In addition to presenting musicians and artists from across Canada and the globe, the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival provides a great opportunity to see some of the very best from our own city. We’re showcasing over 50 local musicians this year, ranging from jazz saxophonists to soul bands to award-winning singer-songwriters. Winnipeg is bursting with talent and we can’t wait for you to take it all in!
Kicking off the festival this year is the Winnipeg Jazz Collective, a nine-member group of seasoned performers dedicated to music that is contemporary, creative, and Canadian. With Kyle Wedlake, Derek Frykas, and Sean Irvine on saxophone; Andrew Littleford and Matt Walden on trumpet; Jeff Acosta and Bill Green on trombone; Jeff Presslaff on piano; Julian Bradford on bass; and Graydon Cramer on drums, this ensemble’s performances always feature top-notch improvisation, interesting and diverse compositions, and music you won’t hear anywhere else. You can catch them – for free, no less – at Old Market Square on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30pm.
Winner of the 2017 West Coast Music Award for Electonic/Dance Artist of the Year and nominee for the JUNO Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year, Iskwé bridges cross-cultural aesthetics while blending soulful, breathlessly delivered lyrics. Her 2013 single “Nobody Knows” turned a stark spotlight on the more than 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. You can watch her perform at Old Market Square on Saturday, June 16 – a concert presented in partnership with the sākihiwē festival – at 10:40pm. By honouring her heritage, standing steadfast in her viewpoints, Iskwé’s artistry knows no bounds. She is not to be missed!
Winnipeg Ojibway jazz musician Chuck Copenace is one of a small group of musicians who honour traditional melody by incorporating spiritual songs into their work; composing and performing new and compelling music that successfully unites his creativity and his spirituality. The Chuck Copenace Group is his own groove-based jazz project formed in the spring of 2015 to perform his original music, which is a unique blend of Indigenous ceremonial music, R&B, funk, EDM, and hip hop. Fresh from the 2018 Guatemala Jazz Festival, we’re lucky to have him back at the Cube on Thursday, June 21.
Jazz veteran Ron Paley brings his Big Band to Old Market Square on Tuesday, June 19. Winner of the 2014 BreakOut Canada Music Awards’ “Heritage Music Award” for his outstanding and iconic body of work, Paley has been a composer, arranger, pianist, and electric bassist since 1973. His most recent work is 2011’s Bring ‘Em Back, a Broadway-style musical revolving around the big-band swing era. Don’t miss your chance to watch them light up the Exchange District!
While her debut single, “Spaceship,” was only released last March, Marisolle Negash has years of classical training and studying under her belt as a songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. This up-and-coming artist is definitely one to watch – and you can do that either at Old Market Square’s free stage on Saturday, June 19, or with Lido Pimienta at the West End Cultural Centre on Tuesday, June 19.
Another young performer with years of experience under his belt is Connor Derraugh. Despite having just recently graduated from the University of Manitoba’s jazz program, Connor has been performing since the ripe young age of 13. After suffering a brain hemorrhage during routine surgery that initially paralyzed his right side in 2010, Connor has overcome what could have derailed his dreams and chooses to now view his music through the lens of disability. He and his band, Ability, will be performing jazz classics from Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and David Sanborn, to name a few, on Thursday, June 21 at the Cube.
Hybrid soul/jazz/roots band, The Grey Jays, blend brainy physical beats with emotional rollercoasters of crescendos to whispers, while instruments do the talking and voices do the singing. This four-member group with diverse and seasoned musical backgrounds arranges Holly Ruth’s earnest, vulnerable songwriting with varied orchestration. You can catch them opening the night at Old Market Square on Wednesday, June 20.