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Allison's Festival Blog: Robert Glasper Experiment | The WAYO | JR Smith

Allison-png_0.jpgHow sore my feet are the day after is usually a good indication of how the night before went. So I'll start by telling you my poor tootsies are throbbing. But if we're going to talk about last night, I'd rather brag than complain—it was one of those shows I feel pretty lucky to have attended. And I would happily trade some sore feet to watch it all again.

The Marquee was beautifully air conditioned and well filled out as North Preston's JR Smith warmed the stage with his quartet of super tight players. Though he's considered a newcomer as a solo artist, you might recognize his chops from elsewhere. He plays alongside the likes of Cyndi Cain, his sister Reeny Smith and the Nova Scotia Super Soul Review, too. After hearing about the insanely good, percussion ass-kicking he dealt out at last year's festival, I couldn't wait to see this local wunderkind in action. And he (and his band) delivered precision playing, as expected. It's always nice to see musicians having as much fun as the audience is, and these guys definitely were. When their set wrapped with a smooth dose of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”, I wasn't quite ready for it to be over. Can't wait to see more of JR this week.

Next came Halifax-Toronto-Montreal-based The Wayo, who dropped a slick video for their cover of Spooky Black's "Without You" this week, you should check it out after you finish reading this. Fronted by sax-slaying, buttery-voiced Charlotte Day Wilson, The Wayo got the dance floor (which was quickly becoming close quarters) moving with chill grooves and cool melodies. I really like this band because there's no one else in Halifax quite like them---it's sexy, velvety, mellow R&B, injected with a healthy dose of hip-hop influence. These former King's College pals are super-talented musicians, and every time I see them they seem to get even better. If you missed The Wayo this time you can catch them at the Festival Tent on Tuesday, July 8 at noon as part of the Free Daytime Concerts. They're in the running for a Galaxie Rising Star award.

Things were shoulder-to-shoulder by the time New-York-based four-piece, the Robert Glasper Experiment took the stage and immediately took over every corner of my brain. These players were completely spellbinding. Kicking off their set with a grooving version of "A Love Supreme" and closing with and unreal take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the Experiment played a beautiful, creative trip of a two-hour set, serving up both crowd-pleasing covers and favourites from Black Radio and Black Radio 2. Though it was difficult to keep your eyes off the exuberant Casey Benjamin (saxophone and otherworldly vocoder/vocalist) there wasn’t one player who stood out from this foursome, because they all did. Taking turns shredding challenging but not inaccessible solos, the band allowed each other space to drop jaws and shine bright. And man, that underlying groove never quit. Not once. Favourite moments for me were a ripping bass solo from Burniss Travis and Glasper’s warp-speed key-playing bringing the rowdy crowd to almost a hush (or as close as a rowdy bar crowd can get to one) with a lengthy improvisation near the end of the set.  I left the Marquee wondering how Mark Colenburg’s (percussion) wrists made it through those two hours and where I could learn to rock a keytar like Benjamin did, but most importantly how did I get so lucky to just witness this talent? This was a hypnotically entertaining night, a true experience and an unforgettable way of kicking off this year’s festival.

 

Festival Tent concert July 5

We hope you are enjoying tonight's show at the Festival Tent. We understand your disappointment, and we are too that Yasiin Bey did not make his scheduled appearance. If you want a refund for Hypnotic Brass Ensemble featuring Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) | Kayo | Uncle Fester & Ghettosocks (2-Man DJ Set) please be in the Box Office line by 9:45 PM Saturday, July 5. We will not be offering refunds after this time by phone or email.

TD Halifax Jazz Festival update 4 PM July 5

Programming for the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival resumes tonight, Saturday, July 5 with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and hip hop legend Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def). Local rapper and St. Lucia transplant Kayo warms up the Festival Tent stage starting at 7:45 PM. Doors for the concert open at 7:15 PM.

Please be advised due to flight cancellations the Shai Maestro concert scheduled for 8 PM at the Peggy Corkum Music Room is cancelled. Late Night Jazz: The Extremities 11 PM has been cancelled, and Late Night Jazz: Jack's Cats has been scheduled at The Company House instead.

