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Halifax Jazz Festival AGM

Please be advised Halifax Jazz Festival's Annual General Meeting will take place at the boardroom at Metro Guide Publishing Monday, March 30 at 7 PM. Please feel free to attend, meet the Board of Directors and get to know some of the behind the scenes processes that run the festival. Metro Guide Publishing is located at 2882 Gottingen Street, Halifax. For more information contact info [at] halifaxjazzfestival [dot] ca.

Facebook Contest!


Artist Profile: Reeny Smith

Reeny II.jpgReeny Smith opens for Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton April 2. Reeny, originally from North Preston, recently won 2015 Artist of the Year Award from the African Nova Scotia Music Association. Halifax Jazz Festival caught up with this rising star to find out what influences her, what she's listening to and what's next.

Halifax Jazz Festival: What is your first musical memory?
Reeny Smith: My first musical memory would have to be singing at church singing in the Junior Choir at my home church, St. Thomas Baptist Church. The choir was full of boys and girls from the ages of 4 to 14, and we would sing our little hearts out.

HJF: You come from a very musical family. Do you think that is why you were drawn to music in the first place?
RS: My family was definitely the driving force in drawing me to music. Being raised in that environment, music was engrained in my everyday life. If you grew up in my family, music would undoubtedly play a role in your life.

HJF: In 2013 you won the Galaxie Rising Star competition at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. What has that meant for your career?
RS: Winning the Galaxy Rising Star Competition was the highlight 2013 for me. It was truly amazing to see all of the support from my community and followers; they wanted the win as much as I did. The competition really reaffirmed to me that this is definitely what I am supposed to be doing, that hard work and talent payoff.

HJF: Jazz is at the centre of what we do. How has jazz influenced you?
RS: Jazz is all about expression through improvisation. Having studied jazz for two years at StFX University, jazz has help me to find new ways to express myself through my singing, and gave me a greater knowledge of music in general.

HJF: What is on your iPod these days?
RS: On my IPod you can pretty much find any genre of music. Lately I’ve been listening to Luke James, Mali Music, and Kierra Sheard. Everyone should definitely check out their music.

HJF: What is your favourite Lisa Fischer song?
RS: My favorite Lisa Fischer song would definitely be “How Can I Ease The Pain”.  She is so incredible!!!!! That song is incredible!!!!!! Incredible!

HJF: What's up next for you after April 2?
RS: After the show I’m back rehearsing, writing, recording, teaching, practicing, eating and sleeping.

HJF: And we hope more singing!

Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton | Reeny Smith takes place 8 PM Thursday, April 2, 2015, at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie. Tickets for range from $24.50 - $57.50, and are on sale online at artscentre.dal.ca, at the Box Office located in the lobby of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, or by telephone at (902) 494-3820 or 1-800-874-1669.

First Artists Announced for the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival!

Halifax Jazz Festival is pleased to announce that Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Kenny Werner Trio, tUnE-yArDs and Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars will appear at the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival.

"These are just some of the exciting artists we have planned for this year's line-up" states Laura 'Lulu' Healy, Artistic Director of the Halifax Jazz Festival. "The music will span genres and generations, offering a huge pool of talent for music lovers to dive into.”

Sharon Jones web photo_0.jpg2014 Grammy nominee  Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings kicks off the five day event at the main stage located on the Halifax waterfront Wednesday, July 8. The matriarch of the world’s #1 soul band is known for her high energy performances. Opening the night is The Chronos Band, Halifax’s own instrumental afro-soul group and winner of the 2012 Galaxie Rising Star Award.

TuneYards_2 (900x900)_0.jpgtUnE-yArDs, fronted by Merrill Garbus with bassist Nate Brenner, take the main stage Thursday, July 9. Since the release of the 2014 album Nikki Nack (featuring the song "The Water Fountain") tUnE-yArDs has been wrapped up in whirlwind cross-country and cross-continent tours and late night TV appearances including "Conan". Kicking off the show is Brooklyn based trio Moon Hooch, a band known for their unique “cave music” sound and infamous in New York City for inciting impromptu dance parties on subway lines.

Cuban and Latin music are centre stage Friday, July 10. After nearly a decade since their previous Halifax appearance, Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars (ACAS) are back with their infectious Cuban music. With four Grammy nominations, the ACAS are known worldwide. Opening the night is Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra featuring Pancho Amat. Their recent release Veinte Años (Twenty Years), has been nominated for a Cubadisco award, the Cuban Grammy.  

Kenny Trio wA&J small (800x800).jpgTen years ago, world-class pianist and composer Kenny Werner made his first appearance at the Halifax Jazz Festival in a concert fans described as "magic". Known for his prolific output of compositions, recordings and publications, Werner returns with his trio for an intimate concerts at the Alderney Landing Theatre Sunday, July 12.

