Bassist plays with gratitude

The Jazz Club of Salmon Arm presents Juno award-winning bassist-singer-composer Brandi Disterheft.

Accomplished bassist

Shuswap Theatre will be seriously in the groove this Friday.

The Jazz Club of Salmon Arm presents Juno award-winning bassist-singer-composer Brandi Disterheft.Still in her twenties, Disterheft, has captivated audiences in Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Haiti and Carnegie Hall.

“She is what we call serious,” said the late Oscar Peterson.

“I grew up listening only to jazz and being in awe of him, and as he was receiving an award, he pointed me out,” says Disterheft. “It seemed like a dream, it was humbling, and for him to recognize me, I must be on right path. It was surreal.”

Disterheft began her love affair with music at the age of five, when she began playing piano. By the time she got to high school, her dad suggested she pick up double bass.

“I immediately took to the bass, it has such a low, charming, round sound,” she says, noting she began playing in her mother’s jazz trio as a teen.

Disterheft earned a full scholarship to Ontario’s Humber College, further honing her craft by performing every night.

At her mother’s urging, Disterheft headed to New York, where she spent four years playing as a sideman and band leader.

“The greatest musicians from all over the world come to play there and their jam session go until five in the morning,” she says, with enthusiasm. “That’s every night. It’s very much a live jazz community and they’re very welcoming.”

Disterheft has worked with some of the world’s great bandleaders and says she started singing because she loves to write lyrics.

The young talent sings in French and English and wrote a “sultry French ballad” that has been very well accepted.

“I love singing in French; it’s like having another persona,” she laughs. “I feel as though I am not so bashful.”

Gratitude is the name of her new album and the title song she wrote for her cousin, who was diagnosed with cancer and died last year.

“We thought he would survive,” Disterheft says of the man who was like a brother to her and offered her immense support and encouragement.

Disterheft wrote the song two weeks after get cousin died.

“I was grateful for his life and the memories we had together,” she says. “That was the emotion and reason to write, to compose. It just poured out of me.”

Her beliefs and  feelings are expressed in other album cuts.

“I feel the world is really changing in my eyes and Open is really about keeping an open mind in life,” she says, adding Blues for Nelson Mandela was written after she read his book and was inspired by his perseverance. “It’s a bit like that in jazz, with its smaller audiences.”

The native-born Vancouverite was recently under the apprenticeship of Miles Davis’ bassist, Ron Carter, and is currently studying orchestration at New York’s prestigious Julliard School of Music.


Disterheft performs at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 at Shuswap Theatre  on Hudson Avenue, across from the Salmar Grand. Admission is by a suggested donation of $15.



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