Jazz Fest returns to downtown Brampton

Following the success of the inaugural festival in 2017, the non-profit company B-Jazzed returns to downtown Brampton on Sept. 7 and 8 with the second annual World of Jazz Festival

“The word “jazz” has been interpreted and defined in many different ways over the last century and a lot of that has been due to multicultural influences on the music due to its dissemination all over the world,” explains B-Jazzed co-founder and artistic director Carmen Spada. “That is what we have built our festival on, especially here in Brampton, where multiculturalism is the fabric of our city.”

This year, the World of Jazz Festival will host a total of 14 ensembles, featuring more than 90 musicians on three stages over two days. Of these, well over 50 per cent of the ensembles are either originally from or residing in Brampton. The collection of artists will showcase a wide variety of jazz interpretations, including zydeco, blues, funk, jazz fusion, latin jazz, gypsy jazz, west and east Indian fusions, straight-ahead swinging standards and even tap dancers at the jam session.

The festival kicks of on Sept. 7, with a special opening-night concert at The Rose Theatre. Renowned Canadian pianist Michael Kaeshammer will perform a mix of boogie-woogie, jazz, and New Orleans inspired music.

“I’m excited to come back to Brampton,” says Kaeshammer. “I love that theatre.”

Kaeshammer is bringing his six-piece band featuring three horns, bass, drums and piano. This is the group used to record his most recent work, Something New, in New Orleans. The music promises to be upbeat and full of the boogie-woogie flavour he is known for.

“That’s a tag I’m okay with,” he says. “Boogie-woogie means dancing. I’m not a jazz-police kind of person. Music has to connect and be fun, for me it’s jazz, because that’s just what comes out.”

Kaeshammer’s idea of jazz is less about technique and rules and much more about sound and feel. He cites his father, a blues pianist, as his greatest musical influence and thinks of music as the glue that holds people together.

“Jazz is very social,” he said. “When it started being taught in fancy schools and used as background music, that wasn’t very good for jazz.”

One of the more interesting promises for his Brampton festival set is Kaeshammer’s tradition of working without a set list.

“I like going out with out one,” he explains. “It’s fun and we get to react to the audience vibe, but it also means I don’t how much will be from the last record or the one before or even from our catalogue at all.”

Playing a show without a setlist was reinforced for him by his frequent tour work in China, where he plays several shows nearly every year. Because many in his Far East audiences had never been to a jazz concert before, he often felt the need to radically alter his set to find a way to capture their, sometimes confused, attention.

“It gives the show some kind of deeper meaning besides just, ‘this is what I can do’,” he explains. “The show becomes a conversation where I don’t know all the answers yet.”

On Sept. 8, the festival is in full swing, with stages at three locations near the Farmers Market towards Garden Square. The Long & McQuade Zone on Vivian Lane will run from 1-8 p.m. Dinner Jazz will be featured at J. Red & Co. at 7 p.m. The very popular late night jam sessions will feature house bands on both floors at Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Bar, starting at 11 p.m. All of the day’s programming is free to the public.

In addition to the festival, B-Jazzed has curated a rigorous schedule of performances and education throughout the city this year, including Jazz @ J. Red & Co. on Sunday evenings; Joe’s Jazz Jam at Wendel Clark’s on Friday evenings; the BL Studio Series, featuring monthly recording studio clinics at the Chinguacousy Branch Library; and the upcoming Sessions @ Studio 2, featuring some of Canada’s best jazz musicians in a monthly concert series starting in October, in partnership with The Rose Theatre.

“The amount of opportunities that we are creating for professional, hobbyist and student musicians in the City of Brampton, as well as the enthusiastic audiences which support them, is something that B-Jazzed is proud to have championed and delivering on a weekly basis,” says Joe Asensio, B-Jazzed co-founder and executive director.

Tickets for the Michael Kaeshammer performance on Sept. 7 at the Rose Theatre are available here.

More information about B-Jazzed and the World of Jazz Festival can be found here.

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