The 32nd Annual Festival kicks off the summer with a rousing 11-day spectacular (June 22 – July 2) featuring a diverse lineup that includes international headliners like Seu Jorge, Branford Marsalis and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Thievery Corporation, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Antibalas, Tommy Emmanuel, Ziggy Marley, Donny McCaslin Group, Kenny Barron and Jacob Collier.
A few standout shows to consider include:
Friday, June 23, 8:00pm
Born in a Brooklyn warehouse, but with ancestry that traces back to Fela Kuti’s legendary Afrika Shrine club in Lagos, Nigeria, Antibalas’ Afrobeat wig-outs are legendary. With Nigerian harmonies and heavy drumbeats, elements of Ghanaian highlife, including a killer horn section; and a crazy-tight vibe honed through their time as the pit band for Fela! The Musical and years of touring, Antibalas concerts are the ultimate sweaty dance parties, with a side of social consciousness. By the way, the Vogue has a big dance floor for the show, so no worries about staying in your seat.
Monday, June 26, 8:00pm
“As cerebral as Ziggy Marley can be with his songwriting, his performances succeed on his physical enthusiasm as much as they do on provocative content. Couple that with a band that is dynamic and sure at every turn, and what emerges is two hours of pulsating, heart-pumping elation.”—JamBands.com
Representing the first family of reggae, Ziggy Marley is hot off picking up his eighth GRAMMY for his new self-titled release. Our Spotlight Video series continues with a few tunes perfect for a summer in the city concert.
Tuesday, June 27, 7:30 and 9:30
“There’s just no way not to like Cyrus Chestnut.”—AllMusic
First call pianist for the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and both The Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestras, Cyrus Chestnut absorbed years of experience as a sideman with Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, and scores of other great players before stepping into the spotlight as a charismatic and thought-provoking composer/bandleader. Blending contemporary and traditional jazz with gospel and hints of Latin and samba, Time Magazine raves that, “what makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.”
Friday, June 30, 9pm
By turns raucous and sweet, nostalgic and modern, genre-bending Halifax sextet Gypsophilia’s frenzied swing and rousing sing-alongs are chock-full of humour, showmanship, and great chops! Born of a shared love of Django Reinhardt, the four-time East Coast Music Award winners are what Exclaim! calls “the perfect mix of cerebral and primal.” Featuring the triple-guitar threat of Alec Frith, Nick Wilkinson, and Ross Burns; Matt Myer trumpet/keyboards; Adam Fine bass; and Gina Burgess violin.
Downtown Jazz Weekend (June 24-25), on the historic grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Square will bask in the glory of a long anticipated facelift. The north Georgia Plaza has undergone a major new redesign that will create a bigger viewing space, provide improved sightlines, and deliver a more comfortable listening experience for everyone. The highly anticipated “music and arts village” draws thousands of attendees during the Festival’s opening weekend. Enjoy the great sounds of 30 national, international and resident student band performances on three stages (Georgia Stage, Robson Stage, Anthem Properties Sounds of Youth Stage), family activities, artisan markets, a large viewing screen, two licensed bars and much more. Free to the public.
Special initiatives.The Festival’s long-term commitment to the Made in the UK series continues for a sixth consecutive year alongside a new initiative called Spotlight on Italy.The Festival is thrilled to showcase some of the finest artists working on the diverse Italian jazz scene. These
important programs reflect the Festival’s serious belief in recognizing the global reach of jazz and the indelible influence various cultures around the world have had in shaping in it’s form, spirit, and character.
Frankie’s Jazz Club. Since its launch in October 2015, Frankie’s Jazz Club (a Coastal Jazz initiative) has become the epicentre for jazz and blues in Vancouver. Centrally located downtown at 755 Beatty Street, the room has a capacity of 100 and is designed for maximum listening pleasure.
In addition to early evening performances at 8pm throughout the Festival, audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy free Festival jam sessions hosted nightly at 11pm by saxophonist Mike Allen.
The Festival is accessible to everyone. 150 FREE CONCERTS take place throughout the city at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, Ironworks Afternoon Sessions, Granville Island in the afternoons and at several venues on the North Shore. Along with Downtown Jazz (June 24-25) there are also free concerts during David Lam Park Jazz Weekend (July 1-2) and on four stages during Canada Day on Granville Island beginning at Noon. Don’t miss a chance to see international stars like Nik West, Lady Wray, Neil Cowley Trio, and Lina Nyberg during these events.