Os­car Peter­son Jazz Fest un­veils lineup

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - ENTERTAINMENT - JOHN LAW jlaw@post­media.com

Jazz isn’t just for sum­mer in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake any more.

The town’s sec­ond ma­jor jazz event will de­but in Fe­bru­ary with the three-day Os­car Peter­son In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val. The lineup, an­nounced dur­ing a me­dia con­fer­ence Tues­day, will in­clude Kenny Wash­ing­ton and Chris­tian McBride to go along with Cana­dian artists such as Carol Wels­man and Kevin Tur­cotte.

“The fes­ti­val isn’t meant to be a trib­ute to Os­car as it is rep­re­sent­ing his ideals, and what he stood for both mu­si­cally and as a per­son,” said the fes­ti­val’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, Juno-win­ning pian­ist Re­nee Rosnes. “We just made sure, with our choice of mu­si­cians, that we were hold­ing up to that stan­dard. Some­thing that we’re proud of, and if he were here, he would be com­pletely proud of.”

Rosnes has teamed with Peter­son’s widow Kelly Peter­son and Bravo Ni­a­gara! Fes­ti­val of the Arts for the event, run­ning Feb. 16 to 18 at venues in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines.

“The idea is to present Cana­dian artists along­side in­ter­na­tional artists, to cre­ate quite an in­ter­est­ing di­a­logue and bring a whole dif­fer­ent feel and di­ver­sity to what we’re pre­sent­ing,” said Peter­son, the artis­tic pro­ducer.

The fes­ti­val’s first night Feb. 16 will fea­ture an all-star band of mul­ti­ple Grammy win­ners at FirstOn­tario Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in St. Catharines. The lineup in­cludes Ce­cile McLorin Sal­vant, Jon Fad­dis, Jimmy Greene, Michael Dease, Benny Green, Chris­tian McBride and Kenny Wash­ing­ton.

Rosnes will pair up with Grammy-win­ner Bill Char­lap Feb. 17 at Stra­tus Vine­yards in Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake, while Feb. 18 will con­clude the fes­ti­val with an al­lCana­dian fi­nale of Carol Wels­man, Kevin Tur­cotte, Mike Mur­ley, Robi Bo­tos, Dave Young and Jim Doxas at St. Marks Angli­can Church in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake.

The Mon­treal-born Peter­son is considered one of Canada’s jazz greats, win­ning eight Grammy Awards and record­ing more than 200 al­bums be­fore his death in 2007 of kid­ney fail­ure.

“Os­car rep­re­sented the en­tire his­tory of the mu­sic,” said Rosnes. “Ev­ery­thing he played felt fresh and at the same time in­evitable.”

The in­au­gu­ral fes­ti­val will be ded­i­cated to Peter­son’s friend Norman Granz, the civil rights ac­tivist who founded Jazz at the Phil­har­monic in 1944 and gave sev­eral black jazz artists the spot­light by in­sist­ing there be no seg­re­ga­tion at the con­cert halls he booked.

“He was the most im­por­tant non-mu­si­cian in the his­tory of jazz,” said Peter­son.

The fes­ti­val will also fea­ture the newly cre­ated Cana­dian Jazz Master Awards, pre­sented to one liv­ing and one de­ceased artist, cho­sen by a ro­tat­ing panel of Cana­dian jazz ex­perts.

Tick­ets for the event’s first year go on sale Nov. 20 at www.op­jaz­zfest.org.

JULIE JOCSAK/STAN­DARD STAFF

The in­au­gu­ral Os­car Peter­son In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val heads to Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines in Fe­bru­ary. Artis­tic di­rec­tor Re­nee Rosnes, left, and artis­tic pro­ducer Kelly Peter­son an­nounced the lineup of artists Tues­day at Stra­tus Vine­yards.

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