Monday, June 11, 2018
A Drummer's Guide to the JAZZYYC Calgary Summer Jazz Festival
Calgary's annual Summer Jazz Festival is back this week, happening across various venues around town June 14 - 17.
Here's my very biased and drummer-centric picks of several not-to-be-missed shows and the great drummers that will performing this week.
1) Undoubtedly my first choice would be to catch New York tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander with legendary pianist Harold Mabern at the National Music Centre on Friday, June 15th 8pm featuring Master swinger Joe Farnsworth on the drums.
Joe is a personal favourite of mine and I've long admired his hard swinging beat & style. If you are only going to see one show this week, this is the one to catch!
2) Happening that same evening, starting an hour earlier at 7pm, and appearing down the street on 9th Avenue SE at the Ironwood Stage & Grill will be Cuban-born, Toronto-based pianist Hilario Duran along with Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on the drums.
Hernandez is a master drummer/percussionist (ie. a BEAST!) who's coordination and sophisticated blending of Afro-Cuban rhythms around the drum set is something to behold.
3) Also appearing at the Ironwood and opening the festival the evening before on Thursday, June 14th at 7pm is Toronto alto saxophonist Allison Au and her quartet, fresh off of a Juno win and recognition as the most outstanding group at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival. Appearing with Au's group is the wonderful Fabio Ragnelli on the drums.
4) If you are out and about in Inglewood on Sunday afternoon for the JazzYYC Jazz Walk on 9th Avenue SE, check out trombonist Carsten Rubeling's groovy new project VOLK featuring drummer Colin Adhikary. Colin recently completed his degree at Humber College in Toronto and has been back in Calgary for a year now and is really playing great. VOLK will be appearing at the Cold Garden Beverage Company in Inglewood on the afternoon of Sunday, June 17 from 3-5pm.
5) While not "officially" part of the festival, but definitely most worthy of any serious Calgary Jazz fan's attention, is the trio of saxophonist Mark DeJong, bassist Steve Shepard and Jeff Sulima on drums at Betty Lou's in the basement of Devinish Building, just off of 17th Avenue and 8th Street SW. These guys have been holding court at this hip cocktail bar every week for a year now and it's a great place to relax, enjoy a nice beverage and dig some great music in a hip room. Check them out every Thursday night starting at 7pm.
6) And last, but certainly not least, make sure to check out Montreal pianist John Roney and his trio (featuring yours truly Jon McCaslin on the drums!) hosting the nightly jam session at the Ironwood Bar & Grill (Thursday/Friday nights starting @ 10pm and Saturday night starting @ 12am). Come on by and say hello, sit in for a few tunes and tell them that Four on the Floor sent you!
For more information, a complete listing and ticket info, visit the JazzYYC website: www.jazzyyc.com