I know we’re still a ways away from the start of Spring but there’s nothing like the lineup announcement for the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival (June 22 – July 1, 2018) to kick my summer planning into high gear. Here are my picks for can’t miss shows.
Dee Dee Bridgewater & the Memphis Soulphony
A huge voice and a big horn sound will take the stage to testify at this year’s festival. Dee Dee Bridgewater is known for her jazz chops but recently she’s headed into the direction of soul and that big gospel sound. Bridgewater will hit the stage to sing original material as well as favourites by artists like Al Green and Gladys Knight. It’s gritty, soulful and very vintage.
Jazz Fans Unite
He’s played Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals and now American saxophone great Kamasi Washington is taking on the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. He’s recorded with music superstar Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp A Butterfly and in 2015 his first solo album The Epic was met with critical acclaim.
City and Colour
It was a perfect date night the last time Canadian musician Dallas Green popped by the festival in 2016. Under the name City and Colour, he records beautiful acoustic ballads that will echo through the Bessborough Gardens. Fans will see Green next as he pays tribute to Gord Downie on this year’s Juno broadcast.
The Flaming Lips
It’s been named “One of the 50 bands you must see before you die” by Q Magazine, this summer is your chance to see The Flaming Lips. The band is known for the rock spectacle it creates on stage. Robots, confetti cannons and giant inflatables, you never know what this band will do.
They are breaking down musical borders and sharing the results with all of us. Saskatoon audiences will have the chance to take on the experimental side of jazz with Austria’s Shake Stew. The group’s work has been described as a musical journey with rule-less improvisation. If you like the avant garde, this one’s for you.
It’s been a while since Juno-winning Kellylee Evans has been on the Saskatoon stage. The jazz/groove singer last performed at the festival in 2011 and that was quite nearly the last time we could’ve heard from her at all. In 2013, Evans was struck by lightning, an event that lefter her trouble breathing and even speaking. The artist’s road to recovery has been long and hard. She has just released a new album called Come On one that took several years to release. Evans has promised her new music to be a soothing escape.
Tom Cochrane & Red Rider
It’s hard to imagine a time in Canada when his music wasn’t a road trip staple. Tom Cochrane & Red Rider have been recording music for four decades. Hits like Big League, Good Times and yes, Life Is A Highway are all going to echo through Saskatoon’s riverbank. Full disclosure: I’ll be the noisy one up front.