A saxophonist with an expressive sound rooted in Jazz tradition, a label owner tirelessly documenting unsung Jazz heroes, one of Canada’s most important Jazz impresarios, the hardest-working man in Jazz business – Cory Weeds is all of these things, and much more.
Weeds may be best known as the founder and owner of Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, which he successfully ran for more than 14 years. Weeds built the Cellar to become one of North America’s best Jazz clubs, where masters such as George Coleman, Jeff Hamilton, Louis Hayes, David “Fathead” Newman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and the finest Jazz musicians from Vancouver and across Canada and the U.S. performed before it closed in February 2014.
But he wasn’t just the club owner. As a saxophonist who studied at the University of North Texas and Capilano University, Weeds spent many nights on the Cellar bandstand as a leader and sideman. He held his own when performing with icons like Joey DeFrancesco and Christian McBride. Weeds has also recorded seventeen albums as a leader, including: O Sole Mio (with Eric Alexander, Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein and Joe Farnsworth), Day By Day (with David Hazeltine, Ken Lister and Jesse Cahill), Live at Frankie’s (with Terell Stafford and Harold Mabern) Explosion (with Gary Smulyan, PJ Perry, Steve Davis and Joe Magnarelli), Let’s Groove (with Mike Ledonne), Dreamsville (with The Jeff Hamilton Trio), It’s Easy To Remember (with David Hazeltine, Joe Magnarelli, Paul Gill and Jason Tiemann, reached #1 on the Jazz Week Charts) This Happy Madness, (with The Jeff Hamilton Trio, reached #1 on the Jazz Week Charts), Condition Blue, The Music Of Jackie McLean (with Peter Bernstein, Mike LeDonne, and Joe Farnsworth)., As Of Now (with the Harold Mabern Trio), Let’s Go (with Steve Davis), the Juno-nominated Up A Step (Cory Weeds Quartet), With Benefits (with Lewis Nash and Peter Washington), Just Like That (with the Tilden Webb Trio), The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds (with Joey DeFrancesco), Everything’s Coming Up Weeds (with Jim Rotondi), and Big Weeds (with Peter Bernstein, Mike LeDonne, and Joe Farnsworth).
While the Cellar is now a happy memory, the record label Weeds established in 2001 is alive and well. Rebranded in 2018, The Cellar Music Group has put out over 180 recordings, including many that have spent extensive time on the JazzWeek charts, with many more releases planned. In addition to playing on numerous sessions, Weeds has also served as producer on more than 130 recordings. In 2017 Weeds celebrated a win at the 2017 Juno Awards when Metalwood won for Jazz Album Of The Year: Group. Another Weeds produced album w Brad Turner Quartet with guest Seamus Blake - Jump Up was nominated in 2019.
On the presentation front, Weeds has booked Frankie’s Jazz Club in downtown Vancouver since 2016. In addition to Frankie’s, Weeds presents music all over British Columbia, Canada and The United States.
Beyond Vancouver, Weeds has a strong affinity with New York City. He’s brought so many of the Jazz mecca’s top players to Vancouver, and has performed, toured, and recorded with many of them. Tapping into his insider knowledge of the New York scene, he has led the annual New York With Weeds tour ten times and counting. He leads about 35 Jazz lovers to Jazz clubs off the beaten track, private recording sessions and more.
Finally, Weeds has also worked as an educator, leading the BC Music Educators Association’s Honour Ensemble, giving clinics on saxophone as well as the business of music, and teaching privately.