Tickets purchased for Shai Maestro, and Late Night Jazz: The Extremities will be refunded. Patrons who wish to refund their tickets for Hypnotic Brass Ensemble feat. Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) | Kayo | Uncle Fester & Ghettosocks (2-Man DJ Set) due to weather concerns may do so between 4:30 PM and 8 PM by contacting the Jazz Hotline at (902) 229-8821.  Refunds will not be issued after 8 PM for Hypnotic Brass Ensemble feat. Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) | Kayo | Uncle Fester & Ghettosocks (2-Man DJ Set).

Please note, tickets purchased at the Halifax Jazz Festival office will be refunded at the festival's Box Office located at the Festival Tent. Online purchases will be automatically refunded within 72 hours with added personal financial institution time. Tickets purchased at the Etixnow Kiosks must be refunded through a kiosk, which are located at the festival's Box Office. Patrons who are concerned about their refund status after this time can contact info [at] etixnow [dot] com or call 1-877-384-9669 for assistance.

Sunday, July 6, programming will continued as scheduled. This includes free programming all day at the Festival Tent including the evening concert The Lee Boys | The Sounds of Motown.

Please note, all shows at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival are rain or shine. 

Iain's Festival Blog: Back Alley Big Band with Augusto Enriquez | Los Primos with Jeff Goodspeed

Iain_1.jpgFor an outdoor concert facing hurricane warnings and a last minute cancellation, you might think there's not a chance left for success. But last night wasn't a regular concert. This was the opening night of the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, and through the power of Latin jazz, we were transported to Havana-fax.

#HJF2014, let's do this.

By the time Los Primos took the stage to kick off this year’s festival, fog had completely surrounded the concert tent. Everything beyond the festival grounds was lost to the shroud. But the rotating cast of Cuban and Nova Scotian musicians that make up Los Primos kept the fog, storm and cold all at bay while laying down what they called their ‘Havana-fax Cubanity’. 

Los Primos is a constantly changing and rotating, Cuban-inspired jazz project directed by local jazz hero Jeff Godspeed. Los Primos has been ongoing since 1997 when it began as a instrument donation program for music students in Havana. Since 2000, it has been bringing Cuban students here to the benefit of the jazz scenes in both cities. With Cuban musicians as young as 15, Los Primos tore the stage up with great charisma, energy, and some just ridiculous guitar solos.

Following Los Primos was the 17-piece Back Alley Big Band fronted by the Cuban great vocalist Augusto Enriquez. Enriquez has more charm than belongs on any stage and after a few minutes the dance floor finally started to fill up, just in time for some breathtaking sax solos. The weather may have kept you from believing you were in Cuba, but you’d be forgiven for forgetting you were in Halifax bracing for 'Arthur'.

Last night proved to me that this is going to be a great jazz festival, no matter what the weather turns out to be.

Bring it on Arthur, we’ve got jazz.  

TD Halifax Jazz Festival update - July 5

Please be advised of the following July 5 schedule changes for the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Afternoon programming starting at 12 noon at the Festival Tent is cancelled. Unfortunately due to flight cancellations the Shai Maestro concert scheduled for 8 PM at the Peggy Corkum Music Room is also cancelled. Festival organizers will make a decision about evening programming by 4 PM today, and post information on its website and social media forums.

Sunday, July 6, programming will continued as scheduled. This includes free programming all day at the Festival Tent including the evening concert The Lee Boys | The Sounds of Motown.

Tickets purchased for Shai Maestro will be refunded. Tickets purchased at the Halifax Jazz Festival office will be refunded at the festival's Box Office located at the Festival Tent. Online purchases will be automatically refunded within 72 hours with added personal financial institution time. Tickets purchased at the Etixnow Kiosks must be refunded through a kiosk, which are located at the festival's Box Office. Patrons who are concerned about their refund status after this time can contact info [at] etixnow [dot] com (info [at] etixnow [dot] com) or call 1-877-384-9669 for assistance.

