"I had the great pleasure of getting to hear my dear friend and colleague Bill Sample and the band WBH a couple of months back - It was a treat from beginning to end - great vocals from Darlene - incredible musicianship from every one on stage and unique but very musical and thoughtful arrangements on every song!!
The album doesn’t disappoint at all and a perfect reflection of who they are live - If you get a chance - please give them a listen - you will thank me."
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About the band
Wild Blue Herons (WBH) are Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper (Ketchum) and a whole lot of incredible musicians. As the Ketchum and Sample Quintet, they played Frankie’s Jazz Club, Pat’s Pub, Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church and the Vernon Jazz Club.
WBH has recently been formed by co-writers Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper (Ketchum) to perform their songs. Their music, a combination of jazz, funk, soul, blues with ‘smoky’ ballads, blends groove with complex chords, rhythms, and soulful melodies. The songs are broadly accessible and are filled with themes of love and social consciousness. Bill and Darlene have been working together since 2011. Their song writing partnership grew when they both began working for the Vancouver based Marcus Mosely Chorale (MMC) as directors, composer/arrangers, and performers.
They recently released their first album, “On the Outside”, which they feel describes themselves - “in music and life the outside is where you are when you are different. Good things can happen there”. They perform with a stellar group of seasoned musicians.
Some of their musical influences are Earth, Wind and Fire, Nancy Wilson, Doug Riley (Dr. Music), Steely Dan and, most recently, Snarky Puppy and Jacob Collier.
About the players
Darlene Cooper (Ketchum) is a singer, composer, arranger, conductor and music educator.
Darlene performs solo and in collaboration with a number of artists singing Jazz, Soul, Funk, R&B and Gospel. She has worked with Shari Ulrich, Jane Mortifee, Ann Mortifee, both Leon and Eric Bibb and other Vancouver artists. Darlene toured the Okanagan and Kootenays the past 4 summers with the Darlene Ketchum Quartet. She is the lead singer for the newly formed “Wild Blue Herons”. In addition, she is the choral director of the Marcus Mosely Chorale alongside Marcus Mosely and Bill Sample and has written and arranged music for the chorale. As a composer, the vocal freedom of jazz, combined with the rich chords and funky laid-back groove inspire her songs. Three of her songs have been nominated for awards and she released her first solo album “Soul Connections” in 2014. In addition, Darlene is a music educator who has designed and directed music programs as well as developed curriculum for college level music students (specializing in teaching Contemporary/Jazz music theory, Song Writing, Charting and Arranging, piano and vocal coaching). www.darlenecooper.com
Bill Sample is a composer, producer, arranger and pianist.
Bill’s career has spanned four decades and his reputation is unsurpassed. Bill is a ‘first call’ musician and composer in Vancouver. As a jazz pianist, Bill has opened for Oscar Peterson and Monty Alexander. He has performed with Ray Charles, Mel Torme, Robben Ford, Art Pepper, Dee Daniels and Fraser MacPherson. Bill has a degree in Music Composition from the University of Victoria and studied arranging at Berklee College, Boston. In 2003, Bill was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 2010, Bill received both a Lifetime Achievement Award and Most Influential Jazz Musician from the Royal Canadian Music Project, and his band Sample Stearns Band (from the 70’s) received the Most Influential Group Award. In 2013, Bill was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2015, Bill released an album of original instrumental jazz compositions for trio titled, Small. www.billsamplemusic.com