News / Calgary

JazzYYC seduces its way through Calgary this weekend

The annual jazz festival flies in world-renowned players

Local vocalist Johanna Sillanpaa.

Courtesy Stephanie Moore

Local vocalist Johanna Sillanpaa.

There’s no slack on the sax in Calgary this weekend – JazzYYC is here.

This year’s headliners are the kind of top brass you won’t want to pass (on).

On Friday, guitarist Trevor Giancola hit the Ironwood main stage with sax player Matt Marantz.

“This is our young lions show,” said artistic producer Kodi Hutchinson. “They’re players from the Canadian and U.S. scene who are cutting edge – really fantastic players. The music should be a mix of swing and adventurous. It’ll be a very energetic show.”

Saturday is Alberta night, with vocalist Johanna Sillanpaa and Sheldon Zandboer Quartet. Zandboer is a pianist from Calgary.

Sunday will see a totally different flavour from Quebec group Auguste Quartet. Since 1997, the group has played more than 450 shows out of their home base in Montreal, often travelling around the world.

“These are some of the top players out of Eastern Canada,” Hutchinson said.

Not sure about Jazz?

JazzYYC is putting on their annual swing night on Saturday. A top swing group is not only going to perform, but teach a little through demonstrations with the crowd. It’s an ode to the swing culture of the 40s, and an interactive way to get involved in jazz.

If you want more of a sample platter of different styles, there’s also the annual Jazz Walk, which is a free tour of the various jazz venues on the music mile with short sessions from different bands.

Hutchinson said it’s a great experience, as people generally lump all jazz together and don’t realize there are different types of jazz within the genre.

“I kind of joke with people – when I hear someone say to me, ‘I don’t like jazz,’ my response is, ‘well, I don’t like rock ‘n roll because I don’t like the Rolling Stones,” Hutchinson said.

“You know what I mean – you can’t discount an entire genre of music because of one thing that you’ve heard.”

He added with pop and rock music, it’s easy to get a taste for different musicians, as it’s so mainstream, but with jazz it takes a little more work.

It’s totally worth it though.

JazzYYC runs until Nov. 12. Visit for more information.

More on