Blackstick. Lloyd and Evan Arntzen, Grandfather and Grandson. Two talented voices, bonded together by more than blood, performing the music they’ve lived and breathed since Lloyd started teaching Evan the clarinet when he was seven years old.
Lloyd Arntzen (Clarinet, Soprano Sax, and Vocals), Evan Arntzen (Clarinet, Tenor Sax, and Vocals), Arnt Arntzen (Plectrum Banjo, Guitar, and Vocals), Bria Skonberg (Trumpet and Vocals), Don Ogilvie (Guitar), and Jen Hodge (Bass).
In 2013, BlackStick made the trip to Grandpa Lloyd’s place on Gabriola Island to make the recording. In that relaxed atmosphere, with adept recording engineer Dave Henderson on hand, the musicians allowed the music to flow forth. Channelling the force of the great New Orleans jazz clarinettists, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, and the grand-daddy of them all, Sidney Bechet, a Blackstick Album was born!
B I O G R A P H I E S:
Clarinetist, soprano saxophonist, and vocalist
Lloyd Arntzen has been arranging, playing and researching vintage jazz from the ’20s and ’30s for four decades. The style’s continuing survival in Greater Vancouver owes a lot to the elder Arntzen. He founded the Jazz Band Society in 1958 and the series of jazz band balls he started helped create the Hot Jazz Club. Lloyd is a regular fixture on the traditional jazz scene in the Lower Mainland as leader of The Red Onion Rhythm Kings and Co-leader of Blackstick with his grandson Evan Arntzen, and as feature soloist with Sweet Papa Lowdown and Dixieland Express. He has played with Pete Fountain, Clark Terry, Chris Barber, and Bob Wilber. He has performed at major jazz festivals in Norway, Vancouver, Chilliwack, Victoria, Pender Harbour, Sacramento, CA, Sun Valley Idaho, Helena, Montana, and Tucson, AZ. Lloyd is a respected songwriter, and his song, “Where The Coho Flash Silver” is sung by generations of BC schoolchildren.
Clarinetist, Saxophonist, and Vocalist
“…an exciting young saxophonist”. -Jazz Connection Magazine
This Capilano College Jazz Studies major won best senior saxophone at Surrey Jazz Festival, and has won Vancouver Dixieland Jazz Society’s Jazz Stars of the Future Award, Vancouver Civic Theatres’ Rising Star Award, and the Vancouver Tech Music Award and scholarship. As a member of the young traditional jazz band The 51st Eight, he has performed at major jazz festivals in Vancouver, Chilliwack, Victoria, Courtney, Penticton, Sacramento, CA, Sun Valley Idaho, and Bellingham, WA. He has toured with Donnie Clark’s All-Gershwin sextet. Not only has he been doing a lot of playing with Lloyd’s Red Onion Rhythm Kings, he’s fronted his own quartet at Vancouver East Cultural Centre, is a regular soloist with The Society Seven and Capilano College “A” Band, as well as numerous combos in Vancouver. He Co-leads the band Blackstick with his grandfather Lloyd Arntzen, as well as the Brothers Arntzen with his brother Arnt. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Guitarist, Banjoist, and Vocalist
Arnt fell into playing jazz when his grandfather Lloyd bought him a banjo. Learning from his older brother Evan Arntzen, as well as his mother, father and grandfather, he has since begun leading various trios and quartets playing Vintage Jazz, Rhythm and Blues. Arnt also frequently plays with the Jen Hodge All-Stars, Blackstick, and co-leads the Brothers Arntzen with his brother Evan Arntzen.
Trumpet and Vocalist
Chilliwack born, Brooklyn based, Canadian singer, trumpeter, and songwriter Bria Skonberg is described by The Wall Street Journal as one of the “most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.” Recognized as one of “25 for the Future” by DownBeat magazine (Summer 2016), Skonberg is newly signed to Sony Music Masterworks’ OKeh Records, and released her debut LP, simply titled BRIA in September 2016 which won a Canadian JUNO award and made it to the top 5 on Billboard. Her second Sony album WITH A TWIST shows another collaboration with producer Matt Pierson as well as multiple Grammy award winner Gil Goldstein. To date, Bria has performed at some 100 festivals worldwide. She is the co-founder of the New York Hot Jazz Camp and New York Hot Jazz Festival. Further accolades include Best Vocal and Best Trumpet awards from Hot House Jazz Magazine (2014-15), Outstanding Jazz Artist at the New York Bistro Awards (2014), a DownBeat Rising Star (2013-15), and a nominee for Jazz Journalists’ Association Up and Coming Artist (2013).
Don Ogilvie, part of a large musical family, started with music in the 60’s, playing guitar in rock, country and folk groups, as well as studying violin and viola. In 1970, he discovered jazz (especially Django Reinhardt), and began playing in traditional jazz bands in Vancouver, such as Lions Gate Jazz Band, Westside Feetwarmers, and Hot Club. For many years, Don has been playing with the Roma Swing Ensemble, exploring gypsy music, blended with jazz, classical, and other world musics. In 2007, the ensemble did a very successful tour of China, and Lache & Don were recipients of a Canada Council grant to go to Romania to research real Roma music. Since his return to Vancouver, he has kept active not only in “Roma Swing” but also in the traditional jazz scene, playing with Red Beans & Rice, New Orleans North, and others. Future plans include another tour of China, and possibly Europe.
Jen Hodge is a versatile bass player based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jen is one of the city’s most sought-after musicians, working as both a bandleader (Jen Hodge All Stars, Company B Jazz Band, etc) and a sideman (Diane Lines’ JUMP!, Universal Gospel Choir, Bria Skonberg, etc). Comfortable – and typically excited! – in a huge variety of musical settings, Jen has performed all over Canada, the USA, France, Spain, China, and in the Caribbean, and appears on more than a dozen albums. She has directed and played with groups for CBC Radio and CTV productions, is a regular at major swing dance events all over the Pacific Northwest, and frequently does top-call corporate work as well. First and foremost, Jen has a profound love for making music with other people and for performing, which is evident to everyone who hears her play.