The annual JazzYYC Canadian Jazz Festival runs November 6-10, in various venues across the city of Calgary. There is lots of great Canadian Jazz music happening next week and, in particular, many great drummers to check out too.
So on that note, here's my list of several not-to-be-missed shows to attend and the great drummers that will be performing in the coming week:
- Drummer Jeff Sulima & the Redline Trio have been performing regularly at Betty Lou's Library every Thursday night for the past couple of years now. Recent concerts have also featured this well-oiled group with the likes of pianist/composer David Braid and bassist Brandi Disterheft. They even have a new recording coming out soon!
You'll have plenty of opportunities to hear Uncle Jeff and this trio (co-led by saxophonist Mark DeJong) during this year's festival. They'll be hosting the Kawa Jazz jam on the afternoon of Saturday, November 9th 3-6pm and also backing up spoken word poets Quincy Troupe and Sheri-D Wilson at the Ironwood Stage & Grill on the evenings of Friday, November 8th and Saturday, November 9th (930pm).
- Montreal's Michel Lambert will be playing drums with the Jazzlab Orchestra on Friday, November 8th at the Ironwood (7pm). Lambert is a creative force on the drums, whom I had the privilege of studying with at McGill University during the early 2000s. I am looking forward to hearing how he musically navigates the JazzLab Orchestra which, while not a full-on big band, will still cover a lot of sonic ground given its larger, five-horn configuration.
Here's some footage of the JazzLab Orchestra in action:
- Also from Montreal is drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel, who will be appearing with the award-winning Gentiane MG trio at the Ironwood on Saturday, November 9th (7pm).
Following the release of her first trio recording entitled Eternal Cycle, Gentiane received the 2018-2019 CBC/Radio-Canada Jazz Award and the Prix François-Marcaurelle de la Guilde des Musiciens du Québec. If you are looking to hear an introspective and modern Jazz piano trio next week, this is the group to hear! Louis-Vincent Hamel is an exceptionally musical drummer and he impressed audiences during his performance with saxophonist Benjamin Deschamps No Codes project last June at Calgary's BuckingJam Palace.
- From New York and appearing with tenor saxophonist/Montreal-native Chet Doxas' group Landline is drummer Vinnie Sperrazza. I am personally looking forward to hearing this group, their modern New York sound and experiencing their collective/co-operative approach to composition.
Enjoy this preview of their musical process:
I know both Chet Doxas and bassist Zack Lober from my days as a student at McGill University and they are both incredibly talented and dedicated musicians. This will certainly be a show you won't want to miss.
- Local drummer (and another fellow McGill graduate!) Afo Fapojuwo appears with tenor saxophonist Nate Waters' quartet at Lolita's Lounge on Friday, November 8th (8pm). Afo also leads his own group at the Calgary Central Library, part of the family-friendly JazzWalk on Sunday, November 10th, from 2-3pm. Afo has been a wonderful addition to the local Jazz scene since his return to Calgary, following his studies in Montreal.
- Drummer Ted Warren has undoubtedly been one of the most significant Jazz drummers on the Canadian Jazz scene over the past 30 years. His resume reads like a "who's who" of Jazz greats, including a stint as the drummer with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass for a number of years. He's also one of the most creative and musical drummers you'll ever hear.
At this year's festival we'll hear Ted in action with guitarist Avi Granite's touring project from Toronto, performing music from his latest album Orbit, at the King Eddy on Thursday, November 7th (830pm).
- Alberta vocalist Ellen Doty appears at the King Eddy for two shows on Friday, November 8th (7pm & 930pm) with Edmonton's rock-solid Peter Hendrickson on the drums. Ellen is a lyrical storyteller and Hendrickson's drumming style offers the perfect accompaniment for Doty's vocals.
- Tap dancer Kelly Steele has been making her rhythmic style known to Calgary Jazz audiences over the past couple of years now. Young swinger Nate Chiang on the drums will be backing up Steele's quartet from 12-1pm at the Calgary Central Library on Sunday, November 10th.
- And last, but certainly not least, Regina's Brent Jefferson will be driving the band from behind the drums, backing up guitarist Jack Semple and his tribute to the music of B.B. King, appearing at the Calgary Central Library (in the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall) on Sunday, November 10th (7pm).
Personally, I've known Brent Jefferson for over 30 years now (!) and consider him to be a good friend and an amazing drummer. The rhythmic team of Jefferson along with Jack Semple on guitar and Dave Chobot on bass is one of the grooviest things you'll hear and if this music doesn't move you, you are probably dead!
*I should also add that this festival isn't all about the drummers (!) Be sure to check out a couple of great drummer-less shows next week too including:
- Montreal pianist John Roney and Israeli-born alto saxophonist Tevet Sela at the Ironwood Stage & Grill on Thursday, November 7th (7pm)
- Tim Tamashiro's "Drinky Jazz Cabaret: Nat the Cat" featuring the life and music of Nat King Cole at the Engineered Air Theatre, Arts Commons on Friday, November 8th and Saturday, November 9th (8pm)
For more information about this year's JazzYYC Canadian Jazz Festival please visit www.jazzyyc.com