Downtown Jazz Weekend is one of the most highly anticipated events of the jazz festival, and a weekend not to be missed! The weekend takes place June 24-25 on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery/Robson Square. This year, visitors will be treated to a new redesign of the north side Georgia plaza, that will allow a bigger footprint, improved sightlines, and a wonderful listening experience. The new Downtown Jazz site design also includes an 8’x15’ LED screen adjacent to the Georgia Stage that provides a greater viewing experience for audiences by projecting close ups of the performers on stage.
Here are some of the highlights of the weekend:
30 FREE SHOWS!
Yep you heard that right! It does not cost a dime to see any of the performances, the only money you will be spending are on food (and drinks of course).
Some of the stellar acts performing are:
SAMMY MILLER AND THE CONGREGATION:
Sammy Miller and the Congregation is a brassy, stomping ‘joyful jazz’ band that resembles a New Orleans street parade. This young group wants to “put the generosity back into jazz” and create a community through their music. Sammy Miller is a GRAMMY nominated drummer/vocalist. His congregation features Alphonso Horne trumpet, Ben Flocks tenor sax, Sam Crittenden trombone, David Linard keys, and John Snow bass.
If this is not a joyful, jazz band then I don’t know what is:
They are devoted to introducing the younger generation to jazz by having fun with jazz, and they demonstrate that in this video. Their charismatic and theatrical presence is endearing and a presence you want to see live!
Sammy Miller and the Congregation perform Saturday June 24th on the Georgia Stage at 5:15 PM.
Nik West knows how to bring the funk. This girl is so cool that she received validation from Prince. Prince claimed: “Nik West has great stage presence, she inspires me in the same way that Sheila E, and Rosie did”. In my opinion, I think Nik West is very deserving of her critical acclaim- she reminds me of Prince himself. She commands the stage in the same manner as Prince, dressed in flamboyant, bright costumes. She is a master at her guitar-playing alike Prince. She even sings in the same bright, falsetto as Prince. What is more, she wears a bass clef on her head, in symbolization of her bass-playing. How bad-ass!
Nik West has worked for artists such as Dave Stewart, and Prince, and has been featured on the show, Glee. She has shared the stage with John Mayer, Sugarland, Macy Gray, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic and Orianthi. She has also appeared on the cover of numerous music/bass publications. In June 2016, she joined Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Slash as a cover girl for American Musical Magazine. On stage she is an explosive ball of energy, slappin da bass, all while singing and dancing simultaneously. Check her out in action:
Nik West performs Sunday June 25 on the Georgia Stage at 5:15 PM.
THE BOOM BOOMS:
Local favourites, The Boom Booms, are another one of the special gems performing at Downtown Jazz. The band is a fusion of soul, funk, afro-beat, reggae, R&B and Latin vibes that will get you up on your feet and dancing. The group consists of brothers Aaron Ross (lead vocals) and Sean Ross (keys), Tom Van Deursen (guitar), Geordie Hart (bass), and Theo Vincent (drums). Aside from their personal musical endeavors, The Boom Booms have hosted a music festival called "The East Van Summer Jam", where the proceeds have gone to the bands nonprofit, Music Tree.
The Boom Booms perform Sunday June 25 on the Georgia Stage at 7:30 PM.
Although there are many established bands playing at Downtown Jazz, there will also be student jazz bands playing!
In addition to the great performances running from noon to 9 pm, this event is family-friendly, there will be food trucks, artisan markets, a large viewing screen, and two licensed bistros!
Come have a beer, enjoy some live music, and party with us at Downtown Jazz June 24-June 25 on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery/Robson Square!