For the second year, Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett has proclaimed April 30th as International Jazz Day, which will feature a series of live music events in downtown Peterborough.
The proclamation was celebrated at an event this afternoon at The Venue, where local jazz musicians and co-chairs Chelsey Bennett and Craig Paterson — who launched last year’s International Jazz Day Peterborough — also announced the musical events taking place.
“The goal of International Jazz Day Peterborough is to bring together our community, local businesses. and jazz enthusiasts so that people can enjoy the diversity of the genre today,” Chelsey says.
“We are excited to show people from Peterborough and outside of Peterborough how vibrant and culturally diverse the downtown is,” Craig adds. “This event will highlight the world-class quality of restaurants and music that Peterborough has to offer.”
In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day to celebrate “the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.”
Here are the events planned for International Jazz Day Peterborough:
Robi Botos at Showplace Performance Centre on April 29
International Jazz Day Peterborough will kick off tne night before with a feature performance by the Robi Botos Trio at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29th at the Nexicom Studio at Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-7469).
Robi Botos — who won this year’s solo Jazz Album Of The Year Juno for Movin’ Forward — was born into a musical Roma family in Hungary in 1978. He began his musical career when he was a child in Budapest, playing drums and percussion and taking up piano when he was just seven years old. In 1998, he immigrated to Canada as a refugee and has been a fixture of the Toronto jazz scene ever since.
Mentored by his friend the late Oscar Peterson, Robi has since received many accolades including a 2007 National Jazz Award for “Keyboardist of the Year”, First Place Prizes at the 2008 Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition and 2008 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and, most recently, the TD Grand Jazz Award at The Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2012.
Robi has recorded and performed with a wide range of great jazz musicians, including Pat Labarbera, Branford Marsalis, Marcus Belgrave, Steve Gadd, Terri Lyne Carrington, Roberta Gambarini, Peter Appleyard, Molly Johnson, Jackie Richardson, Dave Young, Paul Novotny, Joey DeFrancesco, Toots Thielemans, Phil Dwyer, and Guido Basso.
Tickets for the 75-minute set are $20 per person, and will be available in advance at the Showplace Box Office or online at www.showplace.org. Any remaining tckets will also be available at the door.
On Saturday, April 30th, International Jazz Day Peterborough presents “Dine with Jazz”, where four pairs of jazz musicians team up with four restaurants in downtown Peterborough to present dinner-time concerts.
Pete Woolidge and Federico Pontani at Dolce Vita
Pete Woolidge and Federico Pontani will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th at Dolce Vita (413 George St., Peterborough, 705-743-3339).
Pete Woolidge is an accomplished jazz pianist based in Peterborough. He has been entertaining audiences around the continent for more than 30 years.
Joining him on guitar is Federico Pontani, a talented guitar player who has played in numerous bands here and in Italy.
Mike Graham and Dennis Pendrith at the Shish Kabob HutMike Graham and Dennis Pendrith will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th at the Shish Kabob Hut (220 King St., Peterborough, 705-745-3260).
Mike is a successful guitarist, vocalist, composer, educator, and music producer. Dennis is a sensational bass player, having toured and recorded with many of Canada’s elite acts, including Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe.
Bif Hannon and Donna Collison at Curry Village
Bif Hannon and Donna Collison will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th at Curry Village (306 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-1432).
Biff has played jazz for many years, touring with Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson and Doc Severinson. He has also been the music director for jazz singers Anita O’Day and Nancy Wilson. He now lives in Peterborough. Donna Collison has been involved in music in Peterborough her whole life, singing, arranging, teaching, and playing piano.
Mike Francis and Neal Davis at Brio Gusto
Mike Francis and Neal Davis will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th at Brio Gusto (182 Charlotte St., Peterborough, 705-745-6100).
Mike is a studio guitarist, writer, and record producer in the Toronto recording scene. He has recorded with Joe Sealey, Jackie Richardson, Nelly Furtado, Robi Botos, Natalie McMaster, and many more. Joining Mike will be Neal on bass.
After-Dinner Jazz Jam Session at The Oxford
To finish celebrating International Jazz Day Peterborough, there will be an “After-Dinner Jazz Jam Session” for local jazz players, hosted by pianist Rob Phillips and vocalist Chelsey Bennett.
The session will start at 9 p.m. at The Oxford Parlour and Patio (172 Simcoe St., 705-874-1111). Everyone is welcome to come and play, come and listen, or both.
International Jazz Day Peterborough is presented by Kawartha Accounting with sponsorship from Peterborough Community Savings, LLF Lawyers, Peterborough DBIA, Dolce Vita, and The All Canadian Jazz Festival.
Media sponsors are CHEX/Corus Entertainment and kawarthaNOW.
All photos courtesy of International Jazz Day Peterborough except where noted.