Saturday, June 02, 2007


The “New” Calgary Jazz Festival has announced it’s headline acts for the 2007 event, slated to run June 19-24 at various locations in the city. Offering an eclectic lineup that ventures into world, contemporary, funk and blues from every corner of the globe, there’s something for everyone.
Below is a listing of artists sent out in a newsletter from festival organizers this past weekend:

Tuesday, June 19
NoName Jazz Sextet CANTOS
Saxophonist Alexandre Côté and drummer Ugo Di Vito lead this hot young Montreal group. Their compositions are influenced by sixties Hard Bop.

Mr. Something Something The Auburn
Juno nominees, chart topping recordings, and energetic live shows, the ‘Mr. Sum Sum’ afro-funk collective is a guaranteed good time.

The October Trio. Beat Niq
Vancouver Jazz Fest’s Galaxie Rising Stars Award winners deliver up a tight show of everything from intimate, subtle renderings to blistering grooves like no others. Evan Arntzen (saxophones), Josh Cole (bass), and Dan Gaucher (drums) are claimed as that city’s most creative musicians, but we won’t forget Dan’s strong Calgary roots.

National Jazz Awards violinist Jesse Zubot (aka Zubot & Dawson) presents his latest cutting edge jazz project with Toronto drummer Jean Martin and the infamous American bassist Joe Fonda. Blurring the lines between contemporary improvisation, composition and old school free jazz, it’s always an incredible performance.

Wednesday, June 20th
Elmer Ferrer Band Wild Rose Brewery
While being trained in classical guitar styles at Havana’s famed National School of Arts, Elmer saw a bootleg copy of the Armerican movie Crossroads and decided he wanted to play the blues. He secretly studied electric guitar until the same school that denied him his desire recognized his talent and hired him to teach at the new ‘Department of Electric Guitar’ Now widely recognized as Cuba’s best on the axe, Ferrer adds high energy Afro-Cuban flair to the blues.

Rollanda Lee and The Canadian Hot Stars Quincy’s
The original ‘Dixie Chick’ has entertained audiences all over the world.. Her own seven piece Canadian Hot All Stars (including Calgary trumpeter Al Muirhead) swing with traditional 1920’s and 30’s jazz New Orleans style.

Christine Jensen Quartet Beat Niq
The Montreal arranger and saxophonist has been labeled “one of the most important Canadian composers of her generation”, by Globe and Mail jazz critic, Mark Miller. Her quartet are also Canadian jazz all stars - Dave Restivo on piano, Fraser Hollins on bass, and Greg Ritchie on drums.

Community Performance Series with Mark Sonksen
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association 8 pm
Chicago bassist and composer joins Calgary favourites Gerry Hebert on sax, Keith Smith on guitar, and Jon May on drums in this version of the monthly series for serious jazz listeners.

Thursday, June 21
Pierre Dørge & The New Jungle Orchestra with Brandi Disterheft Cantos
Guitarist Pierre leads a wild, ten piece Danish ensemble that combines swing, bop, and Euro-classicism in rich, bursting, dadaistic freestyle harmonies. Definitely not easy listening, but a once in a lifetime experience. National Jazz Awards Rising Star Brandi Disterheft “has the same lope or rhythmical pulse as my late bass player Ray Brown. She is what we call serious” says Oscar Peterson.

Dhafer Youssef with Jatinder Thakur and the Divine Shadows String Quartet, and Amir Amiri. Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
Tunisian-born singer and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef’s haunting, Sufi inspired music has captured the hearts and minds of audiences across Europe. Hailed by The Guardian as world music’s most exciting new star, Youssef draws on the evocative sound of his Islamic heritage, combining it with new directions in European jazz to create a distinctive and atmospheric sound. Accompanied by Indian virtuoso tabla player Jatinder Thakur and the Divine Shadows Strings, (aka the Koehne Quartet), this will truly be a memorable performance.
Amir Amiri immigrated to Canada from Iran with little more than his hammer dulcimer ten years ago. Since then, he has become one of our most cherished musical resources, filling concert halls and intimate clubs across North America with his own spiritual compositions. Joining him is Edmonton’s award winning drummer and percussionist Sandro Dominelli

Jan Verwey, with Jillian Lebeck and Paul Rushka Beat Niq
One of the few who dared to play the chromatic harmonica in jazz, he created his own style. This Dutch innovator is accompanied by bassist Paul Rushka and Jillian Lebeck, one of Canada’s most dynamic and innovative vocalist/pianist/composers.

Thursday & Friday June 21 & 22 Ironwood, Southwood United Church
Matt Masters sings the standards with Terra Hazelton and and the Valleau Village People.
The country crooner has found his true voice in jazz with Calgary expatriate Terra Hazelton (of Jeff Healey fame) and the Valleau Village People (who had to come up with this name to avoid contractual obligations).

