I’ve seen singer Heitha Forsyth before, the first time being in the lobby at the Berney Theatre at the Rady Jewish Community Centre a few years ago. Her enthusiasm continues to be infectious as she performed “What You’re Gonna Do.” She teased that it was an original song and that her originals sound like country music. On the contrary, this was soulfully sung, with nary a twang. Backing her were Bonness, Kohut, Nowosad, and veteran guitarist and educator, Larry Roy, my favorite local jazz guitarist for well over 20 years now. I did check out some of her performances on YouTube, and she really wasn’t kidding about having a country sound on occasion.
Sheena Rattai was up next with guitarist Aaron Shorr, Nowosad, Bonness and Kohut, performing “Yet To Be.” I’m certain I’ve seen Rattai before. She’s dynamic, charismatic and displays an obvious love for singing. This was my first time seeing electric guitarist Shorr, but it certainly won’t be the last. He was sensational. Shorr attended Toronto’s Humber College as well as the University of Manitoba, and among other things, he’s part of the Artists in Healthcare Manitoba program, along with around 15 other musicians, including Keith Price.
Shorr closed off the set with the composition “Living In The Sims,” in which he joked that Nowosad hated the title so he kept it. Backing him in the Aaron Shorr Quartet was another new face to me, tenor saxophonist Niall Bakkestad-Legare, along with Sellick and Nowosad. Bakkestad-Legare and several of the evening’s performers can be heard on Soundcloud.
The evening’s third and final set opened with Quincy Davis & Promise performing “Oasis.” Joining Davis were Sellick, Bakkestad-Legare, Paul De Gurse, Shannon Kristjanson, Landen Seesahai, and Kris Ulrich. Pianist De Gurse, saxophonist Kristjanson, trumpeter Seesahai and guitarist Ulrich are all University of Manitoba students or alumni. I hadn’t heard of any of them but I look forward to catching some of their future gigs. Davis demonstrated his mastery of employing subtleties along with powerful dynamics in his drumming. Ulrich also stood out to me, as he soloed brilliantly near the end of "Oasis."