This year’s Halifax Jazz Festival has a myriad of artists on offer, and will light up downtown Halifax and surrounding areas with song starting July 9.
“I’m so excited this year. I feel the variety of acts is quite incredible. We have so much diversity, and more on offer than ever this year,” said Artistic Director Andrew Jackson.
On offer this year are more than 70 artists, including Sheila E., Bahamas, Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, Shad, The Barr Brothers, and Oscar and Grammy-winning performer Common.
“It’s just so incredible. I’ve been listening to Common since the early days, and growing up he was a huge influence on me. There’s so much jazz and hip-hop talent on display. It’s remarkable to see these acts all coming to play, and it’ll be a great show,” said Jackson.
The festival will also include a number of free shows, featuring artists including Alan Syliboy, Ann Denny, Joe Murphy & The Broomdusters, Los Primos, Zamani and more.
“This is a festival that takes over portions of this city for a week at a time. Free shows are an important way to engage with as many people as possible. We want to bring people together with the power of music,” he said.
“I listen to so much music, and it’s a pleasure to bring these artists for free shows. This gives people who can’t afford high-end tickets a festival experience nonetheless.”
The ever-popular Creative Music Workshop, which begins July 6, will be back this year also. The intensive program is for those looking to learn about music and jazz from faculty in an eight-day session.
“This is hugely important. Faculty who are involved are amazing and the program is geared to show people music and art have something for everyone. We all have creative spirit and something to offer,” he said.
“Everyone can come and work and understand the core values of music. It’s grown so much over the years, and I’m so happy it draws people from all over the world now.”
With shows at St. Paul’s Church at Parade Square, as well as at the Seahorse and Marquee, new venues, fresh artist faces and more will make for a fantastic show.
One of those faces at St. Paul’s on Wednesday, July 10 will be Elise LeGrow.
“I’m really stoked to come. I’ve not been to Halifax in ages, and this will definitely be my first time in July,” said LeGrow.
She is coming off releasing her cover album of music from the Chess Records catalogue last year.
“I’ve had a wonderful reception to the album. When you do the music of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, you know it’s sacred. I’m glad I’ve been fortunate to tour Europe, the U.S. and Canada,” she said.
She says the record, which has so many influences from older music, can play to a wide demographic.
“Music like this speaks to different generations, and people around when Chess Records was at their height would have fond memories from their youth. But we also took liberties, while still keeping the soul of the old recordings. It’s been really cool,” she said.
As for the Halifax Jazz Festival, she can’t believe the company she’s keeping in terms of the line-up.
“This is such an honour, to play with Canada’s top jazz artists. The caliber of talent is so high, and I’m so happy to be included this year.”
For information on the festival or tickets, visit http://www.halifaxjazzfestival.ca/.