Bluenotes get into the swing of Christmas

The new Bluenote group is putting the swing into Christmas this year, playing at several public and private venues around the city.

The new Bluenote group is putting the swing into Christmas this year, playing at several public and private venues around the city.

The group includes lead singer Carmen Mutschele, Rudy Wassenaar on piano, Michael Fait on drums, Richard Butters on alto saxophone.

Wassenaar had 12 years of classical piano training from age seven to 19 and while in university played different styles at different venues including Latin American Jazz, good old rock and roll and more.

After arriving in Williams Lake in 1987 he did some theatre work, big band and also chamber music.

Now his latest project is the Bluenotes which is focused on light jazz and swing while being open to guest soloists from time to time.

“The goal is to always offer something new and exciting at each performance,” Wassenaar says. “Music is the universal language and brings people together.”

Fait became a self-taught drummer in his early 20s inspired by a live drum solo performed by Max Roach called The Drum Also Waltzes.

He played with various blues bands in his 20s, slowly moving into jazz in those unforgettably swiftly moving years while raising a family.

“Alone again in my late 50s I joined the Rachel Walker Trio where all three of us wrote original music and recorded two CDs and had a lot of fun at it, as well,” Fait says.

“Now playing with Blue Note, with the oldest being 70 and the youngest 21, we play jazz standards and mix it, delightfully I might add, with rock, blues, country, pop, and originals.

“As a drummer, the person, I think of myself as a cook in the kitchen of music, constantly monitoring and adjusting the knob settings of drums, cymbals, sticks, brushes, kickers, noise makers, vertical and horizontal hardware, always looking for the right “temperature” that enables the quartet to “simmer” in a cool mode.”

While the singer of the group Mutschele also picks up the guitar for the occasional folk or country tune.

She loves collaborating with other musicians, also writes her own songs and has been singing and playing music in different formations for many years.

After trading the green pastures of Horsefly for the big city lights of Williams Lake, Mutschele recently stepped down from her position as artistic director for Horsefly’s summer music and arts festival Arts on the Fly.

She had been involved in organizing the festival since its inception eight years ago.

Mutschele says she is excited for this new project as she adores the great American standards and also has a love for the occasional French chanson.

“I am looking forward to having local and travelling musicians sitting in with Bluenote on upcoming shows, adding their own flavour to the musical mix,” Mutschele says.

Butters on alto saxophone is the youngest member in the band. He has been playing the alto saxophone for eight years and has been a member of the Cariboo Gold big band for the past year.

His saxophone solos add ambiance and colour to many of the beloved standards the band plays.

The next big event for the Bluenotes will be a happy hour special at the Loon on Monday, Dec. 23 starting at 4 p.m.

“The happy hour Christmas show is a new event at the Loon, the idea being that by then most people will have finished their Christmas shopping and will join Bluenote for cocktail hour at the Loon, getting into the spirit of Christmas after the frenzy of the past few weeks,” Mutschele says.