Ju­bilee will be jumpin’

Jazz fest cel­e­brates 25th year with di­verse mix of old, new artists

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS SMITH

GRAMMY-WIN­NING singer Gre­gory Porter joins the likes of Ar­turo San­doval, mul­ti­Grammy-win­ning R&B star John Leg­end and art-rocker St. Vin­cent as head­lin­ers when the Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates its 25th year in June.

El­lis Marsalis, pi­anist and pa­tri­arch of the fa­mous New Or­leans jazz fam­ily, blues singer and har­mon­ica player James Cot­ton, rap­per Shad and drum­mer Cur­tis Nowosad with sax­o­phon­ist Jimmy Greene fill out the fes­ti­val’s theatre se­ries, an­nounced to­day by Jazz Win­nipeg. The lineup pays trib­ute to the jazz his­tory in Marsalis and trum­peter San­doval, its present in Porter and, in “the spirit of jazz and the fes­ti­val it­self,” to cut­ting-edge mu­sic acts such as “sonic trail­blazer” St. Vin­cent, Jazz Win­nipeg ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Paul Nolin says. The fes­ti­val runs June 12-22 in var­i­ous venues clus­tered in the Ex­change District, in­clud­ing the Free Press News Café. Theatre shows are at the Royal Man­i­toba Theatre Cen­tre and Bur­ton Cum­mings Theatre. Toronto-based sax­o­phon­ist Jane Bun­nett and Maque­que, a group of Cuban singers, pi­anist Laila Biali, and the James Carter Or­gan Trio, led by the pop­u­lar sax­o­phon­ist, all per­form at the Rachel Browne Theatre as part of the club se­ries. Nolin said the fes­ti­val is re­turn­ing to RMTC for main­stage shows be­cause it is such a great venue and to bol­ster its con­cept of a jazz district sur­round­ing Old Mar­ket Square, mak­ing it eas­ier for club-hop­ping fans. Cuban-born San­doval will be a draw for old-guard jazz fans with the trum­peter’s con­nec­tion to jazz great Dizzy Gillespie and Latin jazz, Nolin says. Blues has long been a part of the fes­ti­val’s makeup and Cot­ton is a stan­dard bearer for the best of the genre, he adds. And St. Vin­cent is “an in­ter­est­ing artist, a com­pelling artist” who a lot of mu­sic fans are dy­ing to hear these days, Nolin says, adding sales for her show sup­port that. Soul-jazz singer Porter was one of the first acts booked for this year, and his Grammy Award win for best jazz vo­cal al­bum of Liq­uid Fire in Jan­uary was for­tu­itous, Nolin says. Be­sides be­ing a re­turn to Win­nipeg by drum­mer Nowosad, who is study­ing in New York City, and Greene, who taught in the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba jazz stud­ies pro­gram and was a pop­u­lar per­former dur­ing his years here, the con­cert will raise funds for the Ana Grace Project set up in mem­ory of Greene’s daugh­ter, a vic­tim of the New­town school shoot­ings in 2012. Ten dol­lars from each ticket will go to the project, which aims to re­duce vi­o­lence. The fes­ti­val will in­clude a photo ex­hibit cov­er­ing each of the 25 years. It will be on dis­play in Old Mar­ket Square dur­ing the free open­ing weekend, June 12-15, and in the RMTC lobby dur­ing theatre se­ries con­certs. Who would you have seen and heard in 1990 at the in­au­gu­ral con­cert? Singers Andy Bey and Jon Hen­dricks, vi­bra­phon­ist Bobby Hutch­er­son, trum­peter Jon Faddis and sax­o­phon­ist David (Fat­head) New­man, to name a few. Over the years, the fes­ti­val has hosted the likes of Sonny Rollins, Joe Hen­der­son, Her­bie Han­cock and Wayne Shorter, Mike Stern, Mar­cus Roberts, Bill Frisell, Kurt Elling, Renee Rosnes, Ni­cholas Pay­ton and Brad Mehldau. El­lis Marsalis has per­formed here be­fore (in 1996) as have his sons: sax­o­phon­ist Bran­ford, trum­peter Wyn­ton and trom­bon­ist Delfeayo. The fes­ti­val lineup is avail­able at jaz­zwin­nipeg.com. Tick­ets go on sale Fri­day at 10 a.m. at jaz­zwin­nipeg.com, 204-989-4656, the Jazz Win­nipeg of­fice (007-100 Arthur St.), RMTC, the Bur­ton Cum­mings Theatre and Tick­et­mas­ter. St. Vin­cent tick­ets and club passes are on sale now.

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