Friday, June 22
Joshua Redman and Kris Davis The Gateway Lounge
One of the most compelling and fearless saxophone voices in jazz. His latest cd, ‘Back East’ pushes boundaries and stimulates his creative juices in the classic acoustic trio format, with bassist Reuben Rogers and Antonio Sanchez on drums.
Son of recently deceased legend Dewey Redman, Joshua burst onto the jazz scene in 1993 with his self-titled debut cd and Wish. Both sold over a quarter of a million copies combined—unheard of in jazz. Although his muscular swing and earthy ballads may evoke Sonny Rollins, Redman has proven himself a wide-ranging musician and a fearless voice at the vanguard of contemporary music. Michael Brecker simply called him “a genius.”

Jens Winther Euro Quintet Cantos
Denmark’s leading trumpeter brings his hot, up-tempo band and arrangements to Canada. Internationally renown, Winther’s talent has been recognised with numerous awards and prizes for his outstanding contribution to the world of jazz as a player, composer and bandleader.

Tobey Foyeh and Orchestra Africa and Lynn Olagundaye and Guerrilla Funk Monster Quincy’s on Seventh
Tobey first came to America from Nigeria touring with Hugh Masekela. Originally trained in traditional music, he went on to Bostons’ Berklee College and now composes, arranges, and produces complex pieces featuring African instruments and back-up singers and dancers in costume with electronic keyboards and guitars. Their music expresses social situations in Africa, the people, and their joys and pains.

Lynn Olagundaye and the Guerrilla Funk Allstars are all Canadian born, but they present the rhythm of their roots in full on rhythm and blues hip hop party to rock the house.

Kellylee Evans The Ironwood
Delivering a rich, smooth but unique vocal style through jazz, soul, R & B, and blues is garnering Kellylee world wide attention, including that of Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling and other judges at the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. She earned the silver medal out of a field of 160. One to watch.

Saturday June 23
James Hunter The Gateway Lounge
‘People Gonna Talk’ about James Hunter’s Calgary debut. Discovered by Van Morrison, James’ songwriting craft and impassioned performances have turned him into today’s hottest act in Roots and Blues.

Vijay Iyer Quartet with Rudresh Mahanthappa Ironwood
Cutting edge jazz from two leading innovators at the heart of the New York scene. Vijay is a forceful, rhythmically invigorating performer who with a unique sense for compositional balance. Described as “one of the most original and accomplished young pianists in years’. He often works with saxophonist Rudresh, who was just awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for ‘distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment’ in composition and performance. Both men draw on their Asian heritage and American influence to create dynamic, stunning performances that could well be one of the best shows of the festival.,

UMO Jazz Orchestra Quincy’s on Seventh
Arguably one of the best big bands in the world is from Finland. Continuous support by the city of Helsinki and the ministry of education has helped keep UMO together for over thirty years, record 23 cds and have a repertoire of 1200 compositions.

Marianne Trudel Quintet Cantos
The award-winning pianist from Montreal offers a rich quilt of sonic colours seemlessly stitched together with a keen sense of compositional design and deft improvisational gestures. Drawing equally on the classical, jazz and free improv idioms, she cleverly balances these influences out on a razor’s edge. With Rob Mosher (soprano sax, oboe - New York), Jonathan Stewart (tenor sax - Kingston, Ontario), Morgan Moore (bass - Montreal) and Kelby MacNayr (drums - Victoria, BC).

Barry Romberg Beat Niq
Juno Award-winning drummer mixes contemporary with free jazz in a powerful performance. With supreme saxophonist Kirk Macdonald, trumpeter Kevin Turcotte and Rich Brown on bass.

Sunday June 24
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra with The Bad Plus The Gateway Lounge
A double header dance party featuring the politically-charged, funk-driven Antibalas and the musically controversial Bad Plus. The eleven piece Afrobeat Orchestra incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa with strong lyrics in a driving beat.

The Bad Plus is a midwest American collective that challenged the definition of jazz trio. Bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King mixed their own diverse compositions with covers of rock bands like Nirvana and Aphex Twin. Favoring group improvisation over individual solos, eschewing all jazz cliches, The Bad Plus rip into each set with precision, dynamics and reckless abandon, attracting new audiences to jazz.

Francois Carrier Cantos
An inexhaustible improviser, Carrier pushes boundaries of creative evolution with his saxes and some of the biggest names in the business. His latest cd is a 1999 recording of him with the late Dewey Redman. He appears for a Sunday afternoon performance in Calgary with drummer Michel Lambert and French bassist Jean Jacques Avenel.
Coco Zhao The Auburn Saloon

Avant-garde crooner from China charms all with his Sinatra-style performance. Out of a small town in the Hunan province of China comes the exotic Dream Situation. Zhao challenges the stereotypical jazz vocalist image, singing the lyrics in Chinese, but transcending cultures with contemporary American jazz idioms. Supported by arranger and violinist Peng Fei and the Possicobilities band
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