SOUTH VAN BIG BAND is a 17-piece jazz orchestra based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Its musical repertoire ranges across swing, bebop, latin jazz, rock, funk, fusion and contemporary styles.
Then and Now
During the summer of 2010, an amateur trombonist named Alex Viel posted a Craigslist ad to start up a new modern jazz big band in the Vancouver community. The difference from other big bands was to be his own eclectic taste in musical repertoire that followed a few simple guidelines - it would be modern arrangements or compositions in a variety of styles, but they must have a melody and he had to enjoy listening to it more than once! A small group of six interested musicians came together in November for a first read through, and within a few months the band had filled most seats to become a 17-piece jazz orchestra.
The band's music occasionally pays homage to the great bands of Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton and countless others, but also crosses a number of different musical styles in blues, latin jazz, funk, bebop, fusion and contemporary music, all arranged with big band orchestration.
The band's first public performance was at the 50-seat Cottage Bistro restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver on March 26, 2011, where the band invited the Bradley-McGillvray Band to alternate sets of modern big band jazz with their incredible blues for four hours of non-stop music. Good times and fantastic music all around, South Van Big Band wauld return many more times over the years.
While he never intended to lead the band himself in the long run, Alex found himself still standing in front of the band more than seven years later as its Artistic Director and Band Manager. In July 2018, Alex directed his last gig with the band before relocating to Silicon Valley for a new job.
The beat goes on with SOUTH VAN BIG BAND, under the direction of Gordon Deyell who has stepped out of the Trumpet Section and with the contributions of some of the key members of the band (Bryan, Erik, Gerry, Kevin) will lead the band as it continues to perform numerous public concerts throughout the Metro Vancouver area.