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Soul alive at JazzEast's New Standard

1377123_424824437623595_987700358_n_1.jpgSoul music is alive at this month's edition of The New Standard presented by JazzEast. Roxy and the Underground Soul Sound and the NSCC Music Arts band Funk Your Dreams takes the stage Wednesday, February 19, for a concert that promises to get people up dancing.

"We all just really love performing and making a good time for everyone," states Giverny "Roxy" Mercier, lead vocalist of the group Roxy and the Underground Soul Sound. "A couple of us were once a part of the NSCC ensembles bands. We are really excited to hit the stage with the NSCC's Funk You Dreams "

Inspired by the sound sounds of Miles Davis, R'n'B and hip-hop, Roxy and the Underground Soul Sound formed in 2013 when Mercier and bassist Ian Bennett started writing music together. Soon a band was formed featuring, along with Mercier and Bennett, Andrew MacKelvie (saxophone), Adrian Dunn (guitar), Matt Gallant (drums) and Jason Keddy (piano/organ).

Opening the night is NSCC Music Arts Program student band Funk Your Dreams.

JazzEast 's concert series The New Standard showcases local musicians on the Company House stage. Doors open at 8 PM and shows starts at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $8 or free with a JazzEast membership and can be purchase online or at the door. All proceeds from the concert go to the performing musicians.

For more information and to get your tickets visit here.

JazzEast announces 5th Out Like A Lion festival lineup

2014 Out Like A Lion (422x450).jpgJazzEast keeps the buzz and community spirit strongly felt during the Halifax Jazz Festival rolling all year long. Say goodbye to winter with the roar of Out Like A Lion, March 26-29, 2014.

The fifth annual winter jazz festival starts 8 PM Wednesday, March 26, with the quirky, high energy Banda Magda at The Company House. This New York based four-piece, led by Greek-born singer, accordionist, film scorer and composer Magda Giannikou (who has caught the attention of everyone from the Kronos Quartet to Louis CK), hits the stage with their blend of Greek dance rhythms, French pop, jazz manouche and more.  Sung in six different languages, their songs hearken back to the golden age of Brazilian bossa and the lush chic of vintage French pop, all while drawing on the band’s global background. Some members of Banda Magda will be familiar to Halifax; in 2009 bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and percussionist Keita Ogawa performed at the Halifax Jazz Festival, and returned later that year to execute a live recording with The Secret Music Project at the Sonic Temple. Local duo Magnolia (Leanne Hoffman and Scott MacLean) kicks off the evening with their unique blend of jazz, blues and folk.

JazzEast throws a curve into Out Like A Lion programming with a Bowl-a-thon on Thursday, March 27. JazzEast invites teams of four or five to get out of the gutter, get pledges and take part in the ultimate bowling league. JazzEast will keep score and there will be prizes for the best dressed athletes, the highest and lowest scores, and more. A listening track featuring a sneak peak of the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival artists will accompany the games. Proceeds from the event will support JazzEast’s education initiatives.

Friday features eclectic sounds that are both new and reminiscent of the past. Jeff Torbert’s E.S.T. Tribute band pays homage to the 90’s piano trio known for blurring the lines between classical, rock, pop and techno. The newly formed band The Final Chapter of Our Lives, featuring Andrew McKelvie, Andrew Jackson and Sam Erskin opens the night. Friday’s show starts at 8 PM at the newly established café/bar, The Nook, located at 2116 Gottingen Street.

To close the small but mighty festival JazzEast spices things up with a Mardi Gras inspired masquerade. Though a month shy of New Orleans’ true Mardi Gras, this dance event featuring Gypsophilia and The Booty Boppin’ Brass Band will bring just as much heat. JazzEast patrons have been reminiscent of the Brazilian Carnaval, which hasn’t been held in Halifax for several years now. This year JazzEast brings the party back, with a New Orleans twist.

Out Like A Lion individual show tickets start at $10, and full festival passes are available here for $35.

Out Like A Lion: Sarah Burwash

Sarah Burwash.JPGEach year JazzEast commissions an artist to create a lion image for our winter jazz festival Out Like a Lion. This year we are pleased to showcase the work of emerging artist Sarah Burwash.

