June 19th, 2024

Jazz Picks: Great performances set for JazzFest’s final weekend

By Medicine Hat News on June 22, 2018.

Punch Drunk Cabaret, which specializes in rockabilly swing, are on the bill for the outdoor parkade concert Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

JOHN RONEY: The Koln Concert

We’re into the final weekend of JazzFest, with a wide array of free and ticketed events for the whole family.

Today and tomorrow, June 22 and 23 at noon, Medicine Hat native T Riley performs with her Bourbon Rebels in front of the Tim Hortons downtown. (The Medicine Hat Mall is a back-up.) Teresa Riley now resides in Vancouver where she is a musician and actor. Teresa is a swing dance enthusiast and the Bourbon Rebels were formed to do her part in keeping swing dance alive. Teresa’s music is upbeat and her performances are fused with energy and all about connecting with the audience.

T Riley and the Bourbon Rebels are also performing at the annual free family dance party on the top of the bus terminal parkade downtown. This event is a tradition and has gained national recognition for being one of the most unique venues in Canada.

Joining T Riley for this concert will be Edmonton’s steam punk band, Punch Drunk Cabaret. They specialize in rockabilly swing in a very contemporary fashion. The band mixes original tunes with classic standards and brings a high level of energy and showmanship to their live performances.

The parkade party gets underway at 6:30 p.m. on top of the downtown bus terminal parkade (lower level as a back-up) and is free of charge. Bring a lawn chair. Food and beverages will be available, and the Tim Hortons bus will be on site giving away coffee and fruit juice samples.

Today at 2 p.m., Calgary’s The Bow Djangos play gypsy jazz on the terrace of the Esplanade and Montreal’s premiere jazz vocalist Ranee Lee takes to the stage of the Esplanade Theatre at 7:30 p.m. (See previous Medicine Hat News Jazz Picks for full reviews of both of these fine artists.)

Following Ranee’s show, Montreal pianist John Roney plays a solo piano concert in the lobby of the Esplanade. This has become a classic venue for JazzFest, converting this beautiful space into an intimate venue with the piano in the centre of the lobby, surrounded by couches and chairs that put the audience in the closest proximity to the performer possible.

And this is a unique opportunity for Medicine Hat audiences as well. John is recreating the famous Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett, one of the most renowned jazz concerts ever performed and recorded.

Since his arrival in Montreal in 2001, John Roney has established himself as one of the most well-known and well-respected names in jazz piano. Titled “Memories of Tomorrow,” John has worked diligently on this project to preserve the integrity of the original work, while still leaving room for his own improvisations and musical decisions in the moment. After a year or so of working on this project, and a handful of important performances, John has found a balance between retaining the elements of what Keith Jarrett originally played alongside his own musicality and more contemporary innovations. This is indeed a rare opportunity.

JazzFest wraps up Sunday night at the Medicine Hat Brewing Company with Edmonton vocalist Ann Vriend. Volunteers and pass holders get in free, and after 7 p.m., any available seats go on sale to the public.

There are lots of ways to connect with JazzFest. The website at 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 can be found all over town, at coffee shops, the Esplanade, the Tourist Centre and the Public Library.

Tickets and passes are available at all Esplanade ticket outlets including tixx.ca.

Lyle Rebbeck is producer of Medicine Hat JazzFest.

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