Whether it’s Roberta Gambarini’s skilled vocal technique or the powerhouse vocals of Morgan James, Maya Rae’s chops beyond her years or Macy Gray’s raspy, soulful edge… each of these singers have a special talent that is worth talking about… and they are all playing the jazz festival!
Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the powerhouse vocalists and what you can expect from each performance:
Friday, June 22, 7:30 & 9:30pm
Hailing from Italy, the international singer has been described as a “true successor to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae”. Roberta grew up listening to jazz music and was inspired by many of the jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Bille Holiday, and more. She got her start in music at the age of 17, performing in Italian jazz clubs, but she got her big break after she moved to the US in 1998, and placed third in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Vocals competition. Shortly after, she met her mentor James Moody, and Benny Carter. Since then she has toured with many others, including the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, and her own trio. Her album, Easy to Love, has received a Grammy nomination. Roberta is known for meticulously sculpting her vocals and having great vocal control, among other attributes. Roberta Gambarini will perform with a stellar band consisting of Eric Gunnison on piano, Neil Swainson on bass and Emanuele Cisi on tenor saxophone. Thanks to Il Centro, the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver for co-presenting this show. MORE INFO
Sunday, June 24, 8pm
Morgan James has got soul. She has performed in many Broadway shows, toured with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, and has accumulated more than 80 million views (and climbing) on her YouTube covers. The New York-based singer-songwriter and Broadway chanteuse released her first album, Reckless Abandon, last year which she co-wrote with several other musicians and sang all of her background vocals on. Being inspired by a variety of singers such as Joni Mitchell, Mariah Carey, and Aretha Franklin, James’ album stretches between different genres, but one thing that is solidified is that she sings it all from her heart, and soul. She mentions that her mission is to bring back the power of the singular legacy voice and that passion evidently resonates from her vocals on Reckless Abandon. MORE INFO
Maya Rae with the Miles Black Quintet
Saturday, June 30, 7:30pm (SOLD OUT) & 9:30pm
At only 16 years old, up-and-coming singer-songwriter Maya Rae has accomplished so much for her music. CBC named Maya “a supremely gifted artist who’s able to phrase like Sarah Vaughan but write a lyric like Joni Mitchell.” Maya has performed at various venues including Frankie’s Jazz Club, and our festival in 2013. She will play at Pyatt Hall this year with the stellar Miles Black Quintet (Miles Black piano, John Lee bass, Joel Fountain drums, Cory Weeds tenor saxophone, Vince Mai trumpet/flugelhorn). Maya is also passionate about using her voice to advocate for social change. In 2015, she helped raise awareness and more than $13,000 for Nepal Earthquake Victims through her musical efforts. With chops far beyond her years, and a good head on her shoulders at such a young age, Maya Rae is just beginning the journey of a long-standing musical career. MORE INFO
Friday, June 28
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Everybody knows Multi-Platinum Grammy Award Winner Macy Gray. Her distinctive, soulful, raspy voice evokes pain, happiness, and deep emotion in her songs. She made her debut in 1999, with her hugely successful album “On How Life Is” and hit song “I Try”. She continued to release more amazing music, and acted in many films. Her 2016 album, Stripped, heavily draws from the roots of jazz. All songs were recorded live, and notable jazz instrumentalists contributed to the album. She is releasing her forthcoming album in the fall so she may be performing material from the new album at the festival along with her favourite tunes from old records. MORE INFO
The 33rd Annual Jazz Festival runs from June 22-July 1, 2018. Don’t miss performances from these talented singers, among many others performing at the festival. Get your tickets here!