The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival kicks off Friday with in-person performances for the first time since 2019.
The annual event features more than 200 performances at 19 venues across the city through July 3.
Here are 10 must-watch acts recommended by Margaret Gallagher, host of Radio One’s Hot Air — CBC’s longest-running radio show that brings listeners all things jazz on Saturday afternoons.
Louis Cole Big Band
The 12-piece band, led by Los Angeles-based drummer and producer Louis Cole, promises an epic performance that has been described as “weird, wild and wonderful”.
Come see them Saturday, June 25 for free at 5:30 p.m. in downtown Vancouver on the Georgia Street Outdoor Stage.
WATCH | The Louis Cole Big Band performs in Boston in 2021
JUNO Award-winning pianist and singer Laila Biali is known for her expressive voice, serious piano strokes, and cheerful, pop-tinged sound. She is also the host of CBC Music’s Saturday Night Jazz.
Catch Biali on Sunday, June 26 when she performs two shows at Pyatt Hall on Seymour Street, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Avant-garde chamber pop trio Gentle Party has a dreamy, shimmering sound built on the strings of harpist Elisa Thorn and violinist Meredith Bates, and the haunting vocals of Jessika Yliruusi.
The band performs Monday, June 26 at Ocean Art Works at 9 p.m.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
The Miami-born singer has won multiple Grammys and a MacArthur Genius Fellowship for her unique approach to jazz standards, pop classics and memorable originals. Salvant is a captivating performer who is at once playful, theatrical and subversive.
Catch her on Monday, June 27 at the Queen Elizabeth Theater at 7 p.m.
WATCH | Cécile McLorin Salvant performs ‘Until’ from her album ghost song
Amanda Tosoff feat. Emilie-Claire Barlow
Album by pianist and composer Amanda Tosoff Voice of the Earth puts the poetry of Rumi and Pablo Neruda into his thoughtful compositions. She’s joined by JUNO Award-winning singer Emilie Claire Barlow at Pyatt Hall on Tuesday, June 28.
Tosoff and Barlow will perform two shows that evening at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Paul Pigat aka Cousin Harley and Stephen Ulrich aka Big Lazy
The long-awaited meeting of two great guitarists: Paul Pigat from Vancouver and Stephen Ulrich from New York for a night of black twang and rockabilly jazz.
Pigat and Ulrich meet June 30 at 8 p.m. at the BlueShore Financial Center for the Performing Arts, Capilano University.
Andy Milne and Unison
Andy Milne’s JUNO-winning album remission was inspired by a life-changing cancer diagnosis and recovery. The pianist and composer’s first foray into the classic trio format is dynamic and beautiful with bassist John Hébert and drummer Clarence Penn rounding out the sound.
The trio plays Friday, July 1 at Performance Works and it’s a free show from 2:30 p.m.
WATCH | Andy Milne talks and plays
Nomad Trio by Gordon Grdina with Matt Mitchell and Jim Black
Oud and guitarist Gordon Grdina create avant-garde and innovative music that draws you in, with influences ranging from improvisation and traditional jazz to Arabic classical music.
Check it out on Friday, July 1 at The Ironworks at 11:30 p.m.
Cory Weeds Little Big Band with Carl Allen
Saxophonist Cory Weeds teams up with an all-star band for an evening of catchy tunes, led by Jill Townsend. Weeds is joined by famed New York drummer Carl Allen.
There will be two shows at Pyatt Hall on Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
HUMAN KIND by Cat Tower
Pianist and composer Cat Toren creates beautiful, adventurous music “influenced by the free-form, socially conscious jazz of the late ’60s as well as today’s resurgent civil rights movement.”
The Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based artist is joined by a great group from Vancouver for the artist’s comeback show.
The music begins Sunday, July 3 at Pyatt Hall with two shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.