The Lethbridge Jazz Festival explores the many different facets of jazz music, June 13-15 at numerous venues across the city. The festival features all kinds of jazz from salsa to gospel including approximately 1,000 performers from seasoned pros to enthusiastic newcomers.
The fun began June 9 with a jazz gospel service at Southminster United Church.
“We wanted to have something for everybody,” summarized Lethbridge Jazz Society president Don Robb.
“It’s come together really well. We’ve had a lot of great support from the community,” he continued.
The first big event is June 13 with the Lethbridge Big Band and Friends who officially kick things off at CASA at 7:30 p.m.
Another popular event of the festival is the Young Lions concert which is June 14 at 1:30 p.m. at CASA featuring school bands from eight Southern Alberta schools. There will be bands from R.I. Baker School, The Magrath High School Jazz band , Gilbert Paterson Middle School, Catholic Central, Wilson Middle School, Raymond High School as well as bands from LCI and Chinook High School.
This year there are several familiar faces including Tommy Banks and Vern Dorge who played the festival last year. Plus there is a lot of local talent including Paul Kype and Texas Flood who play the Slice, June 14.
There will even be more local talent playing the “Suppertime Jazz” program throughout the week at a variety of venues. The Mocha Cabana features Dale Ketcheson, June 13-15; Plum features James Oldenburg and Paul Holden on June 14 and Sheldon Arvay and Don Ponech on June 15; The Cotton Blossom Lounge hosts Cal Toth and Anna Vanderheide on June 13 and 15 and Joe Porter and Joel Goodfellow on June 14; Herb Hicks and Ernie Block play the Streatside Eatery on June 14 and 15; The Telegraph Taphouse features pianist Randy Epp on June 13 and Sheldon Arvay and Scott Kanashiro play the Coco Pazzo on June 13.
Bluesman Jack Semple will play progressive blues at CASA on June 15, while Calgary based salsa band the Pana Band will get your toes tapping at CASA, June 14. If you haven’t danced enough, Hippodrome will be playing with teen duo Luke and Tess and Central Alberta quirky jazz combo the Polyjesters and Slide Zone for a free outdoor show on the plaza outside of CASA from 1-4:30 p.m., June 15.
Carstairs based jazz and roots band the Polyjesters have been together since 1999. They are excited about coming to Lethbridge.
“I don’t think we’ve ever played Lethbridge as the Polyjesters,” said stand up bassist/ vocalsit Jason Valleau.
“ We’re still there, we all got day jobs that have to do with music,” Valleau said, who along with his brother Sheldon on baritone ukulele and vocals, guitarist Aaron Young, fiddler Drew Jurecka and drummer Jon May make up the band.
“We’re like stubborn dogs chewing on the same old bone, he said adding the Polyjesters have backed an array of musicians like Ian Tyson and Cindy Church.
“So we keep sharp by learning how to play other people’s music,” he said.