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2019 Guelph Jazz Festival: an immersive week of live music and conversation

By Scott Thomson

The 2019 Guelph Jazz Festival (September 11-15) once again brings a wide range of world-class creative music to the city. The event features a series of ten ticketed concerts (including five multiple bills), free concerts on September 13-14 in Market Square, an educational colloquium (convened by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation), and the ‘Around Town’ program featuring live music in local restaurants, bars, and other establishments.

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Maracatu Mar Aberto, PSK

Highlights of the ticketed concerts include the remarkable multidisciplinary solo show Nine Doors by New York composer-vocalist-dancer-multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu; Tomas Fujiwara’s 7 Poets Trio; Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey & Hank Roberts; Brodie West Quintet; the transatlantic chamber improvisation quartet NAIL (comprised of two duos – Montreal’s Mercury (Lori Freedman & Nicolas Caloia) and Amsterdam’s Duo Baars Henneman); Karuna: Hamid Drake & Adam Rudolph percussion duo; the Montreal duo of Malcolm Goldstein & Rainer Wiens; and the Argentinian trio of Paula Shocron, Guillermo Gregorio & Pablo Díaz.

Additionally, the ticketed concert series features masterful players of instruments seldom heard at anything called a ‘jazz festival’. On September 14, a ‘pipe-themed’ double-bill presents Breton bagpipe virtuoso Erwan Keravec, and Berlin-based Canadian John Kameel Farah on the wonderful Cassavant pipe organ (as well as electronics) at St. George’s Church. Farah also plays an intimate harpsichord concert on September 12 at the downtown venue, Silence. September 13 features a Royal City Church triple-bill of soloists on instruments more commonly associated with various folk and popular traditions: Baltimore pedal-steel guitarist, Susan Alcorn; Nova Scotian jaw-harp specialist, chik white; and Guelph’s own master of the hurdy-gurdy (vielle-à-roue), Ben Grossman.

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Brodie West Quintet.

A late-night concert on September 12 at 10C Shared Space (42 Carden St., Fourth Floor Gallery) features The Titillators led by Ryan Driver on his remarkable street-sweeper-bristle bass – an actual tine of metal that he flicks off the side of a block of wood in a bewildering approximation of jazz ‘walking basslines.’ He is joined by three percussionists plus two synthesiser players (one of whom whistles the melodies!) to play jazz standards in a style that is experimental, psychedelic, and consummately joyful.

The free programming in Market Square starts in the evening of Friday September 13 and sees the return of the Friday Night Street Music Party. After its glowing success in 2018, the Street Music party will once again transform Carden Street into a street-music carnival featuring four exceptional groups playing all-acoustic, ‘human-powered’ dance music in different styles: The Anishinaabeg powwow drum-and-voice band, Chippewa Travellers; Montreal’s hip-hop fanfare collective, Urban Science Brass Band; Toronto Afro-Brazilian percussion powerhouse, Maracatu Mar Aberto; and Toronto New Orleans-style brass band with deep Guelph roots, Eighth Street Orchestra.

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Jen Shyu. Photo credit: Caterina Di Perri

On Saturday September 14, the Market Square programming returns to the temporary stage and features eight acts from 1pm to midnight, including the return of the Urban Science Brass Band; local afrobeat-indie favourites, Minotaurs; Toronto klezmer-rock-jazz fusion band, Atlas Revolt; sweet, joyful jazz by the Toronto-Ottawa-New York quartet Way North; Montreal’s Eyevin Trio playing the music of Thomas Chapin; plus two community collaborations: The Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble with special guest, Marianne Trudel, and the KidsAbility ‘Play Who You Are’ Ensemble with special guest, Richard Burrows.

In addition to this programming, the Guelph Jazz Festival also features a free educational colloquium which includes artist talks, a workshop, lecture-demonstrations, interviews, and a book launch event.

The Guelph Jazz Festival encourages Guelphites as well as regional, national and international visitors to enjoy and celebrate live creative music during this five-day event. Visit www.guelphjazzfestival.com or call 519-763-4952 for tickets and more information.

Daily Schedule: https://guelphjazzfestival.com/2019/schedule/

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