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26. May. 2017

Jazz Luminaries at the Festival!

Having a jazz master perform at your Festival is an honour. Having multiple legendary artists grace your Festival stages is a cause for unbridled celebration.
The Jazz Masters Bring Thrilling Music!


So, look who’s coming to town—Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Branford Marsalis—all musical giants whose accomplishments speak volumes.

Let’s start with Kenny Barron.

A longtime favourite pianist of mine, Kenny has complete command of his instrument. The Los Angeles Times calls him “one of the top jazz pianists in the world.”

No kidding!

Over the years, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of hearing Barron perform as a soloist and with a band, both as leader and a sideman on numerous occasions. He swings like crazy on bop tunes and standards, brings an elegant lyricism to ballads and originals, and invigorates Latin fare with infectious rhythms. Kenny is the real deal, an undisputed keyboard heavyweight with more than 40 albums as a leader. He’s worked with many of the greats from Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Haynes to Regina Carter and Dave Holland. A trip to the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver is a must! 

Ron Carter

It took a long time but I finally managed to see the legendary Ron Carter perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival two years ago. There he was, playing in a duo setting with guitarist Pat Metheny, who wore a sports jacket rather than his customary striped shirt out of respect for the classy and older Carter. Hundreds of my jazz albums at home feature Ron Carter; he’s among the most revered accompanists of all time and quite possibly the most recorded bassist in jazz history (1000+ sessions). From the seminal Miles Davis Quintet of the mid to late 1960s to work with Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, Herbie Hancock and more, his prodigious technique is a wonder to behold. For his Vancouver visit he’s featured with the emerging young piano wiz Emmet Cohen and his trio. Get there early!

Here he is with Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham. Dig!

Branford Marsalis

New Orleans conjures exciting panoply of images for people. For jazz aficionados it’s home to a slew of brilliant musicians. One of the most prominent of these is saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Growing up in the rich environment of the Big Easy Branford was drawn to music at an early age. By the time he hit college he was working with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers alongside his brother Wynton. Soon after, he joined Wynton’s Quintet and then in 1986 formed his own band playing original music with soaring melodies and expressive forms. Along the way, he’s worked with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, and served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno. Lately, Branford is frequently heard with symphony orchestras including those in Chicago, Detroit, and New York.

On June 28 he debuts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the Orpheum with a mixed classical and jazz program.

Branford Marsalis, Ron Carter, and Kenny Barron—three jazz masters well worth celebrating at this summer’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival!

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