By Barb Brouwer
Jazz musician Aaron Hardie picked up a saxophone in elementary school band and has been honing his craft ever since.
“My first chance of playing music was the school band program in Grade 7,” said Hardie. “I guess I love the way it looks, the tone it makes, the different sounds high and low, and I love the mechanics, the way it fits in your hands.”
Honing his craft got more serious around Grade 10 when he started to learn about jazz and his Grade 10 teacher encouraged him to go to Selkirk College in Nelson where he had private instruction. Hardie said that for the first time he was straightened out on a lot of things that made him want to get a better sound.
With a two-year diploma in hand, Hardie entered the jazz studies program at North Vancouver’s Capilano College where he trained with more inspirational teachers. He earned a bachelor degree in jazz studies, with an education component so he could get his teacher’s diploma as well.
“My love of jazz grew and once I discovered improvisation, that was it for me,” he said, pointing out he began to understand what the sax masters like Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and Cannonball Adderley were doing. “It was amazing for me how their minds are working at such a high level when they’re improvising cause there’s so much going on.”
Hardie said he considers his music to be an outlet to expression and communication.
As a performer, he leads his own jazz quartet, which performs his original compositions in the modern jazz tradition. As well, he has a trio dedicated to playing various song forms from the standard jazz repertoire. As a freelance musician, he has experience with various large and small ensembles and styles, including funk, R&B, salsa, swing, and rock.
Hardie will be joining the Salmon Arm Jazz Club on Thursday, March 12 – a homecoming of sorts for Hardie whose father owns Hardie Home Decorating.
Local sax-smith Sandy Cameron first heard Hardie and his quartet at the outdoor Vancouver Jazz Festival.
“I now have three of his CDs. He’s a wonderful jazz alto sax player,” Cameron says. “His father, Ron, came up to me at the intermission of our Shuhorns concert and complimented me on my playing, which meant a lot to me, coming from the father of a great saxophone artist!”
For his part, Hardie is looking forward to playing with the Salmon Arm Jazz Club.
“There will be two people I’ve never even met,” he says. “That’s what’s so great and cool about jazz and I am confident we’ll have a successful performance even though I’ve never met these guys.”
The concert takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nexus on First. Admission is by donation.