By Rachneet Randhawa, August 18 2021—
Did you know that Canada was host to one of the largest jazz festivals in the world — The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in Québec, Canada? That’s right, we have authentic talent right in our backyard.
Following this, is the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland is not only the second-largest jazz festival in the world but one which I had the chance to attend. Let me say that my initial love and appreciation for the genre of all tunes jazz emerged from that festival event. It was there that I realized there is so much to explore and uncover as jazz offers an escape to the familiar unknown and is enjoyable for all regardless of where you come from or who you are.
Although you may or may not be a fan of jazz music, the diverse palette of offerings suggests that there is something for everyone — as cheesy as that sounds — from traditional jazz to more casual and modern.
The Calgary Jazz Festival 2021 is a go for the summer and spans a four-day event from Aug. 19 – Aug. 22, with both virtual and in-person shows. There will also be Interactive live panels and workshops from 25 different performers.
The Calgary Jazz Festival is a part of the JazzYYC collaborative, supporting jazz arts and music initiatives all year round including showcasing and promoting various jazz musicians.
The festival kicks off with the Andre Wickenheiser Sextet performing from their latest album A Happy Little Accident drawing from everyday experiences and the emotional rollercoaster we all faced during the pandemic and lockdown.
Featuring headliners such as 2020 Western Canadian Music Award Winning artist Audrey Ochoa and her Quartet, and Terra Hazelton — another prominent local and Canadian jazz musician — broadcaster and actress and winner of the Genie Award. Johnny Summers will also be performing, who is a multi-talented vocalist, trumpeter, arranger and composer, a three-time winner of the Global Music Awards and an international jazz star.
The festival has some amazing talent across the country like Caity Gyorgy, hailing from Toronto and Montreal, whose repertoire and musical style are similar to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Another hotshot artist from Vancouver is Laila Biali, who has charmed Canadian audiences coast to coast with her clever songwriting and light yet subtle jazz vocals as demonstrated by her 2019 JUNO award for Vocal Jazz Album of the year and her SOCAN award for Composer of the Year. Her latest release, Out of Dust, was also JUNO nominated in 2020 and sheds light on themes like loss and illness in an approach that gives the listener a stimulating sense of closure.
Be sure to check out at least one of these events and best beware that although no longer required, masks are still recommended when not sitting at your designated tables. Some shows are already sold out so be sure to grab your tickets for some last-minute jazz festivities this weekend. Best of all, students are offered a discount at $20 per show so tag along with a friend and go support the local jazz arts.