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Guelph Jazz Festival Preview

For over 25 years, the Guelph Jazz Festival has been an ardent champion of creative improvised music and have presented hundreds of ticketed concerts featuring local, national and international artists. 

Last year’s 25th anniversary introduced a new programming innovation, the Friday Night Street Music Party in Market Square. Performers played acoustically in and among the audience. Organizers are most excited about the street music style allowing for “plenty of interaction with the audience.”

This year, bands involved in the Street Music Party include Ontario’s Chippewa Travellers, Eighth Street Orchestra, and Maracatu Mar Aberto, as well as Quebec’s Urban Science Brass. Each band will play twice during the program.

This is only part of the program though. Starting on Wednesday, September 11th, the city will be filled with an incredibly eclectic collection of artists on traditional, and non-traditional instruments. 

NAIL, performing on September 12th at Royal City Church, is a chamber improv quartet that performs on wooden instruments. The quartet is an amalgamation of two duos, one from Montreal, and the other from the Netherlands. The following night, at the same venue, will see a performance by Ben Grossman on hurdy gurdy, Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar, and Chik White on jaw harp.

Other acts that will be seen during the festival include Breton bagpiper Erwan Keravec, Malcolm Goldstein & Rainer Wiens, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey & Hank Roberts, as well as local favourites, Minotaurs.

If learning more about jazz is what interests you, there’s always the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, a collection of panel discussions with artists playing at the festival, and keynote speakers, which is presented by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The colloquium starts off Wednesday evening, with Nightingales in Berlin: Improvisation in the More than Human World, presented by David Rothenberg of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Rothenberg will also perform Thursday September 12 at Silence, beginning at noon.

By presenting a series of truly unique acts, as well as inventive experiences, the Guelph Jazz Festival, which runs from September 11-15, promises to truly live up to their vision statement of presenting music that invites listeners to experience the world anew.

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