Sandy Cameron, left, has frequently teamed up with fellow Shuswap musician Bill Lockie for various projects over the years. (File photo)

Music like air to Salmon Arm’s Sandy Cameron

Jazz musician thrives on making music with others.

By Barb Brouwer


He’s got the music in him!

Jazz musician Sandy Cameron thrives on making music with other musicians, and any new configuration of instruments is likely to result in the birth of another group.

“Here in Salmon Arm we are a community of musicians who work together in various settings and in that respect there is no particular name or group,” he says. “But in the last few years I have been working mostly with the Shujazz Trio.”

This trio combines the talents of Cameron on sax, keyboardist Colin Spence and bass player Bill Lockie, who rehearse every week in Cameron’s home.

“It has given us the opportunity to get to know and play with each other and that’s pretty important to me,” says the longtime member of the Salmon Arm Jazz Club.

Cameron says the name “Shujazz Trio” had been floating around in his mind for years and has finally been put to use and becoming familiar with local audiences.

The trio plays a variety of jazz numbers at Lakeside Manor on the first and third Tuesday of the month and Cameron says members of the public are invited to join the resident jazz fans.

Recent shows have highlighted music recorded by Chet Baker and music written by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Cole Porter.

Read more: The Old Guys reunite to play out spring

Read more: Sandy’s Shuhorn Quintet to perform jazz with touch of brass for Salmon Arm show

Read more: Vernon Jazz Society swings into Christmas with holiday jams

“We’re having so much fun playing songs from ‘The Great American Song Book;’ these old tunes are so well-written and steeped in gorgeous melody,” Cameron says, noting the trio will perform the music of Cole Porter on March 3. “The clientele is mainly the older generation and it’s nice to play stuff that they know, and while we can vary and play something a little bit newer once in a while, we don’t go much further than the jazz of the ’60s and ’70s.”

Lakeside Manor shows are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and admission is by donation.

Within the last three years, Cameron has also formed The Old Guys, a senior seven-person group whose name comes from a recording by Richard Underhill, a critically acclaimed saxophonist whose musical roots are in the School District #83 music program.

The recording, “The Old Guys,” is from Underhill’s 2005 “Tales From The Blue Lounge” album, which is a tribute to the people he had been listening to and learned from, says the retired music teacher, noting the group will perform in concert in June.

Cameron’s newest group, the Shuhorn Sextet, is comprised of other talented Shuswap musicians – Terry Kosowick on trumpet, Rich Thorne on trombone, Cameron on alto sax, Doug Sonju on tenor sax, Jim Johnston on piano and Dan Smith on bass.

“We really worked hard to put a concert together and it was well received,” he says. “We had fun playing dance music and one of our objectives is to play for dances. We really want to promote that.

Cameron is also expressing his love of music in song, having joined the Shuswap Intergenerational Choir when it was formed three years ago.

“I was told by my parents that I first sang “Don’t Fence Me In” when I was about four and I sang in the church choir when I was about 13,” he says.

“The intergenerational choir appealed to me, it’s such a nice social event.”

Jazz fans were saddened when Cameron and his wife, Maggie, moved to Victoria in 2013, but the couple returned three years later and the irrepressible musician easily settled back into the local music scene.

In 2015, Cameron visited Salmon Arm to present a Christmas concert, something that has since become a traditional event in collaboration with intergenerational choir director Andréa Roberts.

Music has been much more than a pastime as it helped Cameron through a bout with cancer and the loss of a leg.

“Music has carried me through ever since I had the first cancer 20 years ago,” he says, noting he doesn’t dwell on it other than to be grateful that he has his music and that his parents made him stick to it when he was young.

“As a horn player, it keeps me breathing and that’s the only exercise I get.”

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