PEI Jazz & Blues

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The TD PEI Jazz & Blues Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary with a 5-day celebration of music, culture and art beginning June 26, featuring 140 musicians in multiple venues in downtown Charlottetown with the main stage in a large tent at Confederation Landing.

Performers include Jimmy Rankin, Ashley MacIsaac, Erin Costelo, Summer and Bray from The Mountain Faith Band, Reeny Smith, Catherine MacLellan’s tribute to Aretha Franklin, Myles Goodwyn, Garrett Mason, Nicke Earle, Andrew Waite, Logan Richard, Alicia Toner, Les Paiens, The Charlottetown Jazz Ensemble, Ken Fornetran, Emmanuelle LeBlanc of Vishtèn, Grahame Rhodes, Bruce Cassidy, and more.

“We have extended our festival to begin on June 26 with a special screening of the film Rumble. This will be a joint presentation of Film PEI and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy presented at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall. The documentary film traces the impact of Indigenous peoples in music that influenced jazz, blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll,” says Jim Power, President and Festival Chair of the Board. The screening will feature speakers from the Indigenous community. After the movie, the festival will present an Island Jazz show featuring Ken Fornetran with Emmanuelle LeBlanc at Baba’s Lounge.

The Doug Riley show will be held June 27 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church downtown. Grahame Rhodes is the “Doug Riley Artist” for the 2019 TD PEI Jazz and Blues Festival. The designation is awarded each year to an Island musician who exemplifies the spirit of dedication to musical excellence as personified by Doug Riley, the late keyboard master, composer, producer and arts exponent who chose PEI as his home.

Grahame Rhodes is a veteran jazz trombone player based in PEI who has performed with top jazz musicians including Doug Riley, Duke Ellington, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hubert Laws, Rob McConnell, Ian McDougall, Terry Clarke, Jane Bunnett, Bruce Cassidy, Paul Horn, Jay McShann and more. Grahame’s recent album Giant Steps features top Canadian jazz players Don Thompson on piano, Neil Swainson on acoustic bass and Terry Clarke on drums, and was nominated for a 2019 ECMA for Jazz. Grahame will present tunes from Giant Steps, and will be joined by his trumpet and EVI player Bruce Cassidy of Blood Sweat & Tears fame.

Bruce Cassidy first started playing trumpet in Montreal in the 1950s with Joe Sealy and Hubie Basso. After studying at Berklee College in Boston, he moved to Toronto where he became a fixture on the Toronto jazz scene recording seven albums with Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass. He has recorded, played and toured with Doug Riley’s Dr. Music, Lighthouse, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Anne Murray as well as composing and performing with Blood Sweat and Tears, producing their last two albums and acting as musical director. He is an expert performer on the EVI or electronic valve instrument created by Nyle Steiner. Bruce is on the faculty of Jazz Studies at Humber College, Toronto.

Doors open at 6:30 pm and music starts at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, corner of Prince and Grafton, in downtown Charlottetown. For details about concerts and tickets visit jazzandblues.ca and follow the festival on social media @PEIJazzAndBlues.