A&E » Arts

Youthful Yukon enthusiasm for jazz



WHO: Peters Drury Trio


WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 8

It's not Limp Bizkit. It's not Brittany Spears. It's not even a style largely popular with their generation, but the Peters Drury Trio are giving 100 per cent of their youthful enthusiasm to a sound older than their parents.

Youthful is a key word. At the ages of 15, 17 and 18 Graeme Peters, Caroline Drury and Jesse Peters had already found their niche in jazz. Growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon helped shape the interests, and eventually the careers, of the budding musicians. Classical, traditional and jazz music in the great white north? Albeit small and isolated, Whitehorse shows a strong commitment to the development of the arts.

"The cultural scene is very vibrant. There's a lot going on," enthuses Caroline. "The arts scene is very tight and there's a lot of support in all mediums, like dance and visual arts. And they give a lot of attention to young artists. I don't think you would get the same amount of attention in larger cities because there are so many people doing the same thing you are. When you've got that great ground base you can only thrive."

"Up north, we have a series called Jazz On the Wing where they bring in jazz artists from month to month," adds Jesse. "We've had some phenomenal players. One of the most inspiring concerts I had was with a bass player who played with the Bill Evans Trio in the ’60s. Since Whitehorse is a smaller community, we have the opportunity to do workshops and actually speak and interact with these jazz musicians as opposed to them being swept away in this crowd of people."

After a short, but encouraging, time spent performing in local and national festivals, the trio found themselves under the wing of, and in the studio with, the award-winning production talents of Rick Kilburn. There just couldn't be a more fitting title than When Old Met New for the debut CD of these teenagers who bring a confidence and freshness to a music that takes a while to be truly appreciated.

The Peters brothers have the advantage of having a classical music teacher for a mom (who now doubles as their road/business manager). Caroline admits her mom "can't carry a tune in a bucket," but she had no hesitation in giving up her pop performances for the chance to blow the dust off the traditional concept of jazz.

And as the most visible member of the band (her face appears on the cover of When Old Met New ), Caroline pulls off the meshing of generations perfectly. She’s a sophisticated ruby-lipstick-and-hourglass vision with smooth and sultry vocals, hearkening back to the smoky dancehalls of the ’40s. The boys are nothing to scoff at either, bringing the necessary maturity to their otherwise young appearances – a maturity that serious jazz critics would expect of any respectable performance.