Six free shows to catch at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival this week

One of Vancouver’s biggest music festivals of the year kicks off Friday, June 22. The TD International Vancouver Jazz Festival runs until July 1.

Along with ticketed concerts, there are numerous free shows, from all-day events downtown and David Lam Park to sets in smaller venues. Here, we’ll look at some of the acts playing free shows in the first days of the festival, June 22-27.

The Revival Ensemble Plays Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite—Led by saxophonist Ted Crosby, The Revival Ensemble re-imagines Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s landmark 1967 album, the Far East Suite. The piece was inspired by the Ellington Orchestra’s trip to Asia and the Middle East and sought to give portraits of various places the band visited. While Revival will stay true to Ellington’s themes, the ensemble will explore the idea of travel and exploration into unknown territory deriving from their own experiences in our modern world. The 12-piece Revival Ensemble includes some of Canada’s finest improvisers—plus special international guest reed players Mike Bjella (USA) and Lisen Rylander Löve (Sweden). (Saturday June 23 at 2:15, Georgia Street Stage)

Ghost-Note—Percussion-based outfit from Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth of the Grammy-winning Brooklyn jazz and funk collective Snarky Puppy. The group features Dywane Thomas, who is known as MonoNeon and was one of the last people to play with Prince, on bass/guitar. According to, “Ghost-Note’s sound has evolved to a state that can best be described as ‘conscious funk’… with the bandleaders leaning back and letting the band go. The core lineup is a rotating cast of serious cats.” (Saturday June 23 at 7:30 p.m., Georgia Street Stage)—

Camaro 67—This Vancouver-based 10-piece instrumental band channels the music of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and the modern Afrofunk of Antibalas. (Sunday June 24 at 2:15 p.m., Georgia Street Stage)

Alsarah and the Nubatones—Fronted by Brooklyn-based Sudanese vocalist/songwriter Alsarah, the Nubatones filter African and Arabic influences through contemporary soul. According to NPR, “their one-of-a-kind expression has been called ‘East African retro pop.’ But that tag only scratches the surface: in their hands, the music pulses, breathes and comes alive with a mix of tradition and contemporary influences.” Watch a Tiny Desk concert here. (Sunday June 24 at 3:45 p.m., Georgia Street Stage)

Hear in Now (Monday June 25 at 5 p.m. p.m., The Ironworks)—Hear in Now is a string trio that improvises between free jazz, contemporary classical, folk music, and avant-garde. With New York’s Mazz Swift violin/voice, Chicago cellist Tomeka Reid, and Siena, Italy’s Silvia Bolognesi double bass.

Hear In Now plays a free show at The Ironworks as part of the 2018 Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Aram Bajakian (Wed. June 27 at 1 p.m. at Tom Lee Music Hall)—Guitarist Aram Bajakian has played with Lou Reed (on his last two tours, in 2011 and 2012) and New York avant-gardist John Zorn. At this workshop, he’ll demonstrate his fluency in jazz, blues, noise, and rock. (He also performs with Julia Ulehla on June 27, 11 p.m. at the China Cloud, and with Kris Davis piano and Dylan van der Schyff drums on June 29, 5 p.m., at the Ironworks. Both shows are part of the Festival’s Innovation Series.)

Tagged: , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.