Experience jazz around town, in clubs and on the hill
By Sophia Yang | June 23, 2022
I’d be lying if I said I don’t picture every jazz pianist with Ryan Gosling’s face since seeing La La Land — that’s how limited my knowledge of jazz is. Not so for Kent Sangster, who has been directing the Edmonton International Jazz Festival since 2007.
“Before the Internet, people needed to go to the concert to see what the shows were like, but some people might not like the surprise,” says Sangster. “Now we have performance clips on our event pages. You can have a taste before getting the tickets, and it works really well for first timers.”
Sangster understands that jazz has a niche market, and it’s not the easiest genre of music to share, “although Edmonton has a great history of jazz festivals, and people here are still committed to jazz events all year round.”
When asked for recommendations of beginner-friendly performances from this year’s lineup, Sangster already had several ones in mind: the pay-by-donation performances at Bellamy’s Lounge at Chateau Lacombe have more of a club setting and are lighter shows that go late. For those who want to swing by downtown during the day, there are free live performances at the Ice District.
At the end of this year’s schedule, there’s a two-day outdoor celebration series at Snow Valley ski hill, titled Jazz on the Hill.
“Some aspects of jazz music are really suitable for smaller, more intimate settings. But there is also jazz music that can be enjoyed better in the outdoor environment, having people in a celebratory mood,” explains Sangster. “I’m excited to see people at the Jazz on the Hill. It’d be pretty surprising for people to see how energetic jazz can be, especially when it’s performed outdoors.”