Jazz remains a cultural staple as international jazz guitarist Assaf Kehati visits Canada


Assaf Kehati. Credit: Eliseo Cardona.

Canada loves jazz.
 
Just shy of a century old, jazz remains a popular genre and a major source of community for Canadians. Its reputation has endured transition and flex, adopting elements of world music and experimentation.
 
Jazz is restless, intimate, spontaneous, and uplifting, but always cool. It’s a multitude of sounds—a mosaic of rhythm and finesse, and a significant part of the stories we inherit as Canadian music fans. 
 
Whether in the company of others in a large festival setting, or at an exclusive club in a downtown centre, live performance remains integral to the jazz experience, and Calgary fans are in luck.
 
The Calgary Jewish Community Centre is hosting its first-ever Jazz night on Sunday, March 9 with musical guests The Assaf Kehati Jazz Trio.
 
Assaf Kehati is a Boston-based jazz guitarist, composer, and educator. Hailing originally from Israel, his talents have earned him outstanding praise worldwide.
 


The Assaf Kehati Trio playing “The Horses’ Fight” .

 
The Assaf Kehati Jazz Trio trio has played to audiences around the world including shows in Toronto, Edmonton, and Banff. Jazz Night at the JCC is set to be their first-ever show in Calgary, after a performance in Edmonton at the renowned Yardbird Suite jazz club this Friday, March 7 hosted by the Edmonton Jazz Society.
 

 
The jazz community in Canada has always been strong, supportive, and diverse, producing music greats such as Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, and Guy Lombardo.
 
Jazz is fundamental to the Canadian music identity. In fact, the National Arts Service Organization—a part of Heritage Canada—has a special designation for jazz music development called the Jazz Festivals Canada. Funding through the Government of Canada helps to secure a prosperous place for jazz as part of our cultural fabric.
 
JFC is an organization built to “represent the interests and act as advocate for the development of Canadian jazz festivals and jazz presenters.” The JFC is non-profit and lists almost 20 annual jazz festivals in Canada, both large and small from coast to coast.
 
The Canadian jazz culture is usually associated with big centres such as Montreal and Toronto due to the city’s diverse culture. It’s a fair assumption, considering the Montreal International Jazz Festival is one of the largest in the world and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival attracts just over 500,000 people each year. However, even small towns such as Medicine Hat, AB and Kaslo, BC host popular summer jazz festivals. The Kaslo Jazz Festival boasts a floating stage on the waters of the Kootenay Lake.
 
While our homegrown jazz efforts are strong, many international artists seek opportunity to play on Canadian soil.
 
Kehati says the opportunity to play in Calgary came about after agreeing to play at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton: “We wanted to extend the tour and get to Calgary as well so we set up a show and workshop with the CJCC.”
 
When asked what the trio would be looking forward to the most about playing in Calgary/Western Canada, Kehati explains, “Every show is a thrill for us. We love being on the road and get inspired by new views, places, and audiences. It all reflects back in the show.”
 
Calgary audiences can expect some surprises, says Kehati, explaining that their type of jazz is “influenced by Israeli music and world music. We play original jazz music and also jazz standards and we surprise ourselves on stage by playing and being in the moment so I'm sure the audience will be surprised too!”

Paired with the performance is an opportunity for budding and seasoned local jazz musicians to improve their performance skills in a clinic session before the concert. The clinics are hosted by the trio, with the beginner’s jazz clinic to start at 4:00 pm and the advanced musician’s clinic to start at 5:00pm.

Clinic prices are $70 or $50 with a valid student ID. Clinic prices include concert entrance. Tickets can be purchased here.
 
Visit calgaryjcc.com for more information about Jazz Night at the JCC.
 
 
Leyland Bradley
 
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @LeylandMarie. 

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