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What's happening for the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival (and Beyond)?

Jazz festival scales up with accent on youth
The Brooks Secondary School Jazz Band, a 35-member ensemble, will travel from Powell River for the festival.

One year after the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival expanded its geographic reach to include live performances in Roberts Creek and Sechelt, this year’s event is prepared to burst through generational barriers.

Following six days of prelude performances, the weekend festival opener on June 15 will feature the Brooks Secondary Jazz Band, made up of 35 teenaged Powell River music students.

“There’s so much talent out there,” said Paul Hood, coordinator for the 28th annual Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival (and Beyond). Hood has been part of the non-profit organization since moving to the Coast in 2001, five years after Graham Walker established the original festival. Longtime organizer Linda Williams, who is taking a step back to focus on other events, remains a part of the committee.

“We want to make sure that we cycle through [the talent] and get some things that people have not heard before,” explained Hood.

Hood spotted the Brooks Secondary Jazz Band during a trip to the Townsite Jazz Festival in Powell River. “I was just blown away,” he recalled. “I went to [director] Paul Cummings and I just said, Paul, we would kill to have you down to open up our festival.” The group is notable for its virtuosity as well as sheer size — it  includes three upright string bass players.

During the festival lead-up, on June 8, another event will put young ensembles in the spotlight

The Youth Open Mic Night at the Gumboot Café in Roberts Creek has designated 16 performance slots for groups of musicians aged 25 and under. Scotty Collison, the high-adrenaline emcee of Coastal Hosts and Entertainment, will host the event.

“It’s not just limited to jazz,” said Hood. “We’re expanding the reach, bringing a really broad mix of types of music that all can be loosely held under the jazz banner.”

Concerts during the weeklong prelude take place at a variety of venues. The locally-based trio Martini Madness (Kevin Crofton, Graham Walker and Andy Amanovich) will also perform on June 8, playing everything from Bossa Nova to to blues in the concourse of Gibsons’ Sunnycrest Mall

The next day, at Banditry Cider in Gibsons, Walker will re-appear for a children’s show that includes the Jazzy Barn Cats: Kaia Nielsen on bass, and Heidi Kurz on flute and harp. Action shifts to the Roberts Creek Legion on June 11, when flautist, saxophonist and vocalist Karen Graves headlines a quartet also comprised of Budge Schachte on guitar, Dan Howard on bass and Mike Ardagh on drums.

Even the Gibsons Public Library was conscripted as a performance venue. On June 12, Wendy Hibberd (appearing as “The Divine Ms W”) will sing among the bookshelves while accompanied by pianist Anneka Bonser. That evening, just blocks away, the high-energy blues/rock quartet Magic Carpet Ride is scheduled to perform at Tapworks, including keyboardist Peter van Deursen, guitarist Al Alford, saxophonist Graham Ord and drummer Tim Rannard.

The Roberts Creek Legion hosts the Michael Agranovich Trio on June 13. Agranovich is a recent transplant from Vancouver to the Coast, and leads Mike Ardagh (drums) and Gavin Youngash (bass) in funky standards and conversational improvisation.

The locally based group Mimosa (whose music is composed by Anna Lumiere, Rebecca Shoichet and Karen Graves) will launch its latest album during a concert at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre on June 14. “Support in home territory means the world to us,” said pianist Lumiere, whose wrist fracture during a recent hiking trip forced the group to cancel three earlier CD launches. “The cast is off now and I am slowly regaining function, just in time,” she added.

The Mainstage weekend of June 15 and 16 includes outdoor performances at Sechelt’s Hackett Park and Winegarden Park in Gibsons. Following the Brooks big band, the Afrobeat ensemble Camaro 67 will perform in the Hackett amphitheatre. That night, bassist Adam Thomas (joined by his Funk All Stars) returns following an acclaimed 2023 festival appearance, for a performance at the Gibsons Legion.

Sunday, June 16 dawns with a “jazz brunch” at the Gibsons Public Market (vocalist Trudi Diening and multi-instrumentalist Miles Black), followed by three mainstage performances in Winegarden Park: the Wanda Nowicki Quartet, the Vince Mai Quintet (led by Mai, a prolific career trumpeter), and world music rhythms by Tambura Rasa, a group that plays music from the Balkans, Spain, Turkey and Middle East.

Festival artists will assemble at the 101 Brewhouse that night for the Après Jazz Jam, featuring an intoxicatingly free-form lineup.

“This jazz festival offers a truly wonderful mix of styles and flavours,” said Hood. “There is definitely something for everyone, even people who think they don’t like jazz.”

See the festival schedule at