The rest of the fest

Festival offers more jazz than any sane fan could handle

Next week the 30-year-old Calgary Jazz Festival kicks off. Reinvented in 2004 it continues to pulls in huge out-of-town acts and has an impressive roster of local luminaries. Jazz is everywhere; you can choose from venues ranging from the Jack Singer Concert Hall to various clubs and theatres all over town. It all starts Monday June 22 with a gala concert at the Jack Singer with New Orleans pianist and singer Allen Toussaint joined by special guests the Dirty Dozen Brass Band . Toussaint who has worked with famed talents like Lee Dorsey Dr. John Paul McCartney and most recently Elvis Costello is sure to burn the place up.

That’s only the start of the festival. The Jack Singer will feature James Cotton and Mose Allison Branford Marsalis and The Monterey Quartet throughout the rest of the week. If you’re looking for smaller settings like Beat Niq or Cantos or mid-size venues like the Martha Cohen Theatre you’ll find ample entertainment almost every night of the week. On Tuesday June 23 Beat Niq will feature Yannick Rieu described by Downbeat Magazine as “one of the most promising sax players in the world.” On Thursday June 25 don’t miss Juno Award-winning jazz bassist Brandi Disterheft at the Beat Niq. The following night Amanda Tosoff’s quartet takes to the same stage.

You can pack in more than one gig each night as you move from Cantos to Beat Niq to the Cohen and Quincy’s . On Saturday June 27 for example Marilyn Lerner’s Ugly Beauties with Matt Brubeck and Nick Fraser play an 11 p.m. gig at Beat Niq. The same night John Abercrombie and special guests play the Distillery at Quincy’s with their first set starting at 10 p.m.

You’ve got to check out the Martha Cohen Theatre and Cantos during the week of the fest. Cantos is hosting the Jean Pierre Zanella Quartet on Wednesday June 24 (7:30 p.m. start) a band cited by Downbeat Magazine as “one of the best groups of the year.” The next night Cantos features the Joel Miller Quartet .

Speaking of quartets be certain to catch the Monterey Quartet playing at the Singer. How often do you get to see Dave Holland Chris Potter and Gonzalo Rubalcaba on the same stage? The group’s drummer alone Eric Harland has performed with the like s of Betty Carter Joe Henderson and McCoy Tyner. Don’t miss this.

The Martha Cohen Theatre will be bursting with nightly gigs too. An incredible performance from Hiromi’s Sonicbloom featuring jazz pianist Hiromi is slated for Wednesday so check out her group’s electronic experimentations. You may have seen Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Hugh Fraser in Calgary or Banff before but if you haven’t or even if you have you owe it to yourself to see Fraser with the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation Band . Fraser’s band plays a double bill with jazz pianist Amina Figarova on Thursday night at the Martha Cohen. By week’s end the Cohen will feature Brazilian vocalist Joyce Moreno making her Calgary debut. She’ll be joined by special guest PianOrquestra an avant-garde use of a single piano played by five musicians.

In case you’re thinking that’s all the venues think again. The Jubilee Auditorium will feature the awesome talent of King Sunny Ade and the African Beats . Roxanne Potvin plays the Wild Rose Brewery Taproom on Tuesday night and Michael Kaeshammer has a gig at the Grand Theatre. To say that jazz is everywhere during jazz fest week for the best of Calgary’s venues is not an exaggeration.