2021 Vancouver International Jazz Festival preview
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
In the past year, many concerts and festivals were either cancelled or delayed. Any events that went on had to pivot to presenting virtually with no in-person audience, or experiment with new ways to do concerts. One of the music festivals that I am heavily involved with is the Vancouver International Jazz Festival; I usually volunteer, preparing the food for the jazz musicians and delivering items to the venues while listening to jazz music during my free time on summer days.
The festival is back this year and because of restrictions starting to be lifted, there is a possible chance that concerts will be in-person with a limited audience. All the concerts will be live streamed and there are a variety of options in experiencing the festival—with some unique options never seen before. Not only single concerts will be offered, but there will also be ticket packages for each of the venues and an all-access pass which has savings compared to buying tickets separately.
Because of the travel restrictions still in place, there will not be a lot of international musicians in this year’s edition and there will mainly be local jazz musicians performing. Many of the concerts this year will happen at Performance Works in Granville Island, Pyatt Hall next door to the Orpheum Theatre, and Ironworks. There will also be late night concerts at Frankie’s Jazz Club near BC Place—which is owned by local jazz musician Cory Weeds who will also do a few concerts in the festival.
If you like Indigenous rap, the Performance Works series begins with the local rap group Snotty Nose Rez Kids who have a humorous approach to commentary on Indigenous life. Jill Barber will also perform to promote her new French language album Entre Nous after doing a web concert during the pandemic reviving a former club near the Vancouver/Richmond border. Other musicians in the series include Indigenous duo Blue Moon Marquee, Dee Daniels, cellist Peggy Lee, and local indie band Ludic.
The concerts at Pyatt Hall offer a more intimate experience due to its soundproof walls; it feels like you are in a recording studio. Various groups do performances including father and son duo Ben and Phil Dwyer, essential jazz with Triology, collaborator duo Jennifer Scott and Rene Worst, local musician Brad Turner in two concerts, and singers Katherine Penfold and Andrea Superstein. Ironworks has the characteristics of an early jazz club and will be hosting concerts involving improv musicians and contemporary jazz with media presentations.
Some of these improvisers include The Watermill Project, The Paul Plimley Trio, Juno winner Chris Gestrin with Shadows Quartet, and DJ Kookum with Sierra Baker.
It doesn’t matter whether you are at the venue or cozy at home—you can cool off from the hot air outside with jazz music at this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival between June 25 and July 3.