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Preview of 25th Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Half a million people are expected to attend the 10-day string of concerts, performances and events

Chick Corea in Concert

The venerable Vancouver International Jazz Festival is making its 25th mark on the worldwide jazz scene this summer when it presents over 400 concerts featuring 1,800 musicians. Nearly 500,000 people are expected to attend the 10-day festival, which runs from June 25 – July 4, 2010.

“We are very excited about the fact that we have built this major international jazz festival and it is one of the most anticipated and acclaimed festivals in the world now,” media director and co-founder of the festival John Orysik said. “The Vancouver festival is sort of a global summit meeting. We really take the word ‘international’ in our moniker seriously.”

George Benson, Chick Corea, Nikki Yanofsky, Alexander von Schlippenbach, John Pizzarelli, Bill Frisell, Joshua Redman, Nils Petter Molvaer, Joyce Moreno and Raul Midon are only a scattering of the names scheduled to perform at this summer’s festival.

The Vancouver Festival, long known for showcasing a solid mix of both mainstream artists and those on the creative cutting edge, presents artists not only from Canada and the United States, but Europe, Asia, Australia and beyond.

“The festival provides an opportunity for collaboration between different artists from all over the world to create unique combinations,” Orysik said. “There are many instances when the magic happens…you won’t find that kind of variety at many festivals.”

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival, organizers commissioned an interdisciplinary project titled “Fixed, Fragmented and Fluid”, which will display animation alongside a live concert performance. Part of the festival’s innovation series, the project features graphic scores created by UK bassist and composer Barry Guy and live abstract animation by Quebecois animator Michel Gagné. The project will “present a concert that is outside of the norms of normal concert going,” Orysik said.

Orysik emphasized that developing young talent is one of the festival’s main goals. Last year 16-year-old Nikki Yanofsky performed a somewhat “jazzy” version of Oh Canada at the festival that somewhat polarized the crowd, Orysik said. After performing the anthem at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Yanofsky is returning this year to an even bigger venue to accommodate her growing fan base.

Another goal of the Vancouver Festival is to give everyone access to jazz, despite their means, Orysik said. Nearly 150 out of the 400 scheduled concerts are presented free of charge.

Some highlights of the Vancouver Festival include 14-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Chick Corea playing a highly anticipated solo show; the Bill Frisell Trio featuring Eyvind Kang and Rudy Royston performing a series of guitar-driven soundscapes; Stanley Clarke performing with Japanese pianist Hiromi; and the guitar duo of Strunz & Farah performing Latin-flavored acoustic fusion. The Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio, led by the German pianist with British saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens, will take the stage early on in the festival, while von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra will perform the following day.

Tickets are available for purchase by calling Ticketmaster at (604) 280-4444 or by calling the Coastal Jazz Box Office at (604) 872-5200. Visit Coastal Jazz for further details.

Originally Published