Local players, sounds of New Orleans, and blues pianist Bill Stevenson highlight The Cape Breton Jazz and World Music Festival as it concludes this week with three shows in Sydney and New Waterford.
On Thursday, local musicians, and New Orleans-based, Cape Breton native saxophone player Ian McPhail will heat up the Hearthstone Inn outdoor venue, backed by the Cape Breton Jazz Festival Quartet (Joe Waye Jr., Red Mike MacDonald, Johnny Hawkins and Carl Getto), as several acts take the stage.
A talented group of local players will be participating in the show. These include Darren Gallop, Dennis Grant, Greg Verner, and Morgan Currie in an innovative new group playing predominantly original music that melds together a concoction of catchy melodies and rhythms, with everyone throwing ideas into the mix. Improvising over unusual patterns and experimenting within their own set of ever-changing rules makes for very interesting and unexpected twists and turns as the tunes unfold. The Aylmen will also perform Thursday along with James Munroe, Bruce MacKinley, and Matthew Nicholson.
The Cape Breton Jazz Festival wraps up with two concerts from a Festival favourite. Bill Stevenson and his trio of Tom Easley and Geoff Arsenault will return to the Hearthstone Inn for a special performance on Friday, August 12, and then in New Waterford on August 13.
The trio’s performance was one of the highlights of last year’s Festival. With his soulful singing and stellar piano playing, Stevenson creates an atmosphere of fun and bluesy happiness, as the trio presents piano and vocal jazz and blues classics blended with a New Orleans flavour.
The 4th Cape Breton Jazz and World Music Festival got underway last Friday with Trio Bembe embarking on a mini tour of the Island. A big hit at last year’s Festival, the award-winning group played four shows, bringing their Latin sounds of Cuba and South America to North Sydney, Sydney and Inverness.
The Festival has also presented some outstanding performances featuring Doris Mason, with her 10 piece band paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Boardmore Playhouse on Saturday, and as part of the Ladies Sing and Play Jazz at CBU Boardmore Playhouse with Charlotte MacDonald, Breagh Mackinnon, Michele Stephens, and Virginia MacDonald, backed by the rhythm section of Red Mike MacDonald on bass, Johnny Hawkins on drums, Joe Waye on guitar, and James Munroe and Matt Nicholson on horns.
The Cape Breton Jazz and World Music Festival provides Cape Bretoners some of the finest jazz in Canada, as well as celebrating world music as a way to further share the diversity of cultures in Cape Breton. The Cape Breton Jazz Festival is quickly becoming a major festival on the Cape Breton music scene, especially encouraging visitors to Cape Breton to extend their stay to take advantage of the eclectic music offering.