Over a hundred acts perform at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival annually, and this year is no different. From June 21 to July 1, you can expect to see a wide spectrum of artists taking to the stage, from the greats like Herbie Hancock to local jazz combos. The lineup this year shows promise across the board, but it can be overwhelming to flick through the full schedule. We’re making it easier! Here’s a list of five must-see shows, in no particular order:
Date: Tuesday, June 25 at 8:00pm
Location: Performance Works
Price: $29.49 | Ticket link
With a career in making music for children’s television that spans decades, many of BGC’s synth records were made in obscurity, only to be recovered, appraised and re-released by crate diggers like Invisible City. This other-worldly CanCon by the Maritimes-based musician will change your ears. We’re so lucky that he’ll be playing the jazz fest this year!
The Comet is Coming
Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 at 9:00pm
Location: The Imperial
Price: $28.52 | Ticket link
You may recognize Shabaka Hutchings from his appearance leading Sons of Kemet at last year’s jazz fest, and some might call him a keystone of jazz coming out of London. This saxophonist also leads the improvisational trio The Comet Is Coming, who will play at the Imperial on June 21. They’re synonymous with words like “astral,” and “transcendental” for their nod to cosmic jazz and concepts of the future. Their main call-to-action for you is to “reconnect with the energy of the Lifeforce in hope of manifesting higher realities in new constructs.”
Elisa Thorn’s HUE
Date: Saturday, June 22 at 1:30pm
Location: Downtown - Robson Stage
HUE is led by local harpist Elisa Thorn, featuring vocalist Laura Swankey, Justin Devries on drums and James Meger on bass. It offers a colourful (no pun intended) array of forward-thinking tunes that explore what the harp can be and do, and I highly encourage you to listen to their sophomore release, Flowers For Your Heart. If by then you aren’t convinced to come, this show is free!
Date: Saturday, June 29 at 9:30pm
Location: The Ironworks
Price: ~$25 | Ticket link
The poet and multi-dimensional Camea Ayewa (aka Moor Mother) returns to jazz fest this year as part of Irreversible Entanglements, a group borne out of protest in 2015. Ignited with a free jazz spirit, this group is grounded by Ayewa’s weighty vocals and lyrics. Though they’ve been highly regarded by the tastemakers at Wire Magazine, NPR, and The Quietus, this music is far from niche, with a free jazz spirit that gives us all much to grip onto. What is liberation music in 2019? These folks play a part in shaping it.
The Watermill Project
Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 12:00pm
Location: Granville Island Public Market
Sara Kim’s Watermill Project takes traditional South Korean songs and filters them through modern jazz stylings. This roster of local talent features Sara Kim’s vocals, Dan Reynolds on keys, Eli Davidovici on bass, and Mili Hong on drums, and their songs give us a taste of what it means to re-visit, reclaim and re-imagine traditional culture through music.
View the full TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival calendar here