Jazz vespers offer experienced trio in North Saanich

Melinda Whitaker - submitted photo
Melinda Whitaker
— image credit: submitted photo

The Melinda, John and Don Trio will perform jazz vespers this weekend. The seasoned trio features Melinda Whitaker on vocals, John MacArthur on guitar and Don Cox on bass.

Whitaker’s life in jazz began in Edmonton, singing original compositions, and on CBC television with Tommy Banks. Returning home to Vancouver, she became a fixture on the city’s jazz scene while singing  commercials for television, radio and film.

She performed for three years on The Rene Simard Show and television specials with Jose Feliciano, Kenny Loggins and Roger Whittaker. She sang with Martin Short on the first television show at Vancouver’s CBC Studios in a career that also includes work with everyone from Alan Thicke, Brent Carver and Andre Gagnon, to rock royalty like Bryan Adams and Wolfman Jack.

MacArthur, a member of Victoria’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, plays a variety of jazz classics, swing, Latin and gypsy jazz.

At 13 he joined the Esquires, one of Victoria’s first rock and roll bands, winning the Vancouver Island Battle of the Bands, a notable event in the ’60s. By 16, he played in David Foster’s first rock band, the Teen Beats. Throughout that era he played in a succession of groups including fellow Victoria hall of famers the Motifs, Amor de Cosmos, and Velvet Brass. He has played gypsy jazz with Twango and Karmel Sutra and vintage rock with Hot Rod Lincoln, Davey’s Gang and the Weeds.

Cox’s resume is equally impressive, having spent a long and illustrious career with the Canadian Forces Military Bands, including positions as musical director of the Ottawa RCAF stage band and assistant conductor of the Naden Band. He has performed with  Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Eddy (Lockjaw) Davis and Lorne Lofski. Cox also mentors young musicians in Victoria’s Civic Orchestra.

The trio performs for the jazz vespers services 7 p.m. at St. John’s United Church, 10990 West Saanich Rd. There is no admission charge and an offering will be taken. For further information call Bernadette at 250-656-0875 or email bernadettegreene@shaw.ca.



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