Jazz Fes­ti­val

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Her June 18 WECC per­for­mance will be a mu­si­cal and lin­guis­tic ad­ven­ture.

Court­ney Pine (June 22, WECC) — who plays sax­o­phone, flute, clar­inet, bass clar­inet and key­boards — has pushed the bound­aries of jazz in the U.K. dur­ing his decades-long ca­reer.

“Court­ney is one of the first jazz CDs I ever bought (as a teenager),” Nolin says, and he is glad to be able to book him.

Ge­orge Ben­son (June 23, Bur­ton Cum­mings) has faced crit­i­cism from jazz po­lice for turn­ing from his early jazz chops to a more pop­u­lar R&B-fused sound, but he plays the gui­tar bril­liantly and puts on a great show, al­most a re­vue.

“Ben­son will be a crowd-pleaser, no mat­ter what,” Nolin says.

Dur­ing her 10-year record­ing ca­reer, Jane Mon­heit (June 21, Bur­ton Cum­mings The­atre) has made a name for her­self in­ter­pret­ing the great songs of jazz. Bet­tye LaVette (June 19, Bur­ton Cum­mings The­atre) has per­formed for five decades, and has been on a roll since a 2004 come­back.

The Preser­va­tion Hall Jazz Band (June 20, Bur­ton Cum­mings) takes its name from the ven­er­a­ble French Quar­ter build­ing and main­tains the spirit of early N’Awl­ins mu­sic.

The Roots (June 22, Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall), known as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fal­lon on top of a suc­cess­ful record­ing and per­form­ing ca­reer, were a hit at their 2010 fes­ti­val show.

In book­ing per­form­ers such as Bar­ber and Ma­han­thappa into the WECC, Nolin says, “We’ve found a rhythm.” The smaller venue car­ries less risk and al­lows the fest to book acts that fall out­side the main­stream.

The Bur­ton Cum­mings The­atre worked well last year, he says, and “it feels good with 600 peo­ple, but I can get up to 1,600 if tick­ets sales war­rant it.”

The fes­ti­val opens Thurs­day, June 13 with the an­nual free open­ing week­end in Old Mar­ket Square with bands per­form­ing un­til mid­night or 1 a.m. The the­atre (main­stage) se­ries runs June 17-23 with shows at the WECC, Bur­ton Cum­mings The­atre and Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall.

The club se­ries runs June 17-22 at seven venues, five of which Nolin calls the new jazz district. The Free Press News Café, The King’s Head, Rachel Browne The­atre, Cine­math­eque and The Cube Lounge are within two blocks of Old Mar­ket Square, mak­ing it eas­ier for fans to club-hop, Nolin adds.

“We made an ef­fort to tighten things up near Old Mar­ket Square (as) we were spread out ge­o­graph­i­cally be­fore,” Nolin adds. The jazz district makes it eas­ier to push the fes­ti­val at­mos­phere.

Club shows also are at the Pyra­mid Cabaret and Times Change(d) High and Lone­some Club.

Fes­ti­val-go­ers can buy a new su­per pass, a club pass and one-day wrist­bands; de­tails are avail­able at jaz­zwin­nipeg.com.

Tick­ets for the TD Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val go on sale Thurs­day, April 18, at 10 a.m. at jaz­zwin­nipeg.com, 204-989-4656 and at the Jazz Win­nipeg of­fice (007-100 Arthur St.). Tick­ets for Bur­ton Cum­mings The­atre and Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall shows are also avail­able at Tick­etmaster. Tick­ets for The Roots show, which was an­nounced ear­lier, are on sale now.

The Roots go from Late Night to prime time on June 22.

Ru­dresh Ma­han­thappa: cut­ting edge

Ge­orge Ben­son: crowd-pleaser

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