Days and nights of hot riffs – York’s Jazz Festival

York University’s jazz artists are celebrating the end of term in time-honoured tradition, with three days and nights of hot riffs and cool licks in the Jazz Festival, running to Thursday, March 25.

This year’s festival, which opened March 23, marks the 30th anniversary of the jazz program at York, which pioneered university-level jazz studies in Canada and continues to enjoy a national reputation as one of the country’s leading jazz schools.

Left: Mike Murley

Many of the leading lights of Canada’s jazz scene are York alumni. They include Mike Murley (BFA Spec. Hons. ’86), multiple Juno Award-winning saxophonist; Aaron Davis (BFA Spec. Hons. ’79), composer and pianist with the Holly Cole Trio; Michael Occhipinti (BFA Spec. Hons. ’92), guitarist, and Paul Neufeld (BFA Spec. Hons. ’92), pianist, leaders of the award-winning big band NOJO; Don Ross (BFA Spec. Hons. ’83), National Fingerstyle Guitar champion; and Al Henderson (BA ’76, MFA ’83), Time Warp co-leader, bassist and composer, to name just a few.

 Directed by some of Canada’s most celebrated jazz musicians – many of whom studied at York – the bi-annual Jazz Festival showcases some of the exceptional emerging talent in York’s Music Department.

If you’re near a radio today between 6:30 and 7pm, tune in to Jazz FM 91.1 to hear York contract faculty member, jazz drummer Barry Elmes, who will join host Larry Green to talk about 30 years of jazz at York.

Here’s what’s happening today at the fesitval today:

        • 12:30pm: Jazz Ensembles
        • 7:30pm: Jazz Vocalists & Ensembles

The public is invited to detour from Canada’s world-renowned jazz club, The Top O’ The Senator, to the “Top O’ The Allen” (York’s Jazz Festival site) to catch the jazz stars of tomorrow in a candlelit club setting.

                                                                            Right: Barry Elmes

The Jazz Festival will be held in York’s McLaughlin Performance Hall. Midday concerts are free, while admission for the evening shows is $10 and $5 for students. For more information, contact the music department at 416-736-5186.

This article was provided by the Faculty of Fine Arts.