06/19/2013 02:41 EDT | Updated 08/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Get Your Jazz On, Vancouver

Jazz Fest is almost upon us and that means that it's time once again for yours truly to plan your concert attending schedule. Keeping in mind that having a good time all of the time is my primary aspiration, I'm hoping to check out a wide variety of artists from Canada and elsewhere throughout this year's TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Just a few thoughts before we get rolling though...

First of all there is so much good music to be heard at this year's festival that it would be much easier for me to make a short list of shows that are worth avoiding than it is for me to single out a hand full of great artists. Of course this would be entirely subjective and might be detrimental to my own musical endeavours so I think we'll not do that.

Next wont see me recommending or blogging about any of the marquee names at this (or any) festival. I mean you don't really need me to tell you that, if you can, you should go see Herbie you?

But you probably do need me to encourage you to do a little homework and check out some of the artists who may not be household names. In particular I'd like to encourage you to make an effort to support our home grown musicians. There are some wonderful Canadian musicians appearing at the festival and they will most certainly not be getting as much media attention as the international stars. That means it's on you, the music lover, to do some research and seek out our local and national musical treasures.

phil dwyer tom wakling

Phil Dwyer and Tom Wakling will be appearing with Allan Jones at The Iron Works June 25thPhoto: Jesse Cahill

Last but not least: Can we stop having debates about what Jazz is or is not? I always seem to have this discussion around festival time and regardless of my own opinions, I'm perfectly fatigued with the conversation. Really. It's boring. Now that I think of it, conversations about innovation in music (in the present tense) are boring too. Give it a few decades and then we'll know whether it was innovative or not.

All I'm trying say is... It's like the man said, "There are two kinds of music: country and western". No, that's not right. What I'm trying to say is: put the labels and the adjectives aside and just listen to music (and don't forget about the Canadians).

Now that we've got that out of the way here's my picks for the first six days of the 2013 Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Friday June 21st

French American Peace Ensemble featuring François Tusques (France, USA)

Saturday June 22nd

Peggy Lee Band (Vancouver, Canada)

Soweto Kinch (England)

Larry Goldings Trio (USA)

Sunday June 23rd

Scott White 4Tet (Victoria, Canada)

James Danderfer presents THE HUMMINGBIRD BRIGADE (Vancouver, Canada)

Monday June 24th

Seamus Blake, Phil Dwyer, Alan Jones (workshop) (Canada, USA)

Lee Fields & the Expressions with Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots (USA)

Tuesday June 25th

Curtis Macdonald Trio (Canada, USA)


Jesse Cahill's Nightcrawlers (Vancouver...not optional!)

Alan Jones Canadian All Star Sextet (Canada, USA)

Wednesday June 26th

Hutchinson Andrew Trio (Calgary, Canada)

Oliver Gannon Quartet (Vancouver, Canada)

These are just a few of the dozens of great shows happening between June 21st and 26th-- and by no means is this a complete list of all that is awesome during the first six days of the jazz fest so please go HERE and check out their calendar.

As for me, with a little luck and some serious bike riding, I'll be at all of these shows so if you see me please come and say hello.