Feature     

'Jayne's Gang' at Performance Works, Granville Island,
Vancouver B.C., Dec. 2004

photo: Mitz Naga

Saxman Tony Williams

photo: Mitz Naga

Bassist Russell Sholberg

photo: Mitz Naga

Guitarist Steve Vetter

photo: Mitz Naga

Vocals and bandleader, Jayne Dinsmore

photo: Mitz Naga

How to Join 'Jayne's Gang':
The story of the Dinsmore group's formation

By Garry Angus


Want to become more involved in making music? Got what it takes to 'take the lead'? Even with all the chops at your disposal, if you're going to have a band, you gotta get people, and you're only going to get by with help from your friends. Take Jayne Dinsmore's example:

sylvi macCormac (sic) was looking for people with disabilities who would like to sing or take part in her 'Wheels' project. An advertisement macCormac placed in the Transitions magazine resonated with Jayne, who had sung her whole life, but never performed live.

After meeting sylvi, Jayne sang on Wheel Three, Spirit Wheels: Journey, and got involved with VAMS.

"It was through sylvi that I got to record… and I liked it. She encouraged me … and I was exploring jazz and Blues, and I got up the courage to play live," Dinsmore says. " My concern was, "Am I going to find anybody to play with?"

That concern was soon addressed through Dinsmore's own contacts, and with some help from sylvi and the VAMS network. As Jayne says, it fell together really nicely.

Dinsmore's group, Jayne's Gang, consisting of Jayne on vocals, guitarist Steve Vetter, bassist Russell Sholberg, and Tony Williams on sax, flute and clarinet, tell their story.

"I drive a Handy-dart," says guitarist Vetter. "Jane was a client from quite a while ago. We started talking music. She had a little CD she had already done, and it was exactly what I like, so we started playing and it was really good."

Sholberg recalls that while attending Simon Fraser University in the Master of Fine Arts, composition program with sylvi macCormac, he got a recommendation from sylvi to meet Jane, "And that's what happened."

"I didn't even know that Russell did 'stand-up' bass," recalls Dinsmore. "We had a practice in my tiny living room and he came walking in with this big bass and I was so happy! 'Wow, Stand-up bass, how cool!'"

Sax and woodwind player Tony Williams knew Dinsmore's brother, Dan, a paramedic, from the Justice Institute.

"Dan asked me if I wanted to play with his sister. The first time I saw the group play was at the Justice Institute. And that was it, we were hooked," said Tony.

"Tony just came in, heard the songs, and blew all the right notes right away. We knew we had the right guy, sensitive, good sense of melody, exactly what we were looking for," recalls Vetter.

When asked "who is the leader of the group", her band mates chuckle loudly, and quickly affirm that it is Jayne's band. "Jane calls the shots. She calls the practices, she keeps everybody together," says Vetter.

"I have the set lists, these are the songs that I want to do," says Jayne.

"She's a high control freak," jokes sax-man Tony, to the gut laughs of all at the table.

"Jayne networks with everybody and keeps everybody on a 'long leash', and it's great! I am glad that she does that!" says Vetter.

The band chuckles under its sandwiches after another good gig.

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