Can’t-Miss Free Acts at David Lam Park Jazz Weekend, June 27-28

jazz-five-alarm-david-lamIt just might be the best free concert of the summer.

A full weekend of free music returns to waterfront David Lam Park in Yaletown this Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28.  More than two dozen bands – from indie pop groups to blues and Mexican hip hop – will take the stage from noon-10 p.m. both days as part of the 2015 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

The main setting for all the action is the big outdoor stage in the park, backed by the seawall and False Creek. Thousands of music lovers fill the grassy oasis in the heart of Yaletown, as the park is transformed into a two-day party zone. Dozens of food trucks serve everything from poutine to dim sum and jerk chicken, while artisans offer up handmade crafts. Meanwhile, more intimate indoor performances (some of which are not free) take place inside the nearby Roundhouse Community Centre.

So who’s taking the stage this weekend? The full lineup is available on the Coastal Jazz website. Here are a few can’t-miss free acts at the 2015 David Lam Park Jazz Weekend:

Dawn Pemberton, Saturday at 1:45 p.m.: Local vocal powerhouse Pemberton weaves together gospel, funk, R&B and more with her smoking band featuring keyboards, horns and guitar.

Bruce Freedman’s Interphase at 2:30 p.m.: It wouldn’t be a jazz fest without a little jazz. Stop into the Roundhouse Community Centre to check out this virtuoso ensemble, featuring two saxes, two basses and drums exploring far-out free jazz and more.

Mazacote, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.: This Latin dance band plays everything from New York salsa dura to beats from Colombia, Puerto Rico and Cuba, all powered by a ferocious rhythm section with drums, congas and timbales.

20304409_1408791771_IGP8909Mdou Moctar, Saturday at 7 p.m.: Ready for some “desert blues” straight out of West Africa’s Tuareg region? Electrifying guitar and Saharan folk melodies merge in the music of this Nigerian singer/songwriter.

Banda Magda, Saturday at 8:45 p.m.: Led by Greek singer Magda Giannikou, this New York-based indie group integrates everything from samba and bossa nova to Greek folk and French pop in an easy-flowing soundtrack that’s perfect for a warm summer night.

The Sicilian Jazz Project, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.: Fans of jazz and classical shouldn’t miss this blend of Sicilian folk music, modern jazz and chamber music, highlighted by Franco-Italian vocalist Pilar and Juno-nominated guitarist Michael Occhipinti.

The Ballantynes, Sunday at 5 p.m.: This homegrown, Motown-inspired group plays danceable soul and R&B with a uniquely Cascadian twist.

troker-photoTroker, Sunday at 7 p.m.: From Mexico’s Guadalajara state, these instrumental rockers combine jazz, rock, funk and even pyschedelic music and cumbia into high-energy, layered tunes.

Zaki_IbrahimZaki Ibrahim, Sunday at 8:45 p.m.: South African singer Zaki Ibrahim brings a truly global mix of electro-pop, soul, dance and world beat to the stage.  Get ready for danceable rhythms and intoxicating melodies.

For the full lineup for the David Lam Park Jazz Weekend, visit the Coastal Jazz website.

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