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Label Watch: Songlines

Tony Reif

Vancouver (British Columbia) as a cultural enclave is North America’s final frontier: with its avid, freewheeling arts scene, ethnic crazyquilt, and open-minded sensibilities, you can feel those Pacific breezes whisper, “anything goes.”

That newer, keener city by the bay’s DuMaurier Jazz Festival presents its rainbow spectrum of bands in a hodge-podge of unpretentious venues-from tiny lofts to sprawling arenas, CBC studios to Victorian opera houses-to audiences of heterogeneous mix (age, gender, race, economics) and provenance (bored grungers, cowboy seekers, refined Asians, expansive mains/reamers). The festival’s approach seems awesomely intrepid to a visitor from Boston (where a perverse brew of indolence, apathy, racism, profiteering, negativism, academics, history, and politics poisons grassroots growth) until you realize that they’ve hand-raised this audience over 20 years.

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