August 24, 2020

The Story Behind The Remainders

For nearly 7 years, we’ve been performing as the Marc Holt Quintet. We started with that name simply because I started the group and it’s just an easy way of naming a jazz group. Over the years we made attempts to give the band a different name, but we could never really settle on anything for want of something that had meaning. There was also no serious reason for a name change. Things were good. Why mess with success? But the past year brought some changes in the makeup of our group and those changes gave more reason for a change in name.

Change #1: The Departure of Dylan

There were two significant changes over the past year. It started in June of 2019. Our long-time drummer, Dylan Smith, made the decision to move to Halifax to pursue new adventures. It was tough to take the first departure of an original member, but we wished him the best and pushed on. We never permanently filled Dylan’s place in the band. However, for a few gigs that followed we hired our friend Nathan Abramyk to fill the role of our drummer. Nathan is a fantastic drummer and we loved playing with him. For one reason or another though he didn’t become a full member of the band. As I always do, I began to contemplate the future of the band when suddenly, 2020….

Dylan Smith with the Marc Holt Quintet at the 2018 Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. (Aaron Brown Photography)

Those reading this in 2020 will not need to be told what happened in 2020. For those reading in the future whose memories may be somewhat repressed, along came the COVID-19 pandemic. The world ground to a halt, perhaps the entertainment industry most of all. Throughout the early months of the pandemic Michael, Nevin, Bryn, and myself would get together virtually to hang out. We’d chat mostly about what we were up to in our daily lives, the band, and what we would do in the future. Ultimately, we had no idea what to expect so it was all just speculation. That speculation would turn out to be all wrong.

Virtual hang out with the band early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Change #2: The Departure of Bryn

For Bryn the pandemic brought some personal changes. The most important of which for our purposes is the change that would affect the band. Bryn had been talking for as long as I could remember about moving home to Vancouver, and he decided now was the time. Again, this departure was difficult to take, but we all understood his choice and wished him the best as he set off on the next chapter of his life.

Bryn Becker with the Marc Holt Quintet at the 2018 Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. (Aaron Brown Photography)

So here we were, in the middle of a global pandemic, two members short of a quintet. We felt that this was as good of a time as any to renew the search for a new name. I thought it would take a while, but one day I decided to change the name of our band group chat long called Marc and the Jazzy Jazzers, to The Jazz Remainders. It was done in a bit of a melancholy mood, but a couple days later it hit me: The Remainders. 

The Remainders: (left to right) Nevin Buehler, Michael Stankowski, Marc Holt. (Larry Jellison Photography)

Change #3: A New Name

It told the story and it felt good. I ran it past Michael and Nevin and they liked it. I tried it one some friends and family and they all liked it too. We had our new name.

We officially announced the name on July 27th and it gave us a boost of energy. We’ve already played four shows since launching the new name. A fifth show was booked, but unfortunately had to be postponed. We’re still working our way through making all the changes that come with a name change, but we’ve got a new bio written and a photoshoot completed. On top of that, more shows are in the works.

Of course, we miss working with Dylan and Bryn and without them it’s a very different sound. However, with a number no longer attached to the name, if either of them come back to Saskatoon for any amount of time there will always be a place for them in The Remainders.

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