News

2015 TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival

June 8th 2015

Every year I look forward to the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, and this year is no different! I am incredibly fortunate to be playing with some of Winnipeg's finest musicians in some really fun bands. This year I will be playing with 6 different acts, and all of them will be taking place at Old Market Square on the Cube Stage. Lets all cross our fingers for a week of sunshine!

I will be kicking off the festival with Niall Bakkestad-Legare's Septet at 8:15 on the first day of opening weekend, Thursday June 11. We will be playing some beautiful music written by Niall and will include some great musicians, some of who are on faculty at the University of Manitoba. I will then stay on stage to play a set of hard hitting, horn heavy brass band music with the Dirty Catfish Brass Band. We have a very exciting set of music prepared which will include both original tunes and some popular cover songs. Bring your dancing game for this one! After a few days off I will be back at the Cube on Monday June 15 for a noon hour performance by the Winnipeg Jazz Collective. We will be playing a full set of Canadian compositions mainly written by members of the band. Following a couple more days off I start the final stretch on Thursday June 18th at 8:45pm with The Big Dig! Band. This band is normally a workshop band that rehearses the first set and performs the 2nd set, but in this case we will be polishing the music at a separate time so we can come out swinging on some great tunes by composers such as Thad Jones, Frank Foster, as well as compositions written by members of the band. One day later at 8:45 again I will be playing with Sunny Roseland, one of the newest bands I am fortunate to be a part of. We play traditional jazz music from jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday to name a few. Our mandate is to play music that was written before 1950 and to stay as authentic to the music as possible. Needless to say I am learning a lot from this project! And lastly, I am excited to be playing with Jeff Presslaff's Septet on Saturday the 20th for a last Cube set of the festival which takes place at 10:45. We will be playing some very cool music written by Jeff and will feature some of Manitoba's top jazz musicians, including my most influential jazz teacher Greg Gatien. Make your way over to my website www.andrewlittleford.com/events to find more detailed info on all of these shows. Hope to see many of you out this coming week. Happy Jazz Fest!!

Up Jumped Spring!

April 4th 2015

Spring is upon us! I have been doing a lot of playing this past while, some with long time projects and some with newly formed projects! February had some very rewarding performances, the first was with Nial Bakkestad-Legare for the weekly Mardi Jazz Concert Series at the Franco Manitoban Centre. Niall wrote some beautiful original music for septet and had some of Winnipeg's best jazz players on the gig. Two other shows that come to mind are both with DCBB, we had another opportunity to open for Five Alarm Funk at the Pyramid and there was a very enthusiastic crowd at this show (it got so crazy the Bari Sax player from FAF actually crowd surfed while taking a solo!). The second was at the Good Will Social club with our friends Slow Spirit who opened for us. This was the first time DCBB has played at one of Winnipeg's newest venues and it turned out to be a great night, lots of people came to check out both bands and most importantly, a lot of them danced! DCBB also manged to fit in some time to do an on-location video shoot in the exchange district. We recorded 4 tunes (2 originals and 2 covers) and will be releasing them one at a time. The first one will be released within the next week, so keep an eye on DCBB's facebook page (www.facebook.com/dirtycatfishbrassband) for those releases.
March turned out to be pretty great as well. I played with my own group, Andrew Littleford Trio, at Prairie Ink Restaurant in McNally Robinson in Grant Park, and DCBB played the Cavern and Times Change(d). I also had the first performance with a new group that I have joined called "Sunny Roseland" which plays early traditional jazz music in the style of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. The group's focus is to try and stay authentic to the music of that time and only play music that was written before 1940. I am very much looking forward to working with this group as it opens my ears to a style of jazz I am not as familiar with and therefore will force me to dig into that era a little deeper! Lastly, I was recently fortunate enough to adjudicate at this years Brandon Jazz Festival and had a great time listening to and talking about jazz music with groups of every level. It is so great to see young people having so much fun playing music, not to mention the incredible amount of talented bands and individual soloists from all over Manitoba and Saskatchewan!
I have updated all my current gigs leading into May on the event page, go take a look and hopefully there is a performance that interests you that you can come out and see.

Happenings from the beginning of the New Year

February 2nd 2015

We are only a month into the new year and I have already been involved in some great shows and am looking forward to many exciting things that are in the works for 2015! My first few gigs of the new year were a blast and they are definitely going to be hard to top. It started with a huge show at Maws Beer Hall with DCBB. It was brutally cold out that night (aprox -34C) but that did not prevent people from coming out and having a good time with us, the dancing started from the first down beat and kept going until close! Playing for an enthusiastic crowd like that is a big reason why I play music. The next gig I did was the inaugural performance of the Dig! Big Band. This is a newly formed group directed by Derrick Gardner that consists of alot of Winnipeg's best jazz musicians (including the entire U of M Jazz Faculty) and was formed with the intention of being a workshop band. For more info on the band and its concept check out this interview with Derrick - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj9Ovx-vYz8. After that I got in a car and traveled 6 hours north west to Swan River, MB to work with some of the schools jazz band students. This marks the 3rd consecutive year I have been involved in this jazz weekend and I always have a great time working with these kids. They are so enthusiastic and ready to give improvising or new improvising concepts a try. I directed a younger small group this year and was pleasantly surprised to get grade 7 students who had only been playing their instruments for less then 6 months to improvise! After a 6 hour drive back to Winnipeg on the Sunday of the jazz weekend I went straight to sound check for a show with the Winnipeg Jazz Collective at the Park Theatre which was part of the Nu Sounds Series put on by Jazz Winnipeg. We played an all Canadian program which included many original compositions from members of the band as well as compositions from out of province Canadian composers. Although the music was fairly challenging, I feel the group played very well and brought out the beauty and intention in every piece. It was a very rewarding performance to be apart of. Thanks for checking in! Click on the event page if you want to know where you can see me playing next. Photo credit to Matt Duboff , check out more of his awesome work at http://www.mattduboff.com/

New (old) Trumpet!

December 12th 2014

I recently acquired a new (old) trumpet! This is a pretty big deal for me as I have been playing the same horn for nearly my whole trumpet playing life, specifically since grade 10. I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get another horn as I still really liked the horn I was playing (1989 Bach Strad 37, un-lacquered with slight modifications), but I have been on the look out for something with more projection, specifically for when I play with the Dirty Catfish Brass Band. I knew I wanted a Conn of some type as they are know for being build very sturdy and tend to provide more volume with less effort. I started leaning towards a Constellation model for their big bell’s (5 1/8’’) which would get the projection I was looking for, and they are also known to have a warm/dark sound which appealed to me for the more smaller band playing I also enjoy doing. After a few months of checking various dealer sites I ended up finding a nearly mint 1965 Conn Constellation 38B from a dealer (Austin Custom Brass) in Massachusetts. I have had it for a few weeks now and I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable on it, and it is acting exactly the way I had intended it to: for loud/big clubs and small jazz settings. I look forward to playing it for you in the near future!

Guest Artist with the Manitoba Junior Honour Jazz Band

June 25th 2014

I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to be a featured guest artist with the 2014 Manitoba Junior Honour Jazz Band directed by Anna Penno. It was great to have a chance to work with some of Manitoba's top young jazz musicians, be a part of their honour jazz band experience and hopefully inspire them to take that next step in their development as a musician. The photograph was taken from the July 2014 Manitoba Band Association Newsletter.