Please note, all shows are rain or shine.  The Halifax Jazz Festival will only cancel a show only in the case of high winds or lightening.  In the case of high winds, the cancellation notice will be posted on its website and social media forums by noon the day of the show.  If the Halifax Jazz Festival cancels a show due to severe weather, patrons will be offered a refund.

Los Primos and The Back Alley Big Band with Augusto Enriquez open the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival with a FREE show

The 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival opens tonight with a very special free concert featuring Los Primos featuring Jeff Goodspeed 8 PM Friday, July 4, 2014.  The music starts at 8 PM at the Festival Tent located on the Halifax waterfront.

The band Los Primos started in 1997 as a fundraising effort which started with instrument donations to the Amadeo Roldon Conservatory in Havana. Since then the groups has grown to be a band exchange program between Cuban and Canadian musicians.

Armed with an A-list of local players, Paul Barrett brought together The Back Alley Big Band, an actualization of a project he and drummer David Burton dreamed up in 2007. For this special and specially crafted performance the 17-piece band teams up with Cuban great, powerhouse vocalist and no stranger to the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, Augusto Enriquez for an evening of Latin music.

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet cancelled their scheduled appearance. Tickets purchased for Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet | The Back Alley Big Band with Augusto Enrique will be refunded. Tickets purchased at the Halifax Jazz Festival office will be refunded at the festival's Box Office located at the Festival Tent. Online purchases will be automatically refunded within 72 hours with added personal financial institution time. Tickets purchased at the Etixnow Kiosks must be refunded through a kiosk, which are located at the festival's Box Office. Patrons who are concerned about their refund status after this time can contact info [at] etixnow [dot] com or call 1-877-384-9669 for assistance.

Please note, all shows are rain or shine.  The Halifax Jazz Festival will only cancel a show only in the case of high winds or lightening.  In the case of high winds, the cancellation notice will be posted on its website and social media forums by noon the day of the show.  If the Halifax Jazz Festival cancels a show due to severe weather, patrons will be offered a refund.

 

Jonathan's Festival Blog

Jonathan Briggins.jpgI often catch myself standing with my arms crossed and a slight scowl at concerts. It’s not because I’m upset or don’t like the performer. Rather, it’s because I’m focused on the performance, absorbing the amazing process of humans transferring creative ideas from their minds through instruments in a multi-sensory experience. Then it’s up to me how to interpret the music.

My name is Jonathan Briggins and I’m the editor-in-chief of Mixtape, a magazine dedicated to covering the Canadian music scene. I love writing about music because it gives me an excuse to interpret music. This interpretation comes through interviewing artists, seeing live shows, personal experience, research and intuition. 

Festivals are the highlight of the musical experience. I always make a list beforehand of who I want to see. I have expectations of who are “must-see” artists, and write their names in pen. But by the end of the festival, I alway have a new favourite who I wasn’t expecting to blow me away. That sense of discovery and the unexpected make festivals such as Halifax Jazz Festival such an enjoyable experience. 

With that being said, here are my “must-see” shows for the festival.

St. Vincent | The Heavy Blinkers

Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is a larger-than-life character. The records are great, but I hear her live performance is even better. I’m excited to see what her ever-changing hair looks like and I’m excited to see her inspire those in attendance. 

Joshua Van Tassel's Double Tooth

Van Tassel isn’t a flashy character. Rather, he puts all his energy into making good music. From making ambient soundtracks to producing records for other artists (including the fantastic Olympic Symphonium record earlier this year), Van Tassel always amazes. And now he’s providing the soundtrack to the closing party for the festival. Sign me up. 

Bill Frisell GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! | Julian Priester Love, Love with Jerry Granelli

In December, I saw Jerry Granelli perform music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. What stood out the most from that show was how much fun Granelli was having playing the drums, always smiling and making little comments showing how much he loves playing music. With a bill full of jazz legends, this show will be epic. 

