Jazz Jive In Edmonton

Leading up to the Edmonton international jazz fest, edmonton has a group of events to show off.

This is both a busy and important month for jazz musicians in Edmonton. The Edmonton International jazz festival gets Edmontonions ready for festival season by holding its annual “A Taste of Argentina” wine tasting event and fundraiser. The event takes place Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Sutton Place Hotel and features a wine tasting, silent auction, and more in an effort to raise money for the Edmonton Jazz Festival Society, the group that funds the jazz festival. Tickets can be purchased for $65 at Tix  On The Square. More information can be obtained at www.edmontonjazz.com. If you like being able to see performers like Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, and Madeleine Peyroux, all of whom are headlining this year’s festival, attendance is a must.

That same night (and the following one), Edmonton’s Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way) will be featuring performances from Canada’s best alto sax man and Edmonoton resident P.J. Perry, alongside the likes of Kevin Dean (trumpet), Mark Eisenman (piano), Neil Swains (bass), and Andre White (drums). P.J. has spent most of the last year performing in New York so this will be a real treat and opportunity for Edmonton audiences. Tickets are  $20 for members and $24 for guests with a 9 p.m. downbeat. This show is part of a tour that finishes with a live recording being done in Vancouver. The Suite hosts a number of other acts throughout the month, including Rubim DeToledo’s reimagining of the seminal  Miles Davis Album Bitches Brew, running May 27-28. Find out more at www.yardbirdsuite.com.

P.J.Perry will also be performing in Vancouver at Musicfest Canada alongside his longtime cohort, Senator Tommy Banks, and the The Grant MacEwan University Faculty Alumni Big Band, an all-star assemblage of past and present MacEwan talent under the direction of Raymond Baril on May 19. Traditionally, this slot has been filled by Toronto’s  Humber College Big Band, but this year xenophiliacs throughout the Edmonton area can and will be forced to acknowledge the high level of performance ability existing right under their noses. It is important for Edmontonions to know that their city creates these musical ambassadors, whether they are able to attend this specific event or not.

The aforementioned Senator Banks is also to be commended on his recent outspokenness on the Harper government. He has sent out a number of open letters, which have been covered more thoroughly elsewhere, including the Ottawa Citizen among other papers, clearly stating his issues with the Harper government. A quick Google search will show any number of interesting results. By the time this article sees print however, Canadians will have gone to the polls and made their own decisions regarding what sort of character we want our country to have. Nonetheless, it is certainly inspiring to see a jazz musician fighting the good fight and joining with the other musicians and music lovers mentioned elsewhere in this article in deciding to try affect how the world they live in will be shaped.  Over and out.


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