Meet the musicians behind the Blues Berries shows!
Juno award winner Gordon Grdina has lead many bands and toured throughout the world most notably in the Dan Mangan band, Haram, and the Gordon Grdina Trio. He is an Oud/Guitarist whose sound is a combination of his interests in rock, mainstream jazz, free-form improvisation and Arabic classical music. He has been performing in schools for over 15 years as a member of the Blues Berries and has performed over 1,000 school concerts in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. His educational performances have introduced hundreds of thousands of students to established genres of popular music through carefully designed programs including The History of the Blues, Jazz in the Gym, A History of Rock and Roll, Jazz, Jive, and Wail, and Blues Rocks!
Guitarist Jon Roper continues to be one of Vancouver's most versatile musicians. His original projects include the hard rocking Friction Project and the indie-funk band Ribcage. He performs regularly with Buckman Coe, The Bluesberries, Dr Strangelove, Alita Dupray, Alan Matheson and a host of other jazz, blues, rock and world musicians.
Jon has studied composition at Simon Fraser University and performance and theory at Vancouver Community College and Capilano University. Projects past and present have taken him as far as Australia, Japan, the UK and closer to home much of Canada and the United States. Jon admits to feeling equally at peace performing anything from early jazz to progressive metal. He has been teaching private and ensemble lessons since 1993 and has taught at Prussin (now Tapestry) Music, Long and McQuade and Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance.
Sam is a popular jazz and blues bass player and singer who has been performing professionally for over 20 years! He is the solid drive in the root sound of the Blues Berries.
He performs in a diverse assortment of some of the West Coast's premiere groups in a variety of musical styles. He has played rock with Lily Frost, Mark Hildreth, the Adrienne Pierce band, and Cherrybomb; world music with the Lache Cercel Roma-Swing Ensemble (klezmer-gypsy jazz), Olam (klezmer world-beat), El Sur and Pepe Danza (percussion-driven samba and South American music); jazz with Michael Kaeshammer, and Michael Bublé; and blues, rockabilly and country swing with Brandon Isaak, the Twisters, Ray Condo and the Ricochets, and many more. He also leads several jazz ensembles and co-leads VANABASO (14 + piece AfroBeat band) with John Korsrud (Hard Rubber Orchestra, Drum & Light Festival).
He has been fortunate enough to play with phenomenal musicians such as Seattle jazz guitarist Brian Nova, the legendary Herb Ellis, local Juno Award winner Hugh Fraser, Big Band Leaders Donny Clark and Gabriel Mark Hasslebach, Canadian Blues phenomena Big Dave Mclean, Tim Williams and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne. A stroke of good fortune (being in the right place at the right time) led to him playing with the Buena Vista Social Club!
“Sam has, to me, the perfect blend of spirit and chops… and you don't find that very often.”
—Tim Williams, Roots and Blues Musician, Canadian Acoustic Act of the year, Real Blues Magazine