Ariane's Festival Blog

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.30.18 AM.pngJazz has a special place in my memory. It conjures the rainy Sunday mornings of my childhood, cold and looming Halifax greyness kept at bay only by the cozy heat of 1930s big band swing music filtering through our house. For me, jazz music is Sunday music: the music that happens when the work is done and youre free to be swept up in whatever will happen. 

But thats just me. Everyone will feel differently about jazz. Why? Because nobody listens to it; they feel it. It works your soul from the inside out, catching you in its frenetic motion until it becomes inextricable from any memory of that place, that time, maybe even that person. Maybe thats why the genre is still going strong, still developing after nearly a hundred years. 

This years festival drives forward with new sounds, new energy, new conceptions of what it means to make jazz music. Think old-meets-new collaborations like the big brass sound of the Jubilee Swing Orchestra with the intimate storytelling of Ben Caplans folk songs. Or the groovy, aptly named, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble joining forces with melodic hip hop poetry of Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def). 

This is music like youve never heard before. And like youve never felt. 

Top Picks:

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble ft. Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def)

Jubilee Swing Orchestra ft Ben Caplan and Carmen Townsend

The Lee Boys

Iain's Festival Blog

Iain_0.jpgHi! My name is Iain Bauer. I’m a student at Acadia, where I run our campus' student newspaper, The Athenaeum. I come from Edmonton, but have fallen in love with the East Coast and Nova Scotia.

I am really looking forward to this festival and the great acts that are going to be playing all week. Live shows are so dependent on the crowd, as well as the performance, and Halifax has some of the best energy that makes a good show into something truly special. 

I love following music and the development of genres. I’m interested in how genres expand, and tracing back their influences. I try to explore this when writing about music as much as I can. I really discovered music when I discovered hip-hop and it was through those artists and their influences that I fell in love with jazz. I am especially excited about the intersections between hip-hop, jazz, and soul - and it will be where these genres merge that you’ll find me this week! 

This year, my top picks are: 

Robert Glasper Experiment 

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble featuring Yasiin Bey

Bettye LaVette.

One more pick has got to be local darlings, The WAYO!

Allison's Festival Blog

Allison-png.jpgHi, I'm Allison. I write and edit various things at The Coast by day, and night. I've also had the pleasure of helping to write the TD Halifax Jazz Festival’s guide for the last three years—it's been an awesome way of stretching, shuffling and shaking up my already loosely defined musical tastes. For these ears, almost anything goes genre-wise. It's more about the corresponding feeling than anything.

That's both the challenge and beauty of writing about music, because what you hear is such a personal, subjective thing. Hopefully my blabbering can help you feel even a little bit of the shows you've missed, or help with day-after reminiscing.

Faced with the cruel task of choosing my top three shows of the festival, I've come up with this:

St. Vincent w/The Heavy Blinkers 

Monday, July 7, Festival Tent, 8pm

My friend/colleague/next-door-neighbour Tara Thorne is calling this the show of the year, and I totally agree with her. Do you know how lucky we are to have Annie Clark AKA St. Vincent playing for us, Halifax? So lucky. She is so talented, and so interesting, so current and so not like the big name concerts that usually roll through town. Hopefully you've prepared yourself by learning her back catalogue. I picture Clark floating onto the stage via a cloud, straight from heaven.

Yasiin Bey w/The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Tuesday, July 8, Festival Tent, 8pm

Yes, I am beyond stoked to see Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def) spit poetry in real life but am even more excited to see him alongside the colossal Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. My festival guide research helped me to fall in love with this powerful band of brothers (literally, eight of them). Hurricane Arthur, don't you dare rain on my parade.

Robert Glasper Experiment w/The Wayo, JR Smith

Friday, July 4, Marquee Ballroom, 10pm

Glasper's collaborated with a long list of admirable artists and won himself a shiny Grammy for a good reason—he's a genius. Do you need another reason to attend? The local side of this lineup is also wonderful. No doubt Halifax's The Wayo and JR Smith will have you beaming Proud-Parent-style. Much dancing, many good vibes.