Not Just Jazz: Vancouver Jazz Fest rocks, too

Five Alaram Funk gets the crowd going

Jazz is arguably North America’s greatest contribution to world music.  But I think it’s safe to say that not everybody is that into jazz.   Swing, bebop, free jazz (whew!), even jazz fusion are all acquired tastes.  But don’t let that worry you.  There’s a lot more to this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival (now through July 3) than hep cats and piano trios.

The lineup features lots of soul, funk and world music, as well as rock and roll and country.  I was surprised last weekend to hear what sounded suspiciously like pop music (albeit very sophisticated pop) during a free performance by the Vancouver-based group Jasper Sloan Yip in Gastown.  Here’s a video – You be the judge:

Here are some other non-jazz highlights of the final weekend of the Vancouver Jazz Festival:

Paco de Lucia, July 3 at the Orpheum: The Spanish flamenco guitarist par excellence plays with his band in Vancouver’s classic old theatre.

Blue King Brown, July 1 at Venue:  Australia’s premiere urban roots group rocks Granville Street’s Venue club.

Serpentine Funk, July 1 at Granville Island (Free!):  This eclectic Vancouver group plays classic R’n’B and modern retro-funk in the style of Sharon Jones, Joss Stone, Adele and others.

Wil Campa y Su Gran Union, July 2 at David Lam Park (Free!): One of Cuba’s leading artists performs salsa and other Latin rhythms with a full percussion and horn section.

Expo Latino 2009

The Crackling, July 3 at David Lam Park (Free!):  Firmly in the pop/rock genre, The Crackling offer well crafted, intimate tunes with a classic guitar, drums, bass, keyboards lineup.

Gypsophilia, July 3 at David Lam Park (Free!): Wanna hear some “Balkan-folk music and hip-swaying swing with a dynamic rock edge”?  These guys from Halifax are the band for you.

Know any other great non-jazz acts performing at the 2011 Jazz Festival?  Please share your suggestions.

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