The Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble

The Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble tour comes to Hope

Band set to play at the Hope Station House on March 16

Blind drummer Karl Schwonik brings his 1+4 tour to Hope on Friday.

His latest album was a dream project, bringing together two of Schwonik’s favourite musicians – alto saxophonist Remi Bolduc and trumpeter James Davis.

“We have 600-700 (songs in our repertoire) between us, but we narrow it down to 20 or so per night, and mix it up,” said 27-year-old Schwonik. “We always do some from the new  1+4 CD, then always a fast one, a middle one, a ballad, and a Latin piece … In fact we have the best Latin piano player in Canada, Chris Andrew out of Campbell River.”

Even though Schwonik has a passion for playing jazz, he admittedly prefers to listen to country music.

“I love listening to country because everything just fits together so well – the lyrics, the instruments, the melody, the harmony, the message,” he explained. “But jazz is different. It’s very improvisational, changing, moving, a give-and-take. We all communicate with each other, all at the same time.”

For Schwonik, the difference between recording and playing live is the energy. In studio, the band is focused on accuracy.

“We only have one chance. We’ll play 10 hours to get it right,” he said. “With an audience the energy level shoots up, they are with us all together. We try new things, take it to the next level, maybe mess up, but we’re putting it all out there. It’s impulsive.”

Schwonik grew up on an Alberta farm and was  exposed to a variety of music ranging from polka to jazz. His early influences were Duke Ellington with Caravan, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck Quartet with Take Five, Glen Miller, and Benny Goodman.

Schwonik has shared the stage with many inspiring musicians including Dave Douglas, Chucho Valdes, Sonny Fortune, David Braid, Jens Lindemann, P.J. Perry, Tommy Banks and Hugh Fraser.

In demand internationally as a guest artist and instructor, Schwonik has taught students of all ages at over 200 institutions. He regularly lectures on a broad range of topics in jazz, music business and artists coping with disabilities.

Among the many awards and distinctions Schwonik has garnered are the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award, the VSA Arts International Young Soloist Award, the AFM International Diversity Award and the Queen’s Jubilee Award.

In 2008, Schwonik founded the Wetaskiwin Jazz Society in Alberta to build awareness for the arts. He also joined the board of directors for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts last year.

Schwonik has completed over 15  tours throughout North America as a band leader and performed in diverse venues such as Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center.

The show at the Hope Station House starts at 6 p.m. and will feature special guest Remi Bolduc,  who has been a musician for over 30 years in Canada. He is also a professor of music at McGill and Concordia universities.

Tickets to the concert include dinner and are available at Headliner Barber Shop,, or 604-869-5956.

Proceeds go to the roof restoration project.

Just Posted

WATCH: Kan Yon restaurant break-in caught on camera

Owner Kevin Kwong said the break-in will not stop him from doing business

Letter: With Greyhound cuts, cancer care still available for rural residents

Editor, In light of the Greyhound bus lines reducing service in British… Continue reading

Savage West rock at a hoedown for a cause in Hope

Owners of Broke Buckle Clothing Co. held the event to benefit the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Ski hill will be open seven days a week starting Dec. 14, and cross-country trails as well

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

VIDEO: Giants winning streak halts against Everett Friday at home in Langley

Following their first loss since November, G-Men hope to regroup and defeat Victoria on Saturday.

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Most Read