Winnipeg Jazz fest unveils lineup with St. Vincent, John Legend

The Winnipeg International Jazz Festival's 25th anniversary season will fill the Exchange District with all manner of jazz music this June.

Winnipeg International Jazz Festival announces 25th anniversary lineup

Arturo Sandoval plays at Manitoba Theatre Centre on June 19. (courtesy Jazz Winnipeg)

The Winnipeg International Jazz Festival's 25th anniversary season will fill the Exchange District with all manner of jazz music this June. 

This year's lineup has just been announced with featured acts from around the world and around the corner.
R&B hero John Legend performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre on June 21. (courtesy Jazz Winnipeg)

"I'm especially proud of the lineup this year," said executive producer Paul Nolin. "I think we've got a really good program together that balances traditional jazz with more contemporary and of course some of the cross-over genres."

Headlining the festival at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and Burton Cummings Theatre are:

  • Soul and R&B superstar John Legend
  • Buzz artist St. Vincent
  • Legendary Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval
  • ​Rising mainstream singer Gregory Porter
  • Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the Marsalis family
  • Blues master James Cotton
  • Hip hop artist Shad in a double bill with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble from Chicago
  • Local boy Curtis Nowosad joined by Jimmy Greene, where a portion of each ticket sold will be donated to the Ana Grace Project, in memory of Greene's daughter who was killed in a school shooting in Connecticut
Marking the 11-day celebration will be a special 25th anniversary photo retrospective, which will be on display in Old Market Square for the first four days, then moved over to the lobby of MTC for the remainder of the festival.
St. Vincent was previously announced as one of the festival's headliners. (Jazz Winnipeg)

Alongside big international names are loads of Manitoba acts, including Ismaila Alfa, Jodie Borle, Martha Brooks with Jeff Presslaff, Doug Edmond, Papa Mambo, French Press and many more.

"I think it's essential -- being able to celebrate the community that we're a part of," said Nolin. "Showing the country and the continent this world class amazing talent that we've got here right in our own back yard. It's great!"

Nolin feels that to be an effective community event and to be a dynamic music festival as a whole, introducing a diversity of musical styles is important.

"Jazz is at the centre of our mandate, and it's the main thrust of what we do, but in an effort to excite the public and animate the event and fully engage the community as a whole, that's where the diversity of musical styles comes in," he said.
Curtis Nowosad comes home from New York and has invited Jimmy Greene to perform with him. (Leif Norman)

Look for rapper Killer Mike, rockers The Catamounts and Federal Lights and roots singer Ingrid Gatin, among others.

The festival will be bookended by outdoor free concerts on The Cube stage at Old Market Square.

The opening weekend is skewed towards youth, with a big Latin day on Friday, and the closing weekend is devoted to traditional jazz in a café setting. The idea is also to fill the streets with jazz music as people move from club to club.

Like last year, festival venues will be concentrated in the Exchange District to create a density of activity and a real festival atmosphere. Nolin hopes people will try to catch a number of acts each night.

"We're trying to create that sense of celebration and encouraging people to check out different sounds, different genres and voices. It's a lot of fun. We're rethinking the festival as an experience," he said.

The 2014 TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival takes place from June 12 to 22.