A Few Thoughts from Jim Bryson on his Upcoming Jazzed-Up NAC Performance

This Friday, April 21, Ottawa’s Jim Bryson will be performing at the National Arts Centre as part of the NAC Presents series. Normally, a Jim Bryson show in his hometown would be nothing out of the ordinary, but this show will have quite a twist. Jim Bryson is beloved in this city for his witty, thoughtful lyrics, his flowing, carefully crafted indie folk-rock songs, and his exceptional live performances. This time around he’ll be taking those qualities in a new direction with the help of Petr Cancura and Crossroads, a band of expert jazz musicians determined to re-interpret Jim Bryson’s music into something no one has heard before.

It’s a curious, unexpected collaboration, but one that is sure to generate something unique. I had a number of questions about how this idea came to be and how Jim Bryson’s songs will turn out once they’ve been jazzified. Fortunately for me, I was given the opportunity to send him a few of those questions via email. His responses are brief but insightful, and still leave plenty to the imagination. To really know what this concert will sound like you will just have to be there.

For more information about the show and to purchase tickets head over here. Tickets are still available, so get em fast before the rest are gone! For a pretty good idea of normal Jim Bryson, check out his appearance on The Strombo Show:

How did the collaboration between yourself and Petr Cancura and the Crossroads band come about?

The short answer is I got asked. Ha. Slightly longer is Petr and I have been throwing around ideas for a few years about shows and this one worked timing wise.

Is jazz a relatively new genre for you, or have you been a long-time fan? Were there any particular styles or artists that have influenced the adaptation of your music into jazz?

Who doesn’t like some element of jazz right? I studied piano for a short time in University and jazz was one of the focus points. Truth is I love many elements of jazz music. It the meld that this is more going to result in contemporary music vs jazz.

How recognizable do you think these adaptations will be for your fans? Should the audience be expecting a complete reinvention, or more of an adjustment to your style?

We haven’t done a full rehearsal yet. Some will be closer to home and a few will be flipped on their head for sure.

Were there any particular challenges involved in preparing for this concert?

My challenge is to just go with what it is and enjoy the ride.

What about adapting your songs into jazz and this particular concert excites you the most?

Just enjoying it is the best part. Just watching and being a part will be a nice thing.

At the moment, this is your only upcoming performance with Petr Cancura and Crossroads. Do you think you’ll be revisiting this collaboration in the future?

I don’t know really. If it works out and they like it, who knows what can happen. I own a studio which makes fleshing shiny ideas out down the line an easy thing.

Do you think this collaboration has influenced or will influence your regular approach to writing and performing music?

It hasn’t yet but time is the revealer.


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