Sultry sounds of great live music down by the cool river, that’s what local musicians David Atkinson and Karyn Kirkwood of the band Indigo Riff are hoping will draw people to the Sensational Jazz event taking place in Elora on Saturday, August 6th, from 1-4 pm, a fundraiser for the annual autumn Sensational Elora festival.

Indigo Riff, featuring the smooth, seductive voice of Kirkwood, with Atkinson on stand-up bass, along with Bob McFee on piano and Dean Macdonald on drums, has just released their debut CD, “In Love With Love”. With a sound all of their own that is musically light and lyrically refreshing, yet classically reminiscent of old standards from an era gone-bye; it is as their song says, “One Stop Shopping.”

Indigo Riff’s seamless sound comes from four years together, with a commitment to weekly rehearsals that involved having Macdonald, from Oshawa and McFee, from London, driving up to the Guelph area to meet Kirkwood and Atkinson. “They do the drive because they are infatuated with music. It’s a real passion for us,” explains Atkinson. That passion comes out in their music, a unique jazz sound that isn’t actually jazz at all, but is a culmination of Latin beats, old school blues and jazz rhythms, or as the band would describe it, “an Indigo Riff sound.”

“I think after four years we’ve narrowed things down to our own sound, so now we’re creating songs that represent just the four us,” says Kirkwood. “We’re not trying to sound like anybody and we feel a sense of accomplishment for not being like anybody else.”

The natural evolution of the band’s music was to take the next big step to recording their debut album. “In Love With Love” culminated in four days of recording and two and a half days of mixing in April 2011 at the prestigious Canterbury Music studio in Toronto, a dream come true for the band.

“We chose this studio because it has an amazing reputation, but also we wanted an acoustic grand piano to give us that airy, jazzy sound,” says Atkinson.

“It was an ambitious project,” says Kirkwood. “We recorded twelve cuts, all original.”Atkinson agrees “We may have bitten off more than we could chew, but we’re glad we didn’t know that or maybe we wouldn’t have done it. It was a great exercise to manage it all ourselves. There is a certain sense of pride in that,” he says. “But we had great support with Jeremy Darby, our record engineer and mixer.”

“We were very collaborative in the music-making process,” says Kirkwood, “and that helped us shape this album together.”

“We think of it as smooth or urbane,” says Kirkwood whose elegant voice injects romantic tones or flirtatious fun in every original song, as written by herself or band mate Atkinson, with the addictive tune “Caffine” stirred up by McFee, and co-writer Steve Wilson sharing credits on the traditional blues song “Brown Dog Blues.” “I want people to think of the old gin-joints, martinis and long cigarettes,” she smiles. Atkinson agrees, “Think sophistication, sassiness, a little risqué. That’s the band’s persona.”

The best way to see this side of the band is to see Indigo Riff perform live, as they often do for small, intimate venues. The hope is that this album will open them up to new audiences and more opportunities to showcase their stage-show and musicianship.

“It’s the way we play our music that makes us seem jazzy,” says Atkinson, who explains that the band’s image is sophisticated and sassy, in a playful way. “We don’t have a particular style.”

He explains that the band’s name was taken from a book. “A Riff is a musical motif, and we have a little motif in every one of our songs.”

To see them perform, the Sensational Jazz fundraiser event is the perfect venue for a summer afternoon of great music, fresh food, garden art and cool drinks. It’s an opportunity that Indigo Jazz is proud to support. “Elora has always been very good to us. We had a long-standing gig at the Elora Mill. We’ve done events with the Elora Centre for the Arts, and have been on the bill for Sensational Elora before. It’s wonderful to be invited to play this event, in a spectacular garden venue,” says Kirkwood.

“In Love With Love” is available for download from the band’s website, and will be available for sale at the Sensational Jazz event. Tickets for this fundraiser are $30.00 in advance or $35.00 at the gate. The event takes place on Saturday, August 6th from 1-4 pm at 29 Mill Street East in the gardens of a private residence along the Grand River. For more information or to purchase tickets for Sensational Jazz, go to or call 519-846-5638.
*published in the Wellington Advertiser