Well, it's officially spring and the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival's 2014 lineup announcement is here to melt the rest of the snow.
Now celebrating its 25th birthday, Winnipeg’s largest downtown music festival will feature nearly 100 performers taking over various city stages, June 12-22. Drawing thousands of concert goers, the live music spans just about every genre, from jazz standards to R&B, hardbop to hip hop, roots and blues to indie rock and electronic pop, latin jazz, and just about everything in between.
"Since this is our 25th anniversary, we definitely wanted our lineup to reflect our history. We achieved that with legends like Ellis Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval," said executive producer Paul Nolin in a release. "At the same time — in the spirit of jazz and the festival itself — we've got a healthy dose of new, cutting edge artists as well."
This year's fest boasts over 50 Manitoba acts in the clubs and theatres and on the outdoor stage. Jazz Fest kicks things off in the heart of the Exchange District with a free opening weekend at Old Market Square, June 12-15. The Cube will feature a diverse line-up, including jazz and soul on Thursday, Latin Jazz on Friday, the wildly popular indie night on Saturday, and closing out with some Sunday night funk.
The opening weekend local line-up includes jazz chanteuse Amber Epp, New Orleans style funk and soul act Dirty Catfish Brass Band, Latin jazz guitarist Marco Castillo & Brazilian Beats, folk/rock band Yes We Mystic, pop singer/songwriter French Press, indie rockers Federal Lights, electronic pop outfits Hana Lu Lu and Vikings, hip hop act The Lytics, vocal trio Collage-a-trois, R&B/soul troupe The Noble Thiefs, and funk festival fave Moses Mayes featuring Maiko Watson.
Other locals hitting the stages include 2014 JUNO nominees Erin Propp & Larry Roy, indie rock outfit Les Jupes, Mexican prog rockers Mariachi Ghost, turntablist Tim Hoover, surf rockers The Catamounts, roots trio Red Moon Road, crooner and pianist Doug Edmond, guitarists Greg Lowe and Keith Price, vocalists Monika Wall and Grace Hrabi, looping pedal guru Rayannah, singer/songwriters Renée Lamoureux, Don Amero, Ingrid Gatin, and Brooke Palsson, ambient electronic jazz act Gabrielle & Architect, and many more.
The Theatre Series welcomes a diverse group of international headliners and marquee names, including R&B superstar John Legend, tinnovative indie queen St. Vincent, Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, blues legend James Cotton, rapper Shad, New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis, and the return of expat Curtis Nowosad.
Jazz Fest's groundbreaking Club Series features New York rapper and producer Le1f, the 60s pop and soul of Lady, folk project Timber Timbre, UK-born electronic act Quantic, hip hop act Killer Mike, and more.
For those looking to connect with festival artists to boost their music skills, Jazz Fest also offers free workshops. Taking place at the Rachel Browne Theatre, the TD Jazz Labs will feature evening sessions and talks by the likes of Jane Bunnett, Chip Crawford, Watermelon Slim, Rick Estrin, and James Carter.