Anita Eccleston is a Kamloops-born, Vancouver-based bandleader; a vocalist and trumpet player performing music that ranges from traditional jazz standards to funk, soul, motown, reggae, blues, pop and originals. Whether she is backed by a large ensemble or small, her sultry, sweet yet bold voice coupled with her lyrical trumpet style, creates a unique continuity within her sound.
The youngest of 7 children, Anita was fortunate to grow up in a musical home. Her father was a saxophonist in a rock’n'roll band that toured the United States and her mother sang country music on the radio in small town Alberta in the 1960′s before they settled down to have a family. With several siblings playing music before her (including her twin sister, now a professional oboist), it was a most nurturing environment to develop a deep love of music. Between listening to Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and Diana Krall as a teenager she was also influenced by artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Beck and No Doubt. Having a natural flare for the trumpet, she ambitiously decided to pursue it professionally when she was only 14 years old.
During her early training Eccleston was a part of the school district honor bands as well as the district jazz ensemble. She later went on in her senior years to play with the British Columbia Music Educators Association provincial concert and jazz honor bands. After graduating with honors from Westsyde Secondary in Kamloops and being awarded the Jacob Befurt Memorial Jazz Award, Anita went on to McGill University in Montreal to study jazz performance. After getting her undergraduate degree she spent two more years in Montreal until her return to British Columbia in 2006. Before leaving Montreal Anita faced the ups and downs of being a part of a scene oversaturated with tremendous players. Despite her best efforts, the shortage of gigs and language barrier prevented her from carving out a place for herself in that city. It was time to regroup and consider the future.
After moving back to BC, Anita found opportunities to perform regularly with the Kamloops Symphony and the Kamloops Big Band. She worked with Western Canada Theatre in the pit orchestra on trumpet for the musicals Beauty & the Beast (2007) and Seussical (2008). During these years Anita was also involved in several projects including a rock band, a ska-reggae band, a DJ collaboration and the two BC Living Arts productions of Canadian Cabaret.
Re-approaching her solo career as a jazz trumpeter and vocalist in early 2010, she started recording her first solo original album (called So It Goes) at Small World Studios. In 2011 Eccleston produced two full orchestral arrangements for her solo feature with the Thompson Valley Orchestra. That summer Anita won the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association’s Busker Showdown Award in a rainy day of stiff competition. Anita released her debut EP offering with the aptly titled Jazz EP, later that same year. Through her five years with the Kamloops Symphony, Anita developed friendships with several musicians from Vancouver who regularly played with the orchestra. This drew her into the coastal music scene as she began booking her first lower mainland gigs.
Desiring to expand her act to a wider audience, Eccleston made the move to Vancouver in the fall of 2011. There she found the opportunity to sing and play with Canadian jazz icon Dal Richards, to join the Mackenzie-Jones Big Band for Pro Musica’s jazz composition feature at the Cellar Jazz and to occasionally perform with the West Coast Symphony and Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Trumpet.
In October 2012 Anita was invited to perform at a CBC event in Kamloops hosted by Margaret Gallagher of Hot Air, a jazz program which aired the performance on CBC Radio One. In early 2013 Anita released the sparsely beautiful Trio EP, an intimate 3 track record laid down in studio ‘live to the floor.’ Kept simple by design, it gives a listener a sense of what it is like to be in a small club with the Anita Eccleston Trio onstage. Eccleston was honoured to be nominated for the Kamloops Mayor’s Gala for the Arts Emerging Artist Award in 2013 and this year did a feature performance at the annual event.
Anita is currently active in the Vancouver music scene hosting a monthly jazz series called “Like Smoke” at Seven Dining Lounge (formerly the Kozmik Zoo). She also performs with her side project, Tubes & Grooves: a quintet that features her trumpet & vocals as well as trombone and vibraphone.
To complete her album Eccleston ran a successful online crowd funding campaign. The project that can still be supported by pledging for the digital download, in addition to limited edition exclusive incentives using the Pledge Music platform (pledgemusic.com/projects/soitgoes) until the official release.
With the completion of So It Goes, Anita is preparing for her spectacular CD Release Party at Vancouver FanClub for March 30th, 2014, featuring over 20 of Vancouver’s finest young musicians in the scene including a horn section, and the Black Dog String Quartet (Get Tickets: soitgoescdreleaseparty.brownpapertickets.com). She is also currently planning her first tour to Eastern Canada in May 2014, with a local tour through Western Canada to follow later in the year.
List of Band Members:
Anita Eccleston - Trumpet & Vocals
Alexander Flock - Electric Guitar
Timothy Van Cleave - Vibraphone
Michael Vaughan - Upright & Electric Bass
Graham Clark - Upright & Electric Bass
Graham Ellsworth - Drums