was pretty high energy to the music, an energy that also taught me how to play," says Leskiw.

Grab a partner and your fineries, get out and dance! "Hot club swing" developed in the night clubs of France, during the war era, when nights out to cut a rug were the social event. Moonglow features swing style, but Leskiw will also play contemporary swing originals at SwingSoniq’s Pemberton performance.

No sugar tonight? In 1969 Burton Cummings of The Guess Who asked Leskiw to join the Winnipeg rockers, whose successes in gold albums and Junos included Share the Land, So Long Bannatyne, and Rockin’, and a platinum award for The Best of the Guess Who (Volume I). The Guess Who toured North America, Europe, and the UK, playing for the Royal Family, in addition to their broad fan base.

In 1972 Leskiw left the Guess Who and played with the Les Q band, renamed Kilowatt after signing with Delacorte Records (RCA).

Leskiw’s musical roots extend to blues and gospel influences, and were heard in the work of Mood Jga Jga, formed during the ’70s after his Guess Who period.

How did he choose the smooth-sounding nomenclature for SwingSoniq?

"Well the band name has a French touch – we actually thought about spelling it SwingSonique – but (the first name) seemed to say what we wanted it to say."

The band has performed at the Montreal and Winnipeg Jazz Festivals, where he says "the music goes over well with just about everyone, young and old."

In 1999 the band received Prairie Award nominations for Outstanding Jazz Recording ( Moonglow ), and Outstanding Songwriter (Leskiw).

Leskiw’s home base is in Winnipeg, where he opened Vox Pop Studios in the early ’80s, home to afternoons and coffeespoons with Superman superband The Crash Test Dummies, as well as The New Meanies. Currently Leskiw has a second album in production which waxes and wanes with Moonglow style, but covers new songs.

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