New York-based pianist Bryn Roberts is "thrilled to be coming back to Winnipeg to play," even in mid-November.
But first he's taking his band on a tour of Spain where the sun will be decidedly warmer than in Winnipeg on Nov. 17 when he visits the city to play the West End Cultural Centre, leading a quartet performing music from his new album, Fables.
Winnipeg is "such a unique, cultural place and I'm particularly excited to be playing at the West End Cultural Centre, where I used to go hear all sorts of concerts when I was growing up," Roberts said from New York last week before setting off for Spain.
Roberts will be fronting a great band -- Seamus Blake, another Canadian expat, on saxophones, Matt Penman on bass and Jochen Rueckert on drums -- when the former Winnipegger returns home.
Blake performed on Fables (as well as Roberts' two earlier CDs: 2004's Ludlow and 2000's Present Tense) while Penman and Rueckert, who Roberts describes as "a long-standing rhythm team who have played with everyone in New York," aren't on the disc.
"They have been good friends of mine for years and I've played all sorts of gigs with them, but this is the first time this quartet is playing together as a unit. I'm really excited about it," Roberts says.
The band will also perform some music from Ludlow, "but we always love to throw in some standards or classic jazz compositions. It's nice to stretch out on some material that's really comfortable for everyone."
Winnipeg is part of a Canadian tour that runs from Nov. 15 to 22 with shows in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The last time the pianist played a gig of his own in his hometown was at the 2004 jazz festival, although he performed at the Winnipeg Folk Festival since then with singer Serena Ryder.
Roberts' compositions on Fables include a tune called Canadian Tuxedo, which he hopes "will be self-explanatory to the audience in my home country. In my recent concerts in the U.S., I've been giving away a free CD to whomever could give me a correct description of what the term means."
Roberts left Winnipeg in 1994 to attend McGill University in Montreal and arrived in New York in September 2001.
"It's been way too long since I have performed in my hometown. I'm also looking forward to having some surprise special guests sit in; some friends from New York who are now living in Winnipeg."
Roberts performs Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. at the West End Cultural Centre in a concert promoted by Jazz Winnipeg. Tickets are $18 at www.jazzwinipeg.com, by phone at 204-989-4656 or in person at the Jazz Winnipeg office (007-100 Arthur St.) and Into The Music.
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When he was a child in Germany, pianist and singer Michael Kaeshammer was influenced by the great New Orleans pianist and producer Allen Toussaint. After launching his career in his new home of Canada, Kaeshammer met the R&B legend at festivals over the years and in May released a tribute album, With You In Mind.
Kaeshammer continues that tribute Nov. 14 with a concert at West End Cultural Centre, featuring the music from that CD, as part of the Jazz Winnipeg concert season.
Tickets are $35 from jazzwinnipeg.com, by phone at 204-989-4656 or in person at the Jazz Winnipeg office (007-100 Arthur St.) and Into The Music.
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The 'rent' is due again for dig!, the local jazz magazine, and Jazz Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba jazz studies program are holding a party Nov. 7 to raise funds to continue its free distribution.
The event includes performers such as drum professor Quincy Davis and Promise, highlighting the calibre of music coming out of the jazz studies program, the Alumni All-Stars, and jazz faculty members.
The dig! rent party is Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Park Theatre. Tickets are $25 at jazzwinnipeg.com, by phone at 204-989-4656 or in person at the Jazz Winnipeg office (007