The Pender Harbour Jazz Festival comes to the Sunshine Coast September 18 to 20 with an impressive lineup of musical talents from near and far. Carole Rubin, the Festival’s Artistic Director, likens the process of putting together the program to that of creating a fine meal. “A little bit of this and a little bit of that and nothing overpowering the other,” she explains. Rubin receives over 200 submissions per year, and from those, she chooses the performers she feels will best represent a broad spectrum of jazz music. “I want to showcase as many different styles of jazz as possible,” says Rubin. “So people who think they either don’t know what jazz is, or think they don’t like jazz, realize that the swing music they’ve been listening to with the Dorsey Brothers, or Cole Porter, or Ella Fitzgerald – that’s jazz.”
Two days of Jazzapalooza concerts are interspersed with free concerts throughout the weekend. One of the free events is the Play It Forward master class with jazz musicians Miles Black and Tom Keenlyside. A longstanding Festival tradition, the free clinic gives local high school students the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry. Rubin recounts how Kristian Braathen was inspired when he attended the clinic as a former Coast student. Now Braathen is a jazz musician in his own right and is playing the Festival on Saturday with his band, Biaxablue.
The last three years, the Festival has also started bringing jazz icons to the Coast. “We like to treat people to legends of jazz,” says Rubin, and this year features drummer Louis Hayes, who has played with such jazz greats as Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, and Oscar Peterson. That the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival is able to attract such high calibre acts speaks to the Festival’s uniqueness. “Musicians all around the world know about us,” says Rubin. “It is unique in how intimate all our venues are. Literally the audience is sitting within touching distance of the musicians in most of our venues. All of our venues are hanging out over the ocean. It’s relaxed, it’s beautiful, everybody is friendly.” Hayes plays two shows with The Cannonball Legacy Band on Saturday night Sept. 19, but as of press time the first show was already sold out. For complete information on the Festival’s program and to buy tickets, visit penderharbourmusic.ca/jazz-festival/2015/