Vocal group to jazz up audience

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An upbeat group of Calgary singers known for their jazz, pop and rhythm and blues tunes are heading south of the city this weekend.

The On the Edge Concert Series is bringing ReMix, an energetic group of 14 singers, to the Red Deer Lake United Church March 9 at 7:30 p.m.

“Our performances have people on their feet clapping and singing along,” said ReMix artist director Brian Farrell. “We’re very unique in North America.”

ReMix consists of performers from Calgary vocal group Revv52, an ensemble of more than 50 singers and a live band who has been entertaining, inspiring and energizing audiences with original productions of popular songs since 1951.

“ReMix was created a couple of years ago to get out and perform more often and to promote Revv52,” Farrell said. “You can’t take 50 singers to some of these spaces. When we have a 14-person voice group we can get into a television studio or a smaller venue. It’s easy to get that sound in and out of spaces.”

ReMix creates its own version of popular jazz, rhythm and blues and pop songs, like Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind and Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me. They are arranged by well-known composers like Deke Sharon. Sharon, one of the leaders and promoters of the contemporary a cappella community, arranged for and served as musical director for the Pitch Perfect movies.

“His arrangements are pretty unique,” Farrell said. “He does a lot of a cappella stuff, but we use a five or six piece band in Revv52 to accompany the sound.”

“There’s some great jazz arrangements that might have been in the style of Manhattan Transfer and other groups out of New York that are really cutting edge in terms of their sound,” he said. “There’s Sinatra and the group Chicago, which has a really cool groove.”

Although these songs are highly recognized, Farrell said ReMix puts its own spin on each one.

“We don’t just go with what’s on the page, we have to make it our own,” he said. “We have to accommodate our particular strengths and what we want to build on. It’s like something you would see as a jazz performance if you went to the Blue Note (Jazz Club) in New York City. It’s really uniquely oriented to a number of fusions of styles.

“It’s not just jazz, but when we do jazz we nail it and when we do pop and something like Radioactive or Take Me to Church or Umbrella we can make it ring true to our style.”

ReMix consists of singers from the Calgary area ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-50s who travel across North America to share their sound, with most performances in Calgary, Farrell said.

“The greatest strength of the group is its ability to fuse styles and do it so well that the audience is absolutely mesmerized by what they hear and see,” he said. “It’s a unique group of musicians who are really passionate about how we share our music.”

Tickets to see ReMix perform cost $25 for adults and $10 teens. Children ages 12 and under free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 403-256-3181 ext. 5 or online at www.rdlunitedchurhc.org

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