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Podcast Episode

David Blake – The Tangent Café Era [S.1, EP.6]

David Blake on the Rhythm Changes Podcast

On the Rhythm Changes Podcast, David Blake pays tribute with me to the 7-year run of jazz at the Tangent Café in Vancouver, where he was the main booking agent.

DAVID BLAKE

Rhythm Changes Podcast topics

photo by Vincent Lim

  • The first time David and I performed together
  • David reveals how musical his family is
  • Folk music dances we’ve been part of (for me, North Shore Celtic Ensemble with Kirin Lamb)
  • Jazz drummer Andrew Millar getting David into the Tangent booking
  • Whether or not we think our city has too few music venues
  • The first gig David booked at the Tangent: Ihor Kukurudza on guitar, Eli Davidovici on bass, Mili Hong on drums
  • Other highlights from the early days: Meghan Gilhespy, Bill Coon & Oliver Gannon, Thad Bailey-Mai, and more

“Bill Coon is one person who […] I would give two gigs in one week!”

-David Blake
  • Interprovincial performers like Allison Au, Simon Millerd, Mike Bjella, Kai Basanta, and Ted Crosby coming to BC and playing at the Tangent
  • The best things about the venue for our generation and how it got going
  • The establishment joins in: Steve Kaldestad, Cory Weeds, Jodi Proznick, John Gross, Brad Turner, and more
  • Ted Crosby’s band that David loves: Braveheart (featuring James Meger and Omar Amlani)
  • My reductionist view about Cory, Cole Schmidt, and David’s influence on the scene
  • Our formative visits to the Cellar jazz club in Kitsilano, which closed the year that the Tangent took off as a jazz venue (2014); mine involved Chris Davis on trumpet, when Bob Rebagliati took the Douglas College Summer Jazz Intensive there; David’s was with Sandro Dominelli playing drums
  • David’s mother took piano lessons with the late Bob Murphy (also a big influence on my friend Jenny Xu)
  • David studied with woodwinds player Mariusz Kwiatkowski and learned Charlie Parker solos without knowing their significance
  • How David got from there to Capilano University
  • Another jazz guitar David he admires (David Occhipinti)
  • I talk about my introduction to Cap, right back to when Ihor and Jared Burrows auditioned me in 2012
  • The biggest challenges we’ve had navigating music school
  • A solution practiced by younger musicians like Ilhan Saferali, who go out and collaborate across high schools as teenagers to get more comfortable socially
  • Struggling with asking for help when you need it
  • What André Lachance told me about music reeling you back in
  • A quick Jonny Tobin love-fest
  • David’s sabbatical from the jazz life to make stop-motion animation
  • How instruments motivate us, as explained by Jasper Sloan Yip on Justice McLellan’s The JPod
  • The dark side of friends’ advice to never quit music
  • Our bare-bones instrument purchase histories, with an assist from Madeleine Elkins and family regarding my double bass
  • My peers whose gear wisdom I trust most often: Chad Galpin & Brad Pearson
  • The danger of depression getting intertwined with your identity
  • Avoiding the urge to over-practice your non-music hobbies that can come from a music career
  • A fast telling of my Bill Frisell / Aim to Stay / Europe / Gabriel Dubreuil story
  • David’s own playing at the Tangent and the bassists (Eli, Conrad Good) and drummers (Mili, Joe Poole, Miles Wong, Bernie Arai) he played with
  • My classmates who came down often and also played: Ben Frost, Parker Woods, the late Natasha D’Agostino, Chris Fraser
  • Even more guitarists playing: Tony Wilson, Alvaro Rojas, Tom Wherrett, David Sikula
  • Even bluegrass, from the Lonesome Town Painters!
  • The Tangent staff’s key role in making it a great venue

Top highlight

I don’t have one top moment for this episode. It’s the longest one I’ve produced so far, and it’s the least-edited of them all. So I encourage you to follow the emotional twists and turns, seeing where it leaves you at the end. Stick around for that!


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