By Medicine Hat News on May 18, 2018.
The JazzFest 2018 lineup has been announced. In just four weeks, Medicine Hat will once again come alive to the sounds of jazz and a wide array of styles as the clubs, streets and concert halls host local, provincial, national and international musicians. This year, JazzFest presents more than 60 events spanning eight days, with about 150 musicians and 23 different venues around town.
JazzFest 2018 is dedicated to the memory of one of Canada’s greatest jazz musicians and citizens, senator Tommy Banks. Tommy played the first ever event for the Medicine Hat Jazz Society in the basement of the legion 28 years ago, and performed many times at JazzFest over the past 28 years.
The 22nd edition will feature some highlights that have become essential to JazzFest, like the dance parties on the downtown bus terminal parkade and the hangar at the airport to the entertainment on the sidewalk outside Tim Hortons downtown and the terrace of the Esplanade.
JazzFest has also added a new venue. The Medicine Hat Brewing Company will be the site for this year’s wrap-up concert with Edmonton’s Ann Vriend. This event will feature brewery tours, food available from the kitchen and of course craft beer on tap.
Last year JazzFest introduced a swing dance, partnering with the local swing dance club, and this year it’s is back with one of Canada’s premier 1930s style jazz vocalists, Alex Pangman. The event takes place in the Beveridge Landmark Events. Swing dance lessons are being offered during the day for those looking to get a start at this style and JazzFest is promising to get everyone up on the dance floor, experienced or not.
Over the next few weeks, this column will be taking a look at this year’s artists.
We begin this week with Frisson, a young band based out of Ohio, but with members from across the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe. This eight-piece band met as classmates at Oberlin College, and after their recent graduation, have kept the group together and are fast making a name for themselves.
Falling into that new cutting-edge genre cultivated in recent years by the likes of Snarky Puppy, Frisson has the chops to be the next big group on the horizon in this style that brings together influences such as jazz, hip hop, samba and electronic music.
The elements of jazz are there; improvisation, strong rhythmic grounding, energy and powerful emotion. The rhythmic beds are groove based, and like their name implies, Frisson plays pieces that grow and evolve over composed and improvised sections, building into exciting and climactic music that is all out in energy and ecstatic waves of intensity.
Frisson is making its first trip to Canada and will be opening the Medicine Hat JazzFest on June 17 at 2 p.m. in the Esplanade Theatre.
There are lots of ways to connect with JazzFest. The web site at http://www.medicinehatjazzfest.com has all of the information about the artists as well as daily schedules, links to sound and video files and a downloadable brochure. Follow JazzFest on Twitter and Instagram at @medhatjazz. You can also follow the Facebook page and join the Facebook group by searching Medicine Hat JazzFest and keep up on all video content on the YouTube channel.
Brochures have been delivered all over town, to coffee shops, the Esplanade, the Tourist Centre, the Cultural Centre and the Medicine Hat Public Library. They will be in the Medicine Hat News in the coming weeks.
Tickets and passes are available at all Esplanade ticket outlets including http://www.tixx.ca.
Lyle Rebbeck is producer of Medicine Hat JazzFest.