The last few months has definitely had some of the most fun stretches of music making this year. The Winnipeg Jazz Festival had a pretty amazing run of fun musical experiences. Not only was it great to play in the smaller intimate venues like Cinematheque and play real improvisational music for the jazz fans, but I also got to play on the outdoor stage for music fans. This year was extra special as I got the opportunity to play on the Burt and Cummings Theatre stage opening for Trombone Shorty with DCBB, and that was quite surreal to say the least…it is so great to see all the support for the arts in this city, not only was there so much great music, but the crowds were fantastic and volunteers made everything run so smoothly! After that wrapped up things started shifting away from Winnipeg a bit, and the following weekend I played at the Saskatoon Jazz Fest which turned out to be another highlight of the summer. DCBB played an afternoon outdoor stage set in a park downtown near the river, similar to the cube in Winnipeg but seemed a little more tucked away. We then played an evening set at The Capitol not too far away where we opened for John Cleary, who I had not heard of up to this point, and ohh man did his trio ever tear it up! For those who are not aware of him either, John Cleary is a pianist/bandleader who has been living in New Orleans for the past 30 years, and perfectly captures the New Orleans sound in his music, it was almost like I was transported! This was the best concert I had seen in a while! I then played again with the fish at Dauphin Countryfest and Winnipeg Folk Fest. Once again the Times Change(d) tent show at WFF was the highlight. The following weekend I played a memorable gig outdoors at Rockin the Red Festival out in Lockport with the WSO Brass Quintet. We played old Dixieland tunes, which was fun, and playing with such high calibour musicians is always a treat! But the real reason why this gig is so burnt into my memory was because a fairly nasty rain storm came through during our set drenching one half of my body/clothes, I was on the end where the wind was coming from…we were forced to stop playing and the 2nd half our set was cut short. The kicker is that I had to wait a set before going back on stage, after the rain cleared, with The “B” Side Champs! The next weekend I went out again with DCBB to the Brandon Folk Festival, which was more nostalgic then anything as that was the very first festival that I ever played in back when I lived in Brandon and was with Nuphunk Orchestra. The crowd was great and the food was delicious! The following weekend DCBB had it’s release for “Big Shiny Brass” at the Park Theatre. Definitely a highlight of the year. The crowd had an amazing energy, and the bands sound was elevated because of it. It was a good night for all involved! We then went on a small week long tour out west which deserves it’s own post (some pictures included from Regina Folk Fest)! After that wrapped up, August seemed to shift into private events and parties with bands including Sunny Roseland, Hot & Dirty Dance Party, “B “ Side Champs, Hot Bottom, and DCBB. The Catfish also just returned from our first tour to the States which also deserves another separate post. Thanks for reading and for all the support!
Today marks the first day of performances that I will be taking part in at this years Winnipeg TD international Jazz Festival, and I am excited to get things started! I am always so humbled and honoured to be asked to play on so many insanely talented local musicians projects during jazz fest. The best part about it is that every year is just a little bit different from the last, and I am super pumped for all the great music I will be playing this year! Here are all the shows I will be involved with this year:
6/19 - Jupiter Storm (5:20pm @ The Cube)
6/19 - Dirty Catfish Brass Band (10:50pm @ The Cube
6/21 - Winnipeg Jazz Collective (Noon @ The Cube)
6/22 - Will Bonness Quintet (9:00pm @ Cinematheque)
6/24 - PRZM (7:30pm @ The Free Press Cafe)
6/24 - Sunny Rosland (8:35pm @ The Cube)
6/24 - Jeff Presslaff Septet (11:45pm @ The Cube)
6/26 - Dirty Catfish Brass Band opening for Trombone Shorty (7:00pm @ The Burton Cummings Theatre)
I am so fortunate to be involved in so many different types of projects and I can assure you, from all the rehearsals I have been doing the last few weeks, that all of these shows are going to be great and very unique to one another. So check out the description in the jazz festival pamphlet and see which one appeals to you the most! I look forward to seeing a lot of you out at the festival this week and hope to see many of your smiling faces in the audience at one (or more…) of these shows! Happy Jazzfest!
