As a special treat for our many donors, we have put together a Spotify playlist. Not only is this a playlist highlighting the many performers that are playing during this year’s festival, but they are a few choices from our staff and board members. We asked everyone to suggest their best of the best, along with their reasons for that selection. It is a fascinating and eclectic collection, just like the festival – delicious music to enjoy, providing a wide range of music for many different palates.

Click here to listen to the playlist, and read on for some thoughts and feelings about why many tunes were included.

Here goes! Enjoy! Tune into their performances during the festival!

From Emma, Marketing

Limbs of the Stars – Heartwarmongering No.1
It is no secret that my sweet spot is straight up atmospheric post-rock with a little bit of noise and a little side of Americana. So there you go. Plus I can not resist a good bit of wordplay.

Irreversible Entanglements – No Más
At this time in history, everyone alive needs to take this on board. Also, I have seen this band twice, once at our festival and once at Big Ears, and both shows are in my top 10 live shows of all time. Just an astonishing band.

From Cole, Programmer

Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra – Abstract Dark Energy
Turns out that all my favourite music is coming from Chicago these days, and Chad Taylor is often the drummer. I’ve been really enjoying learning about that scene’s deep history and how it all connects to some of the new releases from this label, International Anthem. This album inspires me to wanna write music, and features a cast of all kinds of beautiful improvisers, composers, and bandleaders that have been coming to Vancouver to play the festival for years now. After spending months listening to this, I also loved discovering in the liner notes that this music was created in response to an invitation from a friend and programmer, Nadin Deventer, who curates for JazzFest Berlin.

Moor Mother & billy woods – Furies
Moor Mother has somehow released several recording since the pandemic hit, and this collaboration introduced me to the work of billy woods. This track samples a tune by Sons of Kemet, which shoots me back to a full room of people dancing at the Imperial at the Jazz Fest in 2018. I love everything Moor Mother is doing, but this is a favourite.

From Dannielle, Box Office

Tonye Aganaba – Make this House a Home.
Soulful, moving and beautifully sung.

Alvaro Rojas – I know, I know. 
An adventurous dream soundtrack.

Waxwing– Time Waited.
So much music to choose from with Peggy Lee. She’s a local hero for a reason.

From Rainbow, Programmer

Brandee Younger (featuring Ravi Coltrane) – Love’s Prayer 
This broad sweeping piece by harpist Brandee Younger featuring Ravi Coltrane unfolds the linage of spiritual jazz and conjures images of a shimmering and inspiring future.
We are looking forward to an exciting virtual festival performance streamed from Birdland in New York, where Ravi and Brandee will be revisiting the music of Alice and John Coltrane.

The Giving Shapes – Dousing 
The sound of The Giving Shapes (Elisa Thorn & Robyn Jacob), is beautiful transportive and ethereal.  This duo album is one of the most intricate and surprising things that I have heard in recent years.

Dálava-Grass 
This short track by Dálava is full of strength and beauty, and is particularly compelling as it features some of the most exciting instrumentalists on the creative music scene in Vancouver.
This all-star band includes Julia Ulehla, Aram Bajakian, Peggy Lee, Dylan van der Schyff, Colin Cowan and Tyson Naylor.

From Franco, Sponsor Support

Alvaro Rojas – Year of the Dog
A rich soundscape that drives forward with great energy. Showing off beautifully the quality and creativity inherent in our local Vancouver musicians.

Fred Hersch and Michael Moore – Calm
Two of my favourite musicians that both cover a wide range of styles. And both are in this year’s festival program, but not playing together. This piece demonstrates both their evocative styles. Both musicians show up in a variety of ensembles and each demonstrates their technical and emotive ability in every setup. I especially enjoy Moore’s clarinet playing, from smooth sound to edgy dissonance.

Waxwing (Jon Bentley, Tony Wilson, Peggy Lee) – Highway of Tears
An appropriate lament, true to the title of the tune. Both Tony Wilson and Peggy Lee are playing in this year’s festival. And they will both amaze with their virtuosity and ability to create such expressive music, rich in emotion.

