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NNSL Photo/graphic

Inuvik jazz ensemble Razzamajazz! practise their chops Sunday night. The band made up of, left to right, Bob Mumford, Christina Wilsdon, Miki O'Kane, Mike Whiteside and Carrie Young are pleased with their new CD "The Sauna Sessions." - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

All that jazz

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 09/05) - After more than two and half years entertaining people in the Northwest Territories, Inuvik ensemble Razzamajazz has finally committed a selection of their repertoire to CD.

Titled "The Sauna Sessions" after the group's old practice space (a disused sauna behind the CBC studio), the disc contains 14 Razzamajazz interpretations of jazz standards as well as two original compositions.

"I think we did really well, considering we recorded it in the Lion's Den and turned the place into a legit studio for the week," said guitarist Mike Whiteside of the band's recording period back in March. "And the rye didn't hurt either."

With assistance from Norm Glowach (Spiritwalker Productions in Yellowknife) who flew in to record the tracks and provide percussion during the mixing phase, joined by Yellowknife musician Pat Braden who lent his acoustic bass services, the end result captures Razzamajazz's live sound.

"That's the way it can be done these days," said Whiteside of new recording technologies that can bring an album to fruition no matter where the musicians reside.

"But for the group's part, we recorded the songs live while Norm and Pat added their parts playing along in Yellowknife."

Razzamajazz, which includes Carrie Young (vocals), Bob Mumford (alto sax and clarke whistle), Christina Wilsdon (piano) and Miki O'Kane (vocals), slowly came together in 2003 when Mumford and Whiteside, who had previously released the eclectic folk-rock album "Cat's Out of the Bag" as the Blue Tundra Band, wanted to head in a different musical direction.

Since then, the group has performed at venues such as the End of the Road Music Festival in Inuvik, the Western Premiers Conference (Inuvik) and Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife. They also make regular appearances at charity events and watering holes around Inuvik.

For Young, who recently returned from Britain with Wilsdon (the pair performed at a Manchester Jazz Club as Maple Sugar), the CD was a nice welcome home present.

"I really like it but it's hard to say what my favourite track is because I've heard (the album) so many times," said Young. Those familiar with her sense of humour will enjoy "40 Below", one of the CD's two original tracks, in which Young sings of a short-lived romance with an American adventurer.

"Come live with me in my iglu where my kilograms, all ounces without you," sings Young.

Want to know how it ends? Buy the CD, available in Inuvik at Boreal Books, Moe's Stationary and Originals.