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Rising stars, jazz master highlight jazz fest lineup

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There will be a double dose of New Orleans, some rising stars, a soul/R&B legend and a jazz master among nearly 100 perforbmances in this June's TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival.

Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombone-playing, band-leading, record-producing member of the famous Big Easy jazz clan opens the main concert series on June 18 fronting a sextet that includes the splendid saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines, Jazz Winnipeg announced Friday morning.

The 10-day annual summer festival runs June 14-23 at various venues. The free opening weekend in Old Market Square runs June 14-17, with concert and club shows starting on the 18th.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, a funky, jazzy N'Awlins party band that sold out its show at last year's festival is back in a larger venue. Blues guitarist and keyboard player Lucky Peterson opens for the band.

Contemporary jazz musician Ramsey Lewis, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award winner, brings his electric band to the fest on June 22. They will be celebrating the anniversary of the 1974 Sun Goddess album that was a crossover success for Lewis and his foray into recording with electric keyboards.

Gretchen Parlato, the bright, young singer who has been getting rave reviews for her latest recording and performances, plays June 20.

The Vijay Iyer Trio, led by the rising star pianist, may well be the best jazz show of the festival, yet the band is performing in the smaller Aqua Books venue, June 23 at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., rather than in a theatre.

Jazz Winnipeg executive producer Paul Nolin said he wants to "add a little depth to the club series, to create unique experiences for audiences."

The two sets will allow fans to catch a theatre show first, and still hear Iyer, bassist Stefan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore at the later performance.

Booker T., he of the famous MGs that recorded hit after hit on its own and backed such greats as Otis Redding, closes out the mainstage shows June 23 at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

A show fans won't see this year is the Wayne Shorter Quartet. The saxophone great is performing west of here, from Saskatoon to Victoria, which raised the hopes of some local fans. "I tried," Nolin said, but Shorter just wasn't able to get all the band members together to make a Winnipeg date.

Nolin is pleased with the varied lineup, and said he's excited to have R&B performer Janelle Monáe as a theatre act June 20. "I expect her show will be a real spectacle," he adds, with dancers, singers, horns and lights.

Nolin also likes the project by Quebec's Dinato-Bourassa-Lozano-Tanguay Play Bill Evans, June 21. "It's a cool project," the festival producer says, "Tribute shows attract people to see top Canadian bands."

Other non-jazz theatre shows include indie band The Hold Steady and Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon, a Canadian group that features singer Elizabeth Shepherd, guitarist Michael Occhipinti and trumpeter Kevin Turcotte.

The Winnipeg Free Press News Café is a club venue again this year, featuring shows June 18-23.

Icelandic guitarist Bjõrn Thoroddsen, no stranger to Winnipeg audiences, will be a busy man during the festival. He'll perform with recording mate trumpeter Richard Gillis for the release of their new CD, Morgana's Revenge, June 18; with the Tim Butler Trio, June 20; and as the guest artist at the performance by High School Honour Jazz Bands, June 21.

The opening weekend has free shows each night from June 14-17, and the Jazz for Lunch series at noon in Old Market Square from June 18-23 also presents free shows. TD Jazz Labs, in which musicians perform and discuss their music with fans and other musicians, run at 5:30 p.m. in the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, June 18-23.

Theatre shows are presented at the Burton Cummings Theatre and West End Cultural Centre. Club shows run at Pyramid cabaret, The King's Head, Aqua Books, Free Press Café, Le Garage Café, Juss Jazz and Tines Change(d) High and Lonesome Club.

Jazz festival tickets go on sale next Thursday, April 19, at, 989-4656, and the festival office at 007-199 Arthur St. Tickets for Burton Cummings Theatre shows also are available at Ticketmaster.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2012 G3

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