From Heather, Marketing

Amanda Sum – Groupthink
There’s been a lot of buzz in my musical circles about the singles Amanda Sum put out last year and because I’ve been in a pandemic-induced musical slump I never really got around to listening to them in 2020. Now that I have, I wish I had heard them sooner—Amanda’s music is pretty much everything I look for sonically: intentional; enthralling; clean & spare without sacrificing richness. The music video for this track is great, too, and clearly showcases Sum’s theatre background.

Jamie Lee Trio  – Overclock
I first virtually met Jamie Lee in the run-up for Winter Jazz this year, and quickly learned that she is a delightful person to work with. It doesn’t hurt that her music is also excellent! Jamie plays in a way that clearly shows she has serious chops but is capable of restraint and subtlety—in my eyes, one of the most valuable skills for any drummer. In trying to figure out what to say about this song, I haven’t been able to come up with anything clearer than “It feels good to listen to.” So we’ll go with that.

From Jeff, Board Member

Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling 
Why? Because it seems miraculous that the Sun Ra Arkestra is putting out new music, and still performing, 28 years after Sun Ra left the earth.  Also, it’s a new composition by longtime Arkestra band leader Marshall Allen who has been in the Arkestra since the late 50s and is turning 97 in a few days.  Also, it’s great!

Cory Weeds with the Mike LeDonne Quartet– O Sole Mio! 
Why? Because it’s a tenor and alto playing on top of an organ trio – playing a beautiful, vaguely Italian tune.  Greasy!  And it’s great!

Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet – Harp and Concrete Silhouette Pt. 1 and II 
Why?  Because Luke Stewart’s a really interesting musician, who leads this great quintet in addition to being part of Irreversible Entanglements and Moor Mother’s solo group. Also, the two parts run over 30 minutes, so it’s great value for your entertainment dollar!  Although, if you’re listening on the evil Spotify, you likely are paying little or nothing for it.  So, if you like it or any of the other tunes in the playlist, consider buying a record or CD.  Lastly, it’s great!

From Jen, Administration

Khari Wendell McClelland – My Time Ain’t Long Here
It’s got KWM’s now-signature base of traditional spiritual updated to right now and a message that’s a spike to the heart. “We’re gonna die anyway – let’s make a difference”

Krystle Dos Santos – Here 4 U
Smoky, funky, groovy – and the title isn’t the only thing about this song that makes me think of Prince.

Jen Hodge All Stars – Summertime
An instrumental version of one of my all-time fave jazz standards, done slow and sultry, just like the easy summer days the song describes.

Parlour Panther – Bad Bad Man
When Parlour Panther write their rock opera/musical, this track needs to be a character intro song, early in the first act. It would work for an antihero … or the villain.

From Gary, Board Member (he of few words lets the music speak)

Gordon Grdina – Soro
Complex, engaging.

Chris Gestrin – Many Skies
Atmospheric.

Paul Plimley – You and Her
Iconic.

From Nou, Board Member (also A-Trane host on Coop Radio!)

Sun Ra Arkestra Under the Direction of Marshall Allen – Satellites are Spinning/Lights on a Satellite
Sun Ra left the planet in 1993 but the Arkestra continues bringing his pioneering brand of Afro-Futurism under the direction of original Ra saxophonist Allen now in his 90s.  This lead piece from their most recent recording is an invocation that blends the big band sophistication of Ra with the controlled anarchy that they’re famous for.

John Beasley’s Monk’estra – Brake’s Sake
Master arranger John Beasley demonstrates the malleability of Monk’s music bringing it into the 21st century with a fiery trumpet solo and rap from guest artist Dontae Winslow.

Waxwing (Jon Bentley, Tony Wilson, Peggy Lee) – Flicker Down
These master musicians and improvisers are so accomplished and comfortable with each other that their improvisations which start with a simple framework and tone end up sounding like completely (and beautifully) composed chamber pieces.

From Eduardo, Production

Alvaro Rojas – Little Bell
This local artist just played Winter Jazz and blew us all away. With a killer band made up of some of Vancouver best players, his music is mesmerizing.

Marin Patenaude – Tall Thin Man in a Black Cheyenne
Marin’s music is beautiful and haunting, and she is backed by some pretty amazing players, one of whom is our very own Cole Schmidt.

Dawn Pemberton – Deeper
One of my faves, and one of the nicest people around.  Dawn’s voice is powerful and her energy infectious.