Jazz festival kicks off tonight

The Department of Music’s annual fall Jazz Festival kicks off tonight with a concert by York’s four Jazz Choirs at 7:30pm.

The four-day festival showcases talented young musicians in York’s Jazz Program, Canada’s oldest and largest university jazz program. Come out for midday and evening performances by students directed by some of the top jazz musicians in the country.

The choirs singing tonight are directed by Bob Hamper and Mim Adams, followed by small jazz ensembles directed by Frank Falco, Kelly Jefferson and Mike Murley (left), named Saxophonist of the Year at the 2005 National Jazz Awards.

Tomorrow, the midday concert features jazz vocalists directed by Richard Whiteman. In the evening, the spotlight falls on jazz ensembles directed by Kelly Jefferson, Lorne Lofsky, Roy Patterson, Artie Roth and Kevin Turcotte, named Trumpet Player of the Year at the 2005 National Jazz Awards.

On Thursday, jazz vocalists directed by Bob Fenton take centre stage at midday. And in the evening, you can catch jazz ensembles directed by Mark Eisenman (below), named 1999 Acoustic Pianist of the Year by The Jazz Report, Lofsky, Mike Malone, Anthony Michelli, Turcotte and Jim Vivian.

The festival winds up Friday with a rousing evening performance by the York University Jazz Orchestra directed by Al Henderson.

All the performances take place the Accolade East Building. The Jazz Choirs and Jazz Orchestra play in the Recital Hall, while the small vocal and instrumental ensembles appear in the more intimate, club-like setting of the Student Lounge, room 219 on the second floor at the northeast corner of the building. Midday concerts are scheduled 12:30 to 1:30pm. Evening performances start at 7:30pm. Admission is free.