Burwash grew up in the small mountain town Rossland located in British Columbia. She graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2009, and relocated to Halifax in 2011. Since then she has immersed herself in the local visual arts scene showcasing her work throughout the city, working at Eyelevel Gallery, and completing her first media art piece through the Centre for Art Tapes scholarship program. She has participated in residencies throughout Nova Scotia, and in British Columbia, Ontario, Colorado, Yukon, Michigan and Norway. Her work has been praised by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, and last spring her first book, The Far Woods, was published by Conundrum Press.

2014 Out Like A Lion (422x450).jpgBurwash works in a variety of media including watercolour, drawing, collage, clay, video and installation.

We invited her to create a lion that is fierce and regal, and says goodbye to winter with a ROAR. We think she did just that in her lovely watercolour illustration.

"The lion comes to you in the night, representing assertiveness, personal power and courage," Burwash describes her interpretation of the lion. "Under a star speckled sky, in the crash of the sea, the lion shows its self and provides strength."

Currently Burwash is completing a thematic residency at the Banff Centre called “Winterjourney". Spring will be busy for her with a solo show at UAS Gallery in Calgary, Saskatoon's AKA artist-run centre billboard project, and a residency at Point Pleasant Park in the Gatekeepers Lodge this spring.

For more information about Sarah Burwash visit her online at sarahburwash.com or check out this interview in the latest edition of Visual Arts News.


Celebrate African Heritage Month with Music

IMG_6477.jpgCelebrate African Heritage Month with live music at local libraries. Listeners of all ages are invited to attend free concerts presented in partnership with JazzEast and Halifax Public Libraries.

Enjoy the rich deep voice of Corey Adams Saturday, February 1, at the Halifax North Memorial Library. As the son of the late Charles 'Bucky' Adams, since childhood Adams has immersed himself in music.  Adams is known for his lively and engaging performances. Enjoy his interpretations of songs by well loved blues and jazz legends

Hot after the release of her debut album The Breakup EP  (now available Samm Splash.JPGon iTunes), emerging R&B musician Samm Splash will be performing at the Alderney Gate Public Library  stacks Saturday, February 15. Growing up in Dartmouth and with roots in Cherry Brook and Beechville, Splash is proud of her heritage. Expect to be dazzled by Splash's unique voice and smooth sound.

Both performances take place at 2 PM. The Halifax North Memorial Library is located at 2285 Gottingen Street; The Alderney Gate Public Library is situated in the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal.

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

Artist Profile: Tanya Tagaq

tanya_tagaq_2_of_21.jpgJazzEast got to speak with the very busy Tanya Tagaq on her upcoming In The Dead Of Winter show in Halifax, Tanya Tagaq: Nanook of the North

JazzEast: How did you learn to throat sing?
Tanya Tagaq: I taught myself to throat sing initially, but have had many tips and ideas from fellow throat singers as well.

JE: What drew you to combining traditional with contemporary sounds?
TT: I enjoy contemporary art. I enjoy music, and I love throat-singing. It just seemed like the right path.

JE: You are no stranger to Halifax, being an alumnus of NSCAD. Were you a part of the music scene here at that time?
Not at all, other than having great friends who were producing and performing a lot of music at the time.

JE: You studied visual art. How did that influence your music?
The chosen medium for expression got blurred. One idea can translate into many mediums. I think that the root source of my concepts seem to be most easily expressed through sound. The same concept would seem very laborious in carving or painting.

JE: Why create this soundtrack to Nanook of the North?
For various reasons. Culture has changed quite a bit in the last 100 years. To apply the imagery from the past to the present day reaction from a modern day Inuit person creates an interesting commentary.

JE: What are you hoping audiences will take away from the performance?
Whatever they need to take away from it.

Thanks for chatting with us Tanya. We are very much looking forward to Friday, Janruary 24. Tickets are available at www.dal.ca

March heats up with a New Orleans Dance Party

mardi_gras.jpgEscape the cold winter weather and dance all night long at JazzEast’s Mardi Gras Masquerade on Saturday, March 29, at the Olympic Community Centre. Featuring Gypsophilia and The Booty Boppin’ Brass Band, JazzEast’s version of this globally celebrated cultural event is later in the year than traditional mardi gras celebrations, but will bring just as much heat. JazzEast patrons have been reminiscent of the Brazilian Carnaval, which hasn’t been held in Halifax for several years now. This year JazzEast brings the party back, with a New Orleans twist. 

