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Stephen Brown: Bastion Band

The Bastion Jazz Band

Good News!

On June 1, 2014, the new owners (Ditza & Nick) of The Oaks, formerly The Blethering Place, instituted a live music policy. We play there as a full band one Sunday a month, usually the 1st Sunday, but sometimes the 2nd from 5:30 - 8:30. It is a great show and the food is super tasty and reasonably priced. Check our Calendar page for the next show. Also it is best to make a reservation.
Stephen Brown and the Bastion Band

The band, a group of like minded, unamplified musicians, formed in 1982, perform traditional New Orleans jazz, roots country, blues, and R & B. Lyrical, bluesy, and unhurried, the Bastion Band treats fans to an evening of music rarely heard outside of the Crescent City. Featuring compositions of Jelly Roll Morton, WC Handy, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong, plus roots country, folk, blues, and rock music from the golden era, the Bastion Band carries on a tradition that's been alive for over one hundred years. We are a six piece band but our lineup sometimes change. God willing and the creeks don't rise, this is the band for most shows: Stephen Brown - piano, guitar, and vocals (me, I am there all the time), and Denny Box - drums (almost always, however he does wander off to Salt Spring Island once in awhile), Aaron Watson - guitar, accordion, and saw (yes, the saw), Alfons Fear - trumpet, Joe Hatherill - clarinet, and Joey Smith - double bass (when he is not double booked).

Music in Victoria, review of U/Victoria concert, January 14, 2012

"When it comes to jazz, I feel the same way that S.J. Perelman felt about medicine: I don't know much about it, but I know what I like.

Unfortunately, among the much that I don't know about is New Orleans-style traditional jazz, which must make me almost uniquely unqualified to review the second part of Saturday's recital, in which tubaist (is there really such a word?) Eugene Dowling celebrated his first half-century of playing one of music's ungainliest (in the purely physical sense) instruments.

Still, as far as I know, I was the only person clutching a notebook and pen in the hall on Saturday and so my opinions, uninformed as they are, will, faute de mieux, have to do...

After the interval Dowling was joined by (or, looked at another way, he joined) the Bastion Jazz Band for almost an hour of spirited and enjoyable music.

I was slightly disconcerted to realise that I was familiar with just over a third of the music they played - I'm really not that old. Nor, as noted above, am I really qualified to make more than a few general observations about their "set".

The first such is to remark that Dowling fit right in to the band - and I do know a little about playing in a band - and clearly feels completely at ease in their very different idiom. His bass lines were perfect and his soloing most impressive.

The band themselves, whom I had not heard before, are no slouches either. Their ensemble is marvelous and achieved with very few obvious signals, as one would expect from a group that has been together for almost three decades.

Highlights of the set included the transformation of the standard 3/4 of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" into a rousing 4/4 stomp, the a capella vocal chorusing of "This Little Light of Mine" and Aaron Watson's remarkable soloing on the saw in "Out in the Cold Again"; for once, it would actually be appropriate to refer to it as the "musical saw". And I cannot forbear to mention what looked rather like a Lurex Nehru jacket worn by Stephen Brown. Very "showbiz".

A most enjoyable celebration indeed."
Deryk Barker


On January 30, 2011, after 14 & 1/2 years of every Sunday, 6 - 9 PM, at the Blethering Place in Oak Bay, BC, the Bastion Jazz Band played its last night. It was a great party and a great run. A big thank to all of you who have come to hear the band and supported us over the years.

CDs recorded at the Blethering Place

Taking It Easy at the Blethering Place

Take Two at the Blethering Place
also, our relatively new CD
Stephen Brown and the bastion Band featuring Eugene Dowling

Solo Piano & Guitar with Tuba

Stephen Brown & Eugene Dowling

Stephen Brown sings roots jazz, country, blues, folk, and rock, accompanying himself on the piano and guitar with Eugene Dowling - tuba.

Audio ~ Go to the last entry on the Compositions page or click here:

"The Cabbage Song"


"Bright Lights, Big City"

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