Week two of the 2023 Winnipeg Jazz Festival expanded the schedule of performance venues while still bringing fantastic music to the free stage in Old Market Square. We got to check out some amazing shows this week by both local and touring bands. Take a look at some of the great things going on at this year’s festival.
The legendary avant-garde jazz group The Sun Ra Arkestra headlined on Tuesday in partnership with the Send + Receive Festival. Founded in 1955, this group has been on the forefront of free jazz since its inception. The group combines big-band swing, space-age jazz, singing, dancing, chanting, bright colours and Afro-pagentry. The band is lead by Maestro Marshall Allen, who joined that band as an alto saxophonist in 1960 and has been leading the band since 1995. The band was nominated for a Grammy in 2020 and continues to tour around the world.
Canadian Jazz Club Series at the Royal Albert Arms
A new feature this year at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival is the Canadian Jazz Club Series at Winnipeg’s classic Royal Albert Arms. This series highlights the best of Canadian jazz featuring two performances each night. Kicking off the series was bassist Marika Galea who was named by the CBC as one of Canada’s top 35 jazz musicians under 35. The second show of the night featured Caity Gyorgy, the Juno Award winning bebop and swing singer. Night two of the series featured pianist/composer Kate Wyatt from Victoria followed by the Juno-nominated Ostara Project showcasing six female leaders of Canadian jazz.
The Cube Free Stage in Old Market Square
Music at The Cube in Old Market Square continued through this week and we had the chance go check out a few more bands there. Chuck Copenace, a Winnipeg-based, Ojibway musician brought his blend of traditional sweat-lodge melodies with jazz, dance and electronica to festival on Wednesday. Thursday saw Toronto drummer Ernesto Cervini and his Juno Award winning band Turboprop take over the afternoon at The Cube. The sextet blends influences likes the Jazz Messengers, Charlie Parker, Claude Debussy, and Radiohead to create their distinct modern sound. A definite highlight of Thursday evening was local pop sensation Ami Cheon who blends R&B with pop and soul music for a seductive, passionate, powerful, and effortlessly sexy live show.