The masquerade will cap off JazzEast’s fifth Out Like A Lion winter jazz festival, March 26-29. Audiences can enjoy dancing and additional Mardi Gras inspired activities including a contest for best mask.

The mask is a traditional part of Mardi Gras celebrations. Beginning as early as the 18th century mask were worn to allow people to escape society and class constraints. With the mask, carnival goers were free to be whomever they wanted to be, and mingle with whatever class they desired to mingle with.

No stranger to the masquerade party, Gypsophilia blends music from the fringes of history including gypsy jazz, klezmer, funk, classical and bebop. With their mix of serious musicianship, humour and showmanship Gypsophilia is capable of enchanting a sit-down crowd one moment, and whipping people into a dancing, clapping, singing frenzy the next.

Local trumpet player Mike Cowie starts off the evening with his Booty Boppin’ Brass Band. This band has the celebration style of the East Coast with the instrumentation of traditional twentieth century New Orleans jazz. The groove is kept funky, loud and lively, yet more intricate than typical New Orleans jazz groups.

Finally, members of Zuppa Theatre Company will be on hand to emcee the evening. Known for their inspired and original performances they will certainly add to the theatrical vivaciousness of the evening.

Tickets to Mardi Gras Masquerade are $20 general admission and $18 for JazzEast members, and are available here or by calling (902) 429-2225.  Doors open at 8:30 PM and the show starts at 9:30 PM. Stay tuned for the full line-up of Out Like A Lion available January 28, 2014.

American jazz legend Julian Priester joins JazzEast's 2014 CMW

pub_profile_11-09_Priester_2_by_DSheehan.gifAmerican jazz legend Julian Priester joins JazzEast as special guest faculty member for JazzEast's 2014 Creative Music Workshop (CMW).

"Julian Priester is an international musical treasure and a pioneer in teaching improvised music, " states Jerry Granelli, faculty head and CMW program founder. "He's a jazz lineage holder on the same level as Coltrane, Miles and Monk, and his career spans Sun Ra to Duke Ellington to Hancock."

Priester's career has spanned over six decades. Born in 1935 in Chicago to a Baptist minister father, Priester was immersed in music from an early age. As a teen in the 50s he relocated to New York, and played with blues and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, and more. In 1969 he joined Duke Ellington's big band, and in 1970 left that to join Herbie Hancock's fusion sextet. He has played as a sideman by albums by Max Roach, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Charles Mingus.  

In the late 1970s Priester settled in Seattle, teaching at Cornish faculty until his retirement in 2011. Priester has continued to perform as both a bandleader and sideman including tours with Sun Ra, Gary Peacock, the Dave Holland Quintet, Lester Bowie’s New York Organ Ensemble, and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. His compositions have been recorded by Sun Ra, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Philly Jo Jones, Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Clifford Jordan, and Dave Holland.

Now in its 18th year, JazzEast's CMW gathers renowned musicians and educators from across North America. Along with Priester, 2014 CMW core faculty includes Halifax drummer Jerry Granelli and pianist Tim Crofts, Toronto saxophonist Dani Oore, Calgary bassist Simon Fisk, New York City electric bassist J. Anthony Granelli, and Berlin guitarist Christian Kogel.

Running concurrently are two program streams, the Core Program and Creative Process. The Creative Process, running half-days July 5-11, is open to artists and musicians from all disciplines who are interested in deepening their practice but cannot commit to a full day program. The Core Program, taking place July 3-12, is suitable for artists who want to take their practice to the next level through improvisation and collaboration. Dancer Susanne Chui and musician Erin Costelo, with special guest clinicians from the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival line-up, will present special hands on improvisation clinics. In the past the Core Program has concluded with an ensemble performance; however, this year participants will present works in progress throughout the TD Halifax Jazz Festival at 1313 Hollis Street.

