JazzFest brings under-recognized talent and big names

Terell Stafford Quintet plays Alix Goolden Hall

Terell Stafford and his Quintet bring their post bop/modern jazz sound to the Alix Goolden Hall at 7:30 p.m. on June 28.

Jazz fans will know the names Wayne Shorter, George Benson and Chris Botti – all headlining at the upcoming Jazzfest. But there’s plenty of other big talents coming to Victoria for the 10-day festival as well.

“They may not have the recognition as the headliners but I feel these are just going to be fantastic shows and I hope Victoria doesn’t miss out on them just because they’re not household names,” said Darryl Mar, artistic director of the festival for the past 28 years.

For instance, the Terell Stafford Quintet plays Alix Goolden Hall Thursday evening. Earlier that day, the trumpet player also leads a free workshop on constructing a solo, time and feel issues, and melodic development.

Mar first heard Stafford about 10 years ago, and calls him an under-recognized artist.

As a pure, mainstream jazz artist, he doesn’t have the commercial appeal of other jazz genres, said Mar. “He’s an amazing jazz trumpeter. I’ve been trying to get him (to come to the festival) for many years. This is his first year here as a leader of his band (but) he has been here before as a side man.”

Another mainstream jazz artist Mar recommends is Eliane Elias Brasiliera Quartet.

For people interested in world music “with a groove,” Mar recommends all three shows in Centennial Square in the evening: Delhi 2 Dublin, Balkan Beat Box, and Los Amigos Invisibles. For people familiar with the hyped-up party atmosphere created by Vancouver-based Delhi 2 Dublin, the other two groups bring the same amount of energy, said Mar.

“A lot of out-of-towners are very surprised at the large scope and diversity of our festival considering our population,” he said.

This year, 100 listeners of a jazz radio station from Seattle are coming to Victoria for the festival. Eighty per cent of attendees, however are local.

Festival organizers hope to once again attract 43,000 people to the festival, featuring 425 artists at 13 stages. It runs June 22 to July 1, and includes 25 free performances at Centennial Square and the Bay Centre. For more information, visit jazzvictoria.ca.

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