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Hot Dates in Halifax: 5 for Music Lovers

Blue Rodeo returns to Halifax on January 18th at the Halifax Metro Centre. Photo: Warner Music

January 18: P.E.I. singer/songwriter Lennie Gallant joins Symphony Nova Scotia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

January 18: With solid musical chops, distinctive song-writing and deep roots, it’s little wonder that Blue Rodeo remains one of Canada’s hottest musical acts. See them at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street.

February 2: One of Canada’s biggest rock bands for two decades, the Tragically Hip never stay away from Halifax for long.

February 24: Tafelmusik’s Jeanne Lamon joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a celebration of Baroque music at Saint Andrew’s United Church on Coburg Road.

February 28: Celtic Woman, an ensemble of female performers, perform Celtic tunes at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street.

Editors Choice
February 9: Southern gospel staples since 1939, the Blind Boys of Alabama offer an uplifting celebration of American gospel, roots and blues. Three blind singers, joined by four other musicians, offer timeless hits like “Way Down in the Hole,” “Soldier” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The concert will be held at Dalhousie’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

Hot Date: First Thursday Art Events in the Cultural District

Tonight is the Cultural District’s monthly First Thursday event, wherein galleries in the downtown core open their doors for complimentary artist talks and receptions.

Tonight, don’t miss these events:

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) hosts the opening reception for its new exhibit, A Night of Music & Art, featuring first nations multimedia works by Carl Beam and live music by Matt Masters. (more…)

Hot Entertainment: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Photo: Name Dropping Productions

Funnyman and musician Steve Martin comes to town on Saturday night for a performance at the Jubilee Auditorium. Martin is a long-time banjo-picker and will be joined by the Grammy Award-winning North Carolina quintet, the Steep Canyon Rangers for a rollicking performance of bluegrass tunes interspersed with comedy. Expect to hear tunes from the group’s 2011 album, Rare Bird Alert. Tickets available at Ticketmaster.

A Traveller’s Guide to the Halifax Jazz Festival

It’s no surprise that the Halifax Jazz Festival has plenty for jazz enthusiasts but you don’t need to be a hardcore fan to enjoy the event. With a variety artists and a mix of venues around the city, the festival (running from July 6 to 14) boasts something for any musical taste.

Halifax Jazz Festival

Much of the action centres on the Festival Tent on Lower Water Street. Every afternoon, the tent hosts free concerts, featuring acts like The George St. Blues Project (July 7), The Sanctified Brothers (July 8), Daniel Matto (July 11) and the Big Valley Swing Orchestra (July 14). There are also free evening shows on July 9, 10 and 11.

The other evenings, admission is charged at the tent as it hosts the festival’s biggest shows. Things kick off on July 6 with Soul Rebels and continue Junior Watson on July 7, My Brightest Diamond on July 8 and Deltron 3030 on July 12.

Other venues around the city include Saint Matthew’s United Church, the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia, The Carleton, Tall Ship Silva, The Press Gang, Onyx, Obladee and Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs.

In fact, the wide range of musical options can be overwhelming. To help, we asked Megan Couture, music blogger with our sister publication Halifax Magazine, for her picks. Number one with a bullet is the Deltron 3030 show on July 12. “Likely, you’d recognize Del’s unique voice and hip-hop stylings from the first Gorillaz album and most famous single ‘Clint Eastwood,’” she says. “To top things off, Deltron 3030 will be performing with a full orchestra. Personally, this is my cannot-miss of the festival.”

She gives honourable mention to My Brightest Diamond in the Festival Tent on July 8 (“Her vocal stylings are unique and experimental”), Sophie Milman at Casino Nova Scotia on July 8 (“Capable of holding down romantic, vast, orchestral tracks and unpredictable jazz tunes…should make for an outstanding performance,”) Osaka Monaurail in the Festival Tent on July 11 (“An intriguing funk group that likely wins the award for most distance travelled to perform,”) and Grupo Fantasma in the tent on July 14.

For tickets and more information, surf to halifaxjazzfestival.ca.


Jazz on the Mountain At Whistler

Greg Lowe, Kevin Eubanks and Oliver Jones are all expected to play

Jazz festivals have become a summer staple, and with all the competition to draw in music lovers, talent line ups need to entice. A nice setting doesn’t hurt either. Whistler is hoping that having both of these factors in their favour will draw crowds to their new Jazz on the Mountain At Whistler festival this Labour Day long weekend starting on September 2nd. The festival will feature international names like Spyro Gyra, Oliver Jones, The New Gary Burton Quartet and even that former late night sidekick Kevin Eubanks.