As you might have guessed I am very excited for Winnipeg's 1st annual Trumpet Festival that will be taking place from Nov 6-15. I am fortunate enough to be participating in 3 of the many events that will happening during the 2 week festival.
First, I will be playing at the Franco Manitoban Cultural Centre (340 Provencher Boul) for “Mardi Jazz” on Tuesday Nov 10 at 8:30 with the newly formed PRZM Trumpet Quartet. PRZM consists of Richard Gillis, Shane Hicks, Matt Walden, myself and Scott Senior (percussion) and we will be playing arrangements of jazz standards as well as compositions by Richard Gillis.
Next will be a concert appropriately named "Trumpet’s Galore” which will happen on Nov 11 at Jubilee Place (MBCI), 173 Talbot Avenue and will featuring trumpet players from across Winnipeg including Isaac Pulford, Paul Jeffrey, Brian Sykora, Dave Lawton, Derrick Gardner, Richard Gillis, Shane Hicks, Matt Walden, myself and many others to form the largest trumpet ensemble Winnipeg has ever seen! The U of M Wind Ensemble and the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble also perform. Tickets available at the door - $10.00 adults; $5.00 students/seniors.
Lastly, I will be performing with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra for 3 shows which will be featuring jazz virtuoso Byron Stripling at the Winnipeg Art Gallery: Sat Nov 14 at 7:30; Sun Nov 15 at 2:00; Sun Nov 15 at 7:30. For tickets follow this link: http://winnipegjazzorchestra.com/tickets/
For more info on all the concerts happening follow this link:
Hope to see some of you at one or a couple of these shows!
Making music in Manitoba is so great, and is extra special in the summer! All of the hard work put in during the cold months comes to fruition at all the outdoor festivals, concerts, and events that take place and it almost makes you forget what it’s like to play indoors. I pretty much lived outdoors with my trumpet all summer, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. I have been playing places like The Cube for The Winnipeg Jazz and Fringe Festivals, The Forks for Canada Day with DCBB, The Lyric Theatre with the Ron Paley Big Band, the Assinaboia Horse Race Track as “Bugler Andrew”, at the Red River Ex or a Winnipeg Goldeyes game with the “B” Side Champs, and playing at the Blue Bomber home games with DCBB.
This summer was a little different from previous summers as I was fortunate enough to get asked to be a jazz trumpet instructor for both the International Music Camp (week 5) and the University of Manitoba Jazz Camp. Both were extremely rewarding experiences in so many different ways. It was great to be part of some incredible progress and musical improvement from many of the students in both camps after just one week. Both camps also gave me the opportunity to play with some of the other instructors who are all great musicians and many who are colleagues in the province. While at IMC I played with a very fun group comprised of musicians who I have played with for many years but never all together like this. The group was Greg Gatien-Tenor Sax; Jeff Presslaff-Piano; John Barron - Bass; Graydon Cramer-Drums; Myself-Trumpet/Flugelhorn. There was a comfort with a high level of communication happening all the time…I hope this group plays again soon! The University of Manitoba Jazz Camp also had some great musicians that I have known since moving to Winnipeg in summer of 2010 (how 5 years can fly by). Playing with the faculty at U of M is always exciting and swinging!
A couple gigs that stick out the most for me this summer have to be, in no particular order, playing a Michael Jackson Tribute show at the Goodwill. That was a great band of locals players, choreographed dancers, an arsenal of singers (like 10 or something), and we played tracks from “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”. Ironically that was a rare indoor party, and it got sweaty! Playing the Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls, ON with DCBB also a highlight for sure. This was a smaller but very kick ass music festival! The food was amazing, the audience was appreciative and full of great listeners, and the river just steps away from my tent was also pretty great. Lastly, but certainly not least was the Harvest Moon Festival in Clearwater, MB that happened just this last weekend. I played with both DCBB and the Hot and Dirty Dance Party to a SOLD OUT crowd of 1500. Playing for a crowd with that much energy and interest keeps me in the moment yet time seems to moves faster, which then seems to always elevate my playing to a new level. The Northern lights were even out on full display dancing in the sky for a majority of the night! Music is amazing! What a way to say goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall.
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!!