Sessions will take place at the Sacred Heart School of Halifax, 5820 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS. Students of the Core CMW program receive a free All Events pass and Creative Process students receive a free Festival Tent pass to the TD Halifax Jazz Festival.  Tuition for the Core CMW program is $395; register by February 28 and receive $100 off. For more information, including program information and registration visit here.

Photo credit: Daniel Sheehan

May your holiday be filled with joy, music and eggnog!

2013 JazzEast Christmas Card-page-001 (362x450).jpgThe JazzEast office will be closed for the holidays, and reopen Monday, January 6, 2014.

To get the spirit of the season and wrap up a successful year, staff made some delicious nog. Here's the not so secret recipe:

1 dozen eggs, separate
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 1/4 cups (or more) of sugar
1 L milk
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 L of heavy cream
Rum or bourbon

Beat together the egg yolks and salt in a large mixing bowl, slowly adding 1 1/2 cups of the sugar. Continue beating until thick and pale. Stir in the milk and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl beat the edd whites until foamy and add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Continue beating until stiff and all the sugar has been incorporated. In another bowl whip the cream until stiff. Now fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture and then fold into the whipped cream. Taste and add your choice of alcohol, and more sugar if necessary. Served with nutmeg on top.

May your holiday be filled with joy and music... and eggnog!

Artwork by Sydney Smith.

JazzEast partners with IDOW to bring Tanya Tagaq

tagaq.jpgJazzEast is excited to partner with In The Dead Of Winter festival (IDOW) to bring Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq to Halifax. Tanya Tagaq: Nanook of the North takes place on Friday, January 24 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

In the Dead of Winter is an acoustic-based festival that is held annually the last weekend of January in Halifax. It aims to show the diversity of acoustic music and give opportunities to up-and-coming musicians from Halifax, Canada and the USA. The 2014 edition runs January 23-25.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for IDOW and JazzEast audiences to come together and have their collective minds blown,” states Laura “Lulu” Healy, Artistic Director of JazzEast. “Tanya is out of this world, and this particular project is stunning to say the least."

Originally from Nunavut, Tagaq has made her mark on the Canadian music scene, as well as internationally, pairing with talent such as Iceland’s Bjork, among others. Tagaq also studied visual art at the NSCAD University. The concert Tanya Tagaq: Nanook of the North creates a live soundtrack for the classic 1922 silent film Nanook of the North. Tagaq’s haunting throat singing and improvisation bring new light to this infamous film.

Opening the night will be local jazz aficionado Sageev Oore. Known also for combining music and silent film, Sageev will bring his own flavour of improvisation to the stage.

This concert is open to all ages. Doors open at 7:30 PM, show starts at 8:00 PM. Tickets are available now at the Rebecca Cohn box office or online.


Thank you

DSC_8192.jpgOur winter fundraiser Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas was a huge success thanks to the participation of the artists (Jerry Granelli, Simon Fisk and Chris Gestrin), many volunteers, and the many businesses and individuals who made donations to the silent auction, including Alliance Française, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Artie Irwin, Capoeira Halifax / Ross Burns, Clare Bridge Jewelry, Danielle Bezaire / Hydrostone Osteopathy, Dartmouth Sportsplex, Emco Sumner Plumbing, Fireworks Gallery, Forward Music Group, Fred Fiander, Halifax Cycle Gallery, Harold McGee, In the Dead of Winter, Jani-King, Porter Airlines, KEW, Lang Optometry, Liquid Gold, Maritime Beauty, Megan Leslie, MP, Michael Joudrey, Nancy Stevens, Neptune Theatre, Nova Tile & Marble, Old Orchard Inn, OneLight Theatre, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Peak Audio, Scotia Fuels, Scotia Festival of Music, Shaune Warren, Shirley Levene, Stephen Osler, Symphony Nova Scotia, TC Transcontinental, The Lord Nelson Hotel, Venus Envy and White Point Beach Resort.

Support for Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas was provided by Dr. Piano, Global Convention Services, Spatz Theatre Society, and  Dustin and Jorin LindenSmith. JazzEast also acknowledges the ongoing support of Canadian Heritage and the province of Nova Scotia.

All proceeds from the annual fundraiser support JazzEast's ongoing music education programs, such as Halifax JazzLabs, Creating Creative Listeners and the annual summer intensive music camp, the Creative Music Workshop.