Warm smiles and the dulcet tones of a jazz guitar that greeted those who came out to hear the lineup for the 2022 Jazz Sudbury Festival, this year held Sept. 8 to 10.
And not only did the launch happen at la Place des arts, but thanks to a partnership between Jazz Sudbury and the newly-opened downtown arts centre, the festival will be held there as well.
Festival director, Louis Simão, said at the launch he hopes that the partnership with Place des art will be a multi-year partnership.
“We believe it will allow us to strengthen our relationship with our core audience, while at the same time attracting new fans of jazz music,” he said.
Simao is new to Sudbury, a transplant from Toronto who fell in love with the city when he came with Patrica Cano, beloved local singer. Simao has played guitar for Cano for many years, in addition to playing piano and organ, and in June of 2021, he and his wife moved here. Simao said he is was immediately drawn to the festival, not just as a musician, but as a music-lover, and he is excited to see all the artists this year.
And what a lineup. The words ‘Juno-nominated’ and ‘Juno-award winning’ appear very frequently in the full concert list.
The show begins on Thursday, Sept. 8 with two shows on the la Grande Salle mainstage as well as an after party in Studio Desjardins, both at Place des arts.
First up is the Teva Sela Quartet with John Roney. Roney has previously recorded with the Silver Birch Quartet, and he’ll be playing with alto saxophonist and flutist from Israel, Tevet Sela, who Jazz Sudbury’s longtime artistic director, Allan Walsh, calls “a creative force with a luscious tone.”
This year you can check out Sudbury’s own Harvey King and the Grindstone, known for combining jazz, soul and rock and roll.
Friday, Sept. 19 will bring three acts to the Grande Salle mainstage, and another after party. First up is Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop, 2022 Juno winner for group jazz album, followed by Rich Brown and the New Abeng Quartet, a fusion band with jazz-funk and jazz rock influences, as well as a 2016 Juno nomination for group jazz album.
Also on Friday will be ES:MO, a combination of artists Elizabeth Sheppard, who has performed at the Sudbury festival three times before, and Michael Occhipinti, who will be adding his guitar to their new duo. Then, the after party takes a brass turn with the Heavyweights Brass Band, a group that Jazz Sudbury describes as a “seasoned blend of groove, energy, virtuosity and originality.” Walsh, who has performed with the band, described them as “New-Orleans style” and a sure reason to “bring your dancing shoes.”
Saturday night brings Caity Gyorgy, 2022 Juno-award winner for vocal jazz album, and someone Walsh describes as the future of Jazz music.
“These young people are coming out and making great, great art,” he said, adding that while it’s hard to lose well-known jazz musicians due to their advanced age, the kids are alright. “Some of the great masters are passing away, and everyone is saying, ‘who's going to replace them’,” Walsh told Sudbury.com. “But this new young scene? It's very exciting.”
Also on Saturday will be Sudbury native Sundar Viswanathan’s Avataar, 2022 Juno-award winner for group jazz album and then, rounding out the show, the always popular Grammy, Latin Grammy and Juno-award winner Alex Cuba. Then, at the Studio Desjardins After Party, Soul Stew will perform, described as a legendary mix of rhythm and blues, soul and funk.
This, in addition to the Jazz Walk, the famous New Orlean’s-style walk around downtown Sudbury. The walk is free, and will feature the Nickel City Dixie Stompers leading a jazz parade around the core of the city, with stops at The Alibi Room, Oscar’s and Station 84.
The tickets range in price depending on the night, and the prices are higher due to the limited capacity at Place des art, but Walsh said the centre will be a great addition to the festival. Inclement weather is no longer an issue, and not only did the arts centre consider lighting and acoustics in their design, but the layout will allow the festival to host multiple events at the same time, without the sound moving between studios, said Walsh.
Tickets for each individual performance range from $25 to $35 depending on the night (Saturday is most expensive, Thursday is least) and full evening tickets are $70 for Thursday night and $90 for Friday and Saturday night. You can get a limited weekend pass for $225, but for $300, you can not only attend all 11 concerts, but the after-party concerts as well, which are missing from the limited pass. You can find more information and tickets on the festival website, found here.
And if you are looking for Jazz all year long, Jazz Sudbury and Place des arts have forged a partnership offering weekly concerts as well. Held every Wednesday, at 6 p.m. in Le Bistro at Place des arts, the foray is new for Jazz Sudbury, and organizers will be releasing more information, as well as artists, soon.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com. She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized, including the Black, Indigenous, newcomer and Francophone communities, as well as 2SLGBTQ+ and issues of the downtown core.