The inaugural Cape Breton Jazz Festival in 2013 was a great success, and this year promises to provide Cape Bretoners with more of the finest jazz in Canada and the Atlantic Provinces, not to mention some new additions to the festival flavour and schedule.
This year, with the increasing diversity of Canadian as well as Cape Breton culture, the Cape Breton Jazz Festival will be offering a world music component as a way to further invest in the diversity of Cape Breton. Another new highlight this year will be several free, open air shows which will give a larger audience a chance to hear this wonderful music.
While promoting local talent, the 2014 Cape Breton Jazz Festival will deliver very powerful and delightful sounds courtesy of some stellar jazz musicians from across the country and around the Maritimes including alto saxophonist Donnie Palmer, a Cape Bretoner who spent more than 20 years playing jazz in New York.
The week long festival opens on Wednesday, August 13 and concludes Wednesday August 20. Highlighting the Festival are two shows each by Cape Breton ex-patriot, and Canadian jazz saxophon legend, Don Palmer; and Canada’s premier alto saxophone player, and Cape Breton native, Kirk MacDonald. Palmer will perform on Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, at Governor’s Pub in Sydney and at the KOC Hall in New Waterford. MacDonald will highlight appearances at Governor’s on Monday, August 18, and at the KOC in New Waterford on Tuesday, August 19.
Also highlighting this years’ Festival, and a particularly special treat for jazz fans, is a performance by blues pianist and vocalist Bill Stevenson who will be in town for a one night engagement at Governor’s Pub on Thursday, August 14. “Bill is an outstanding blues and jazz standards vocalist and pianist,” said Red Mike MacDonald, Cape Breton’s legendary bass player and cousin of Donnie Palmer.
“We’re delighted to have such a stellar lineup of jazz performers,” said Festival organizer Carl Getto. “These players are personal favourites of mine and they are much respected by knowledgable jazz fans.”
Bluesman John Campbelljohn will open the Festival on Wednesday, August 13, with a performance at the Black Diamond Pub on Townsend Street in Sydney. The Festival concludes on Wednesday, August 20, at the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse in a salute to the jazz guitar with performances by St. Francis Xavier University Music Faculty guitarist Jake Hanlon and his trio, followed by local jazz guitarist Joe Waye and his trio.
A special Festival treat this year will be two afternoons of free, open-air jazz concerts at the Wentworth Park Bandshell. These shows, on Saturday and Sunday, August 16-17, will give Cape Bretoners an opportunity to experience jazz in a relaxing, outdoor setting. Some of the local jazz players taking part include James Munroe, Bruce MacKinley, Russell LeBlanc, John Lewis, Scott Rodney, Ron Rooth, Ed Woodsworth, Red Mike MacDonald, Johnny Hawkins, Matthew Nicholson, Chris McDonald, and Carl Getto. These are all musicians who have spent years developing their skills and will use this opportunity to take part in various music configurations.
The Festival schedule can be viewed in more detail on the Festival website.