Nelson’s Clinton Swanson shares his love for the saxophone

Clinton Swanson has been called one of Nelson's hardest working musicians.

Nelson saxophone player Clinton Swanson will be playing at The Royal for the after work dance party on Friday night and at Spiritbar's five year anniversary next weekend.

He’s been called one of the hardest working musicians in Nelson, and with three bands and another to be debuted, it’s easy to see how local saxaphone player Clinton Swanson has earned that reputation.

Swanson grew up in the Slocan Valley and picked up the saxaphone for the first time because his older brother played.

“I started when I was 11 and I turned 40 last year, so I’ve been playing for 29 years,” he said. “I started playing his and then I started playing in band when I was attending Mount Sentinel High School.”

Swanson said he had a really good peer group and mentors at Mount Sentinel.

“We were all pretty into music. We just hung out in the band room and started playing a lot,” he said.

It was while performing with the BC honour concert band while he was in Grade 11 that he really fell in love with the saxaphone.

“I just remember sitting in the middle of this 70 piece wind ensemble and the music just kind of took me away and lifted me up, and I just thought I could do this forever. Ever since then I have been working and practicing my music,” said Swanson.

For slightly over a year Swanson attended music school at Selkirk College, but eventually moved to Vancouver to study music.

Despite attempts to go to university and college to study sciences and math, Swanson kept coming back to his love for music and saxaphone.

Swanson has played with many local musicians including Sunshine Drive and in the fall of 2011 debuted three bands through a concert series at The Royal.

As part of the upcoming five year anniversary celebration for Spiribar on Saturday, April 14, Swanson will be playing with two of his bands: Below the Belt and Hornography.

“All the bands are quite different,” said Swanson. “Below the Belt is a five-piece instrumental band playing all original music that I’ve written. It incorporates a lot of modern technology in terms of loops, but we’re trying to keep it a very live performance. There is a lot of improv involved and it can go different places every time we play. It’s not the same every time. It’s basically a groove project with some melodies so it’s not completely abstract.”

Hornography is a band with a five-piece horn section supported by two drummers, electric bass and guitar.

Swanson said the sound for Hornography is inspired by the sounds of world beat and funk artists such as Fela and Maceo Parker.

Swanson will also be performing at The Royal tonight as part of the weekly after work dance party.

This week Pauline Lamb will share the stage with Swanson and the band. The evening is by donation and doors open at 6 p.m.


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