Jazz drummer returns home to East Kootenays

Jazz drummer Morgan Childs is ready to play a few shows in familiar territory.

Morgan Childs

Morgan Childs

Jazz drummer Morgan Childs is ready to play a few shows in familiar territory. During the East Kootenay leg of Childs’ Canadian tour, he’s bringing his quartet to Fernie.

Originally hailing from Invermere, Childs is no stranger to the area. “I am super excited to play in Fernie because although I have been there and skied the mountain when I was younger, I haven’t ever performed there.”

Coming from a musical family with parents who both played and taught music, Childs began playing drums at the young age of three.

“I grew up around an impressive record collection that included everything from classical music to jazz, rock, folk, and other oddities,” he commented. “I was always most drawn to the mysterious sounds on jazz records by people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.”

After earning a degree in jazz performance from Capilano University in North Vancouver, Childs received a scholarship to attend the world renowned Banff Centre International Jazz Workshop in 2002 and 2003. He has also sought out private instruction from an impressive list of elite drum artists, including Blaine Wikjord, Dave Robbins, Clarence Penn, Ari Hoenig, and Jim Black.

After spending 10 years in the Vancouver music scene, Childs made the move to Toronto in the fall of 2009. When he’s not composing or leading a jazz group, Childs teaches, and has served as a clinician at high school and university music programs in Canada and the U.S.

His current band, the Morgan Childs Quartet, is currently working their way across Western Canada. Following performances in Vernon, Nelson, Salmon Arm, Edmonton, and Invermere, they’ll be entertaining Fernie audiences.

“It’s a lot of travel and a lot of playing, but it’s so much fun,” said Childs. “The band sounds great right out of the gate. We had people recently telling us it was the best jazz concert they’d ever seen, so by the time we get to Fernie we should be on fire.”

Childs said the group’s sound is heavily influenced by the saxophone-led groups of legendary figures like Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Henderson.

“Kelly Jefferson has a little something from each one of those guys in his sound, so the stuff I write for him tends to reflect that influence. David Restivo is a great rhythmic pianist with access to a lot of colour on his instrument, and Jon Maharaj swings like crazy.

“Our approach is to always groove and swing hard.”

The Morgan Childs Quartet will play The Arts Station on Wednesday, February 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Carosella, Freshies, The Arts Station, and online.