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Truro big band to make debut performance Saturday

John MacLeod has always wanted to break into the jazz big band scene, but with a lack of big band representation in Truro, he decided to create one of his own. Now Hubtown Big Band will take the stage for the first time tonight for a performance at Roadside Willie's Smokehouse & Bar.
John MacLeod has always wanted to break into the jazz big band scene, but with a lack of big band representation in Truro, he decided to create one of his own. Now Hubtown Big Band will take the stage for the first time tonight for a performance at Roadside Willie's Smokehouse & Bar. - Submitted - Jody O'Brien

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – The swinging sounds of the 1930s big band era is coming back to Truro as a new jazz band hits the stage tonight.

Hubtown Big Band, a new 21-piece jazz band based out of Truro, is performing tonight at Roadside Willie’s, bringing with them a mix of jazz and swing-infused music inspired by jazz performers such as Thad Jones and Charles Mingus.

“The sound that you get when you have 21 people all playing together in this setting is an experience you don’t always get here in Nova Scotia,” said John MacLeod, a member of the group.

“There aren’t a lot of jazz big bands in the province, aside from a few in the city and the Valley. The expression you can get from a show like this, the opportunity for improvised solos and full music performance, is a hard to beat experience.”

MacLeod, the current band director at Cobequid Educational Centre, had always wanted to make the move into the big band jazz scene, but with a lack of currently performing big bands in the Colchester area, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I thought it would be nice to assemble a jazz big band as we don’t really have one in our area, but have a lot of really good talent in the area” said MacLeod.

“It’s nice that in Truro we have so many great musicians, so I sent some emails out to see who was interested and the response I got was very overwhelming and positive.”

The group is comprised mostly of current or former music educators, and features talents from prominent players in the music scene local to Colchester and Pictou County, such as former CEC band director Paul Barrett, Truro Junior High band director Nick Fisher and Truro drum teacher Doug Dean.

Tonight’s performance will be the group’s first public performance since they started rehearsing last June, and MacLeod hopes their mixed music selection will bring both familiar and new pieces to the crowd.

“I tried to choose some more contemporary stuff that people may not have heard before,” he said.

“We will be performing a lot of classic jazz standards mixed in with a variety of other genres, such as rock, funk, swing and Latin. I’m hoping to have a mixture of stuff people are used to hearing and stuff that is new to them.

“Having a big band perform in front of you, creating great live musical moments in an intimate setting like Roadside Willie’s, I find that experience hard to beat.”

cody.mceachern@trurodaily.com

If You Go

Hubtown Big Band jazz performance

Roadside Willie’s Smokehouse & Bar

Saturday, Feb. 24 – 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25

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