The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival is July 8-12 at venues throughout Halifax. Festival Passes start at $95 and are on sale now at www.halifaxjazzfestival.ca/passes. Early bird tickets will be for sale to the public at 12pm March 6, 2015; Halifax Jazz Festival members may purchase tickets starting today. The full line-up of the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival will be announced in April.

Artist Profile: Lisa Fischer

LisaFischer-DjenebaAduayom2014 (450x450)_1.jpgBetween Grammy wins and concerts the Halifax Jazz Festival  caught up with singer Lisa Fischer to find out what she's listening to, how to survive the winter and what jazz means to her. Check it out:

Halifax Jazz Festival: What got you started in music?
Lisa Fischer: My parents were pretty young when they had me and I was always surrounded by music either from the record player, the radio, or my parents singing in the house with friends.

HJF: Jazz is at the heart of Halifax Jazz Festival programming. How has jazz and jazz musicians influenced your work?
LF: It's the feeling and sound of freedom that Jazz and Jazz musicians represent for me... It allows me to dream and color outside the lines. 

HJF: What's on your iPod these days?
LF: Gregory Porter, Billy Childs, Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Chris Botti, Nina Simone

HJF: What strategies do you have for maintaining such a busy travel schedule?
For me hydration and rest are my best friends during a busy season.

HJF: Spring will be in Halifax when you arrive but in the meantime we are buried in snow and ice. Since your Twitter feed exudes positivity could you name us a few good things to bust the February blues until then?
LF: I love making soup as silly as that sounds but something about the prep work, the smell, the melding of flavors always makes me feel better when it's cold like this...Long bubble baths and a book are good for me as well.

HJF: It's always a whirlwind for our artists when they visit Halifax, but is there anything you'd like to do while in the east coast?
LF: I think I'll go hunting for a warm quilt from Halifax. 

That definately sounds like a good plan! Thank you Lisa Fischer for taking the time to chat with us. We hope you enjoy our lovely port city, and can't want to see you live.

Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton | Reeny Smith takes place 8 PM Thursday, April 2, 2015, at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie. Tickets for range from $24.50 - $57.50, and are on sale online at artscentre.dal.ca, at the Box Office located in the lobby of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, or by telephone at (902) 494-3820 or 1-800-874-1669.

HJF celebrates African Heritage Month with free concerts by Hallelujah Praise Choir and RealEyez

choir_0.jpgCelebrate African Heritage Month with two free concerts presented by the Halifax Jazz Festival in partnership with Halifax Public Libraries.

The Hallelujah Praise Choir shares its gospel infused jazz 7 PM Friday, February 20 at the Halifax North Memorial Public Library. For over 40 years the choir, directed by Wallace Smith Jr., has performed jazz-influenced four-part harmonies from a range of traditional to contemporary musical genres. Made up of 50 singers, including members of the North Preston's Saint Thomas Baptist Church, this gospel choir has received accolades from East Coast Music Awards and African Nova Scotian Music Association.

In the Studio.jpgListen to an afternoon performance and artist talk by RealEyez 2 PM Saturday, February 28 at the Cole Harbour Public Library. Originally from Truro, RealEyez (AKA Erin Dorrington) has been making a mark with her old-school R&B and rap as she strives to spread social consciousness through music. When not touring and performing, RealEyez is active in the local community volunteering with iMOVe and Centerline studios in Halifax.

Halifax North Memorial Public Library is located at 2285 Gottigen Street, Halifax. Cole Harbour Public Library is located with Cole Harbour Place, 51 Forest Hills Parkway, Cole Habour. Both performances are suitable for listeners of all ages.

For a full list of African Heritage Month activities at Halifax Public Libraries visit halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/ahmonth.


Jane Ira Bloom and Julian Priester join the Halifax Jazz Festival's 20th edition of the Creative Music Workshop

The 20th edition of the Halifax Jazz Festival's Creative Music Workshop takes place July 2-12 at the Nova Scotia Community College Waterfront Campus. Special guest faculty members for the music education program, which brings together world class artists, include Jane Ira Bloom and Julian Priester.

pub_profile_11-09_Priester_1_by_DSheehan.gifJaneIraBloom300dpi copy (450x450).jpg"Both Priester and Bloom have joined the program in the past and made a huge impact on the students, " states Jerry Granelli, faculty head and CMW program founder. "The fact that CMW has been alive and well for 20 years says a lot - we were the first festival to run such a program and it has become a model across the country.”

CMW has provided inspiration, education and exciting opportunities for creative individuals of all ages. The benefits that this program has had on students and the broader arts community have been profound. CMW alumni have gone on to become professional artists, educators and creative individuals worldwide. Granelli was a pioneer in developing this distinctive approach to education which is now integrated into renowned arts institutions throughout North America.

