New Album from La Riviere Likely to Turn Heads
by James Kasper

Victoria musician and composer Nick La Riviere is releasing his sophomore album “Another Time Around” this weekend at Hermann’s Jazz Club.  Makes sense, right? A jazz musician releasing his album at a jazz club…Well, not so fast. Sure, La Riviere has proven to be an accomplished jazz sideman over the past several years, demonstrating his mad skills on trombone with many of Victoria’s very best jazz players, not to mention touring Europe with  The Paperboys. But make no mistake. “Another Time Around” is much more than a jazz record.

Though an admirable undertaking, La Riviere’s 2009 instrumental release “Too Much To Do” now seems to be, in retrospect, a modest and somewhat tentative precursor to “Another Time Around.” That’s not to say that instrumental records can’t be just as impressive as vocal-driven releases. But there is something special about this new album. Something BIG and bold.  Not to mention eclectic.

“I try not to be locked into any one genre, whether it’s writing or what I’m listening to,” Nick explains.

And it shows. The album packs a diverse punch right from the get-go. The up-tempo, cheerful, catchy-as-heck opener “Woohoo” draws you in like one of those high-in-demand sprinklers at the hot summer music festivals. Nick co-penned the track with Spirit of the West’s Geoffrey Kelly.

La Riviere describes the experience writing with Kelly, which took place while they were taking the overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam on a tour with The Paperboys: “I already had a rough version of the lyrics written, as well as a complete demo of the tune. Geoffrey came up with some clever ways to make the song more lyrically interesting. One thing I was going for with this song was an overall cheerful sound contrasting the less happy lyrics, and I think we achieved that.”

And that’s just the beginning of the who’s-who on this record (a veritable Woohoo-Who’s-Who, you might say). The one-and-only Michael Kaeshammer offers up some tasty piano on two of the album’s gems. Sean Drabitt lays down bass on most of the record. Damien Graham locks it in on drums on all but one track. Adam Dobres offers his guitar wizardry on four of the tunes. Alpha Yaya Diallo is a special guest on guitar for the title track. Adrian Dolan and Ivonne Hernandez lend some sweet violin on two tracks. And the parade of Woohoo-Who’s-Who marches on…

Two other highlights on this album are the title track “Another Time Around” and the soulful ballad “One Minute” – the former begins with an impressive 16-track vocal “choir” comprised of vocals from La Riviere and guest vocalist Kali Moreno, and the latter is an powerfully emotive detour from the uptempo vibe of most of the album.

“Another Time Around” is already on my list of top independent Canadian albums for 2015. And it’s only July, folks. Chances of this record being bumped from that list by December? Zero to None.

La Riviere’s release of the new record happens this weekend – both Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th at Herman’s Jazz Club. His 5-piece band for the weekend will consist of Aidan Miller on keys, Damien Graham on drums, Sean Drabitt on bass, Kelly Fawcett on guitar, and of course, Lariviere on vocals, trombone, and conch shells. Featured harmony vocalists will include Lauren Marshall, Heather Quee, Shanna Dance, and Deven Miles.