The Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation, better known as VEJI, is in its 30th year of regular performing and special presentations. VEJI's goal is to present intense passion and sonic diversity by respecting the past, having fun in the present and looking forward to the future. Their most recent CD "V" represents these goals and displays the diversity that makes up the contemporary jazz musician's palette.

On the strength of their live performances at festivals and the recording, "V", Hugh Fraser & VEJI performed at the Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, Cuba with Chucho Valdes in 2007. This was VEJI's first tour outside Canada since their 1985 appearance in New York City. Looking ahead, a workshop and performance of VEJI is being planned for January 2010 at the Lincoln Centre in New York City as well as an extensive coast to coast Canadian tour.

VEJI has created an energized backdrop for guest soloists Frank Foster, Slide Hampton, Don Thompson, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, and Julian Priester. VEJI performs mainly original music, but has performed important works at jazz festivals such as Charles Mingus' "Black Saint" and "The Sinner Lady," and John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme."

Their first album, "VEJI," was released in 1980 after winning the Canadian Stage Band Festival, "Classic VEJI" followed in 1986 on a Toronto label, and "VEJI NOW!" recorded with over 20 musicians was short listed (top ten) for a Grammy in 1990.

More recently, VEJI released “V” and “Big Works” on Hugh Fraser’s Boat House Record label and ended their last Canadian tour performing at the Festival de jazz de Montreal for 40,000 people. VEJI also was chosen to represent Western Canadian creativity as one of three landmark Canadian big bands which Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass and Vic Vogel’s Montreal Big Band at the IAJE in Toronto. This concert was broadcast nationally on CBC and also internationally out of New York on WBGO.

All of VEJI's members are major forces in jazz performance, composition, and education in the Canadian Pacific North West. Past members are thriving in New York, New Mexico and Toronto, and still VEJIfy when near enough.

Whether VEJI is playing screaming bop, Afro Latin grooves, white noise or death fusion, the combination of horns, drums, strings and voices will transport the listener to another level of bliss through sound, then return them to their environment refreshed and energized.

Leading VEJI is Juno Award winning trombonist/pianist/composer Hugh Fraser. 

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Hugh Fraser Trio

Gordon Smith Gallery, 2121 Lonsdale Ave, Vancouver, BC

Benefit and Tribute to Hugh Fraser

Capilano College - Blue Shore Theatre, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver, BC

$25 (cash at door) or see home page for ticket info updates


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