JazzYYC Canadian Festival to Showcase Calgary’s Top Artists



Throughout his career as a jazz musician and presenter, Kodi Hutchinson has tended to hear a recurring sentiment: I don’t like jazz.

This, of course, is probably not what a jazz musician and presenter wants to hear. But Hutchinson discovered a long time ago that this disclaimer is often followed by “But I like what you do” or “But I like it …”

“We always look at things from the perspective of: How do we show people the kind of jazz they love,” says Hutchinson, artistic director of JazzYYC. “It’s like (saying) ‘I don’t like rock because I don’t like the Rolling Stones.’ It’s more just about exposure. Obviously with pop-rock it’s easier to have that exposure. So when we do festivals we really try to give a lot of exposure to different styles. It’s one of those things where people can go out and experience music and enjoy, maybe for the first time, jazz.

From November 11 to 15, the Canadian JazzYYC Festival will take place in various venues across the city while broadcasting online. It’s a testament to the city’s growing jazz scene that most of this year’s acts are local and yet the lineup still manages to touch various nuances of the genre.

Vancouver jazz singer Dee Daniels will be joined by vocalist Denzel Sinclaire for a headlining performance on November 13 at the National Music Center, accompanied by musicians John Clayton, Herlin Riley and Isaiah J. Thompson.

But most of the other performers come from the local scene, offering a variety of styles and including both veterans and new faces.

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble is an eight-piece ‘chamber’ version of its big band ensemble, featuring saxophonist Mark DeJong, trumpeter Andrew Wickenheiser, trombonist Carsten Rubeling and drummer Jon McCaslin. Calgary-based jazz-pop-soul singer Johanna Sillanpaa will lead a first-class ensemble consisting of Sheldon Zanboer on piano, Jim Johnston on drums, Steve Shepard on bass and DeJong on sax.

Meanwhile, the festival will also feature the up-and-coming Holly Sangster Quartet, led by a fourth-year Bachelor of Musical Arts student and saxophonist from MacEwan University from Calgary.

“I was like, ‘what a great way to present a young artist who is starting to appear on the Alberta scene’ and bring her home,” says Hutchinson.

Calgary’s jazzy funk-soul ensemble Freak Motif is due to perform, as is The Elements, a relatively new group led by drummer Luis Tovar who explore the Afro-Caribbean sounds of Cuba and Venezuela.

“It’s under his banner,” says Hutchinson. “They’re a newer band, but they’ve done a lot of really high-level projects, so we’re excited to see their new music.”


Thursday, November 11: Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble at the Ironwood Stage and Grill, 7 p.m.

Friday November 12: Johanna Sillanpaa at the Ironwood Stage and Grill, 7 p.m.

Friday November 12: Holly Sangster Quartet at

The Attic Bar & Stage (Formerly Lolita’s Lounge), 8 p.m.

Friday, November 12: The Jon McCaslin Quartet +1 with Lisa LaTouche at the King Eddy, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, November 12: Aaron Young at Devonian Gardens, 12 p.m.

Saturday, November 13: An Evening with Dee Daniels and Denzel Sinclaire starring John Clayton, Herlin Riley and Isaiah J. Thompson at the National Music Center, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 13: Perpie at the Ironwood Stage and Grill, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 13: The Elements at King Eddy, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday November 13: Kawa Jazz Jam feat. the Shane Statz Trio at the Kawa Espresso Bar, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday November 14: The JazzWalk from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. with Sanguinetti Jazz Band at Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar at 12 p.m. the Stephanie Urquhart Trio at Highline Brewing at 1 p.m. Freak Motif at Cold Garden Beverage Company at 2 p.m.

Workshops on Sunday, November 14: Double bass John Clayton at the Ironwood Stage and Grill at 12 noon; Herlin Riley Drums at VeganStreet Kitchen and Lounge at 12:45 p.m. Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz at Ironwood Stage & Grill, 1:30 p.m.

Monday, November 15:

Monday Night Jazz with the Jeremy Brown Ensemble University of Calgary’s University Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021


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