August is jazz month in Cape Breton as the Cape Breton Jazz Festival gets underway with close to 20 events. Juno award winning saxophonist Kirk MacDonald and blues pianist and vocalist Bill Stevenson will be special guests during the Festival.
The inaugural year of the Cape Breton Jazz Festival promises to provide Cape Bretoners with a sampling of the finest jazz in Canada, in the Atlantic Provinces, and in Cape Breton.
Highlighting the Festival will be the performance of Juno Award winning jazz tenor saxophone player Kirk MacDonald, formerly from New Waterford, who has played in jazz festivals all over the world. (Read about Kirk MacDonald in WGO 8 from January 1996.)
The playing of the Blues will also be accentuated during the Festival with an appearance by East Coast blues icon, pianist and vocalist Bill Stevenson.
The best in local jazz performers will also be showcased. The Carl Getto Jazz Dance Septet will play two dinner dance performances, designed to celebrate the song and dance band tradition of the 1940s. The cornerstone of this Septet are Walter Pretty on trumpet, Bruce MacKinley on tenor sax, and Russell LeBlanc on baritone saxophone who are known by their attention to detail in the presentation of songs heard in American movies and at Cape Breton dances of the 1940s and 1950s.
Leading up to opening of the Festival will be regular Thursday and Friday early evening sessions at the Sydney Casino where special Cape Breton jazz playing guests each evening will be showcased. These guests will be backed by the solid rhythm section of Red Mike MacDonald on bass, Johnny Hawkins on drums, and Carl Getto on piano.
The shows will take place at various locations: Casino Nova Scotia in Sydney, the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney, and at the Knights of Columbus Hall in New Waterford.
Tickets may be purchased at the Casino box office, and at the Pharmasave store in New Waterford and on Charlotte Street in Sydney.