CMW gathers renowned musicians and educators from across North America who possess exceptional skills as educators and improvising musicians. New York saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom is a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz. She is a seven-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Award for Soprano Saxophone, winner of the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano sax, and a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Seattle trombonist Julien Priester's career has spanned over six decades. He has performed with  artists such as Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington,  Duke Ellington, Max Roach, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Charles Mingus and more.

Along with Priester and Bloom, 2015 CMW faculty includes Halifax artists drummer Jerry Granelli, pianist Tim Crofts and dancer Susanne Chui, and visiting artists such as saxophonist Dani Oore (Toronto), bassist Simon Fisk (Calgary), electric bassist J. Anthony Granelli (New York City), and  guitarist Christian Kögel (Berlin). Clinicians will be announced with the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival lineup.

10068261.jpgThe Halifax Jazz Festival is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College. The special anniversary edition of CMW will take place at Nova Scotia Community College Waterfront Campus, 80 Mawiomi Pl, Dartmouth, NS.  Students can select from two program streams: Core Program and Creative Process.  Students of the CMW Core Program receive a free All Events pass, and Creative Process students receive discounts on tickets to the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival.  Tuition for the Core Program is $450; register by February 28 and receive $100 off. Tuition for the Creative Process program is $179. For more information, including program information and registration visit our Creative Music Workshop section.

Sydney Smith's visual take on the TD Halifax Jazz Festival

new-blue-red-and-yellow-piano-on-light-background.jpgWhen the TD Halifax Jazz Festival comes to town, a transformation overcomes its community. Halifax is alive. There is joy, energy and warmth. There is a connectedness ─ a rhythm, heartbeat and pulse ─ that is shared between friends and family.

For the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, HJF staff assigned artist and illustrator Sydney Smith to create an image that conveys this. His image of birds emerging from the piano's lid couldn't be more fitting.

Syndey Smith grew up in rural Nova Scotia and now lives in Toronto, ON. He's an award winning illustrator who has worked with musicians, writers and more.

In March 2015 Sidewalk Flowers, a wordless children's book will be released in several countries. “Written” by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures.

HJF has featured Sydney Smith on its blog in the past. Check it out here and here.

2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival changes to 5 jam-packed days of music

The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, July 8-12, will be a jam-packed five day event featuring jazz, world, blues, funk, Latin, R&B, and more. Traditionally, the Halifax Jazz Festival has spanned nine days. The format of the 29th edition of the event will offer an even richer festival experience for audiences of all ages.

"This model will help audiences and musicians alike to enjoy a more vibrant festival experience," states Laura Healy, Halifax Jazz Festival's Artistic Director. "An expanded program will include more indoor theatres and new outdoor stages in the community. This will allow us to bring in more high profile artists and showcase even more local talent”. 

The Halifax waterfront will continue to host the festival's main stage which will offer free and ticketed performances. Free programming will also take place in smaller venues, libraries, public spaces and parks such as the Halifax Public Gardens.  Alderney Landing Theatre and Rebecca Cohn Auditorium have been added to the roster of indoor venues for the festival.

"It makes sense for us to re-evaluate our model," states Heather Gibson, Halifax Jazz Festival Executive Director. "Since our move to the waterfront the festival has grown significantly. Changing the format of the event helps us to address this growth and allows us to reach new audiences."

Festival passes are on sale to the public starting Monday, January 12.  Fusion Passes are $160, and Standard Passes are $95. A full festival announcement including schedule and artists will take place April 30.

Halifax Jazz Festival presents Ms. Lisa Fischer, Rolling Stones mainstay and star in Oscar-winning film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM

LisaFischer-DjenebaAduayom2014 (450x450)_0.jpgThis spring the Halifax Jazz Festival presents critically acclaimed New York vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer with her band Grand Baton.

"Fischer's name may be new to Haligonians but she has a familiar voice," states Laura 'Lulu' Healy, Halifax Jazz Festival Artistic Director. "She is an absolutely stunning vocalist and performer with an impressive resume, touring extensively as a backup singer with the Rolling Stones, Sting, Chris Botti and Nine Inch Nails."

She has also worked with Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Beyonce, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, Alicia Keyes, Lou Reed, Louie Vega, Aretha Franklin, John Scofield, George Benson, Laurie Anderson, Lee Ritenour, Jackie Evancho and many others. In 1992 Fischer won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Performance for her hit single "How Can I Ease  the Pain". More recently she was featured of the 2014 Oscar-winning film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM.

Reeny Smith (450x450).jpgMs. Fischer will be joined by her band Grand Baton. Opening the night is Reeny Smith, winner of the 2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Halifax Jazz Festival. Originally from North Preston, Smith released her debut album I Am Reeny in the fall of 2014.

Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton | Reeny Smith takes place 8 PM Thursday, April 2, 2015, at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie. Tickets for range from $24.50 - $57.50, and are on sale online at artscentre.dal.ca, at the Box Office located in the lobby of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, or by telephone at (902) 494-3820 or 1-800-874-1669.