The concerts are spread out across the village, with the ticketed events taking place at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Tickets start at $65 per day, with family packages also on offer. For those who want something more intimate, there’s brunch at the luxe Bearfoot Bistro with Lorne Lofsky, the jazz guitarist ($49). And to capitalize on the setting, a Mountain Top BBQ is scheduled each evening at the top of Whistler with a rotating menu and performers Ali Milner, Chris Smith and The Night Crawlers.

Organizers hope to make the festival family friendly on this key holiday weekend—they’ve also included a street festival spread about the village geared to the kids, which will include jugglers, acrobats and acoustic musical sets.

Visit whistlerjazzfest.com for schedules and ticketing information. For the Mountain Top BBQ, visit whistlerblackcomb.com for ticketing pricing and information.

Sax and the city

Colin Stetson performs at the Halifax Jazz Festival on July 9 at Saint Matthew's Church.

The Halifax Jazz Festival celebrates 25 years of swingin’ sounds

By Trevor J. Adams

The city’s biggest annual music event, the Halifax Jazz Festival returns July 8 to 16. This is the 25th edition of the festival and, as befits a silver anniversary celebration, it boasts an array of established masters and hot innovators. While venues around the city host concerts, the Festival Tent is always the busiest spot. For years, Spring Garden Road hosted the party but this year it moves to the waterfront. The tent will plant its stakes at the foot of Salter Street.

The Tent is home to the biggest concerts. Things kick off there on July 8 with The Bad Plus and Yaron Herman. On July 9, the Tent hosts one of the Festival’s most anticipated concerts: Idle Warship (the latest project from MC extraordinaire Talib Kweli) with local hip-hop stars The Extremities opening the show.

The tent will be jumping on July 10, too, as the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans takes the stage. And on July 11, chanteuse Jill Barber returns to her roots. Now living in British Columbia, she began her career here. “I am very excited,” she said in a recent interview with Halifax Magazine. “I have performed at almost every venue and festival in and around Atlantic Canada but I have never played the JazzFest… Halifax will forever feel like home to me. It is the place where I found my voice and it is where I came of age both as a woman and as a musician.”

Busy every night, the Festival Tent closes in fine fashion on July 16, as the Digable Planets return to Halifax. The tent is also jumping during the day, when it hosts free matinee concerts with Samba Nova, the Ghostrider Blues Band, Jeff Torbert and many other acts. Bluesman Morgan Davis takes the stage around 2:50pm on July 11. If you’re a fan of old-school guitar blues, this is probably going to be the best free concert you’ll ever see.

There will also be free shows on the new Whirligig Stage (the waterfront helipad). Australian expatriate Daniel Matto, now living in Halifax, performs there at about 4:50pm on July 10. Matto is a smooth jazz crooner—just the thing for a sultry summer afternoon.
You can even enjoy jazz on the waves of Halifax Harbour. There are concerts for kids aboard Theodore Too tugboat, while the Tall Ship Silva hosts shows by the Carson Downey Band and Gypsophilia.

Other venues include Saint Matthew’s United Church, which hosts the free JazzEast 25th Anniversary Big Band show on July 14, the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia (Freddy Cole on and Kenny Barron), the Imperial Ballroom at the Lord Nelson (Keren Ann, the Jubilee Swing Orchestra), 1313 Hollis (Paul Cram’s 4 Flavours, The Unsupervised), The Company House (Wordrhythm, Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People), the Georgian Lounge at the Lord Nelson and several pubs and lounges.

Clubs, pubs and bars around the city will host Festival performances too. Participants include Stayner’s Wharf on George Street, Pipa on Argyle Street, The Press Gang on Prince Street, Bearly’s on Barrington Street, Onyx (page 90) on Spring Garden Road and Elephant & Castle on George Street.

Toronto Jazz Festival Extra—Hip Venues

Visit these six venues for more swinging sounds. —By Danielle Milley

ALLEYCATZ: Graffiti Park (June 26), Swing House Band (June 30), Lady Kane (July 2 & 3)

DOMINION ON QUEEN: Mega City Big Band (June 26), Big Smoke Big Band (June 29), Peggy Mahon (July 3)

THE PILOT: Charlie Hunter (June 27), Chris Potter’s Underground (June 29 & 30), Bobby Militello (July 2)

RESERVOIR LOUNGE: Jake Rude & His Swing Sextet (June 26), Sophia Perlman & The Vipers (June 29), Luke Nicholson (July 5)

THE REX: Joel Miller’s Mandala (June 27), Will Vinson Quartet (July 1), Fieldtrip (July 4)

TRANE STUDIO: Danny Lockwood & The Favourite Grooves (June 28), Jarek Dabrowski (June 30), Tim Posgate Horn Band (July 3)