Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2012: The Bad Plus

Jazz Ambassadors

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As the season changes, the music on our streets changes too. Jazz on Wheels has had a vigorous summer, with rowdy performances to hundreds of hot and happy CSI Summer Institute learners, and neighborhood parties where a few intrepid kids did impromptu remakes of Justin Bieber tunes with the band.

You have one more chance to get your groove on with this jazz history party when they take over the stage at the Sherbrook Street Festival on September 8. The band has played at this festival for several years now, and you can always count on some pretty memorable interpretive dance to go along with the high-energy music! The stage is busy all day, with the Jazz on Wheels crew taking over the airwaves at 6:00 pm.

September is also the beginning of the school year, and the start of year three in the Bridge: Music for Life outreach program at Hugh John Macdonald School. Neil Watson returns as the intrepid bandleader, with Simon Christie at his right hand. Together, they’ll support a couple of dozen junior high musicians to pick up and play saxophones, flutes, clarinets, trombones, and trumpets—and of course drumsticks, electric bass, guitars, and microphones!

Judging by the enthusiasm of several groups of grade six kids touring the school last spring, band will be in high demand again this year. Many of last year’s keen players were in grade 7 and 8, so there’ll be a big core of young musicians who know how to hold their instruments and produce sounds that are intentional and even in tune! They’ll be both inspiration and support for the gang of newcomers who want to discover their musical voices too.

In August, three of this past year’s most accomplished Bridge students and five who graduated the year before attended the University of Manitoba Jazz Camp. They may not realize how remarkable their achievement is, but those of us standing on the sidelines watching them grow into confident musicians and ambassadors from their inner city neighbourhood can’t miss it. Three years ago, the Bridge Program was still just a dream, but now it is working its magic, several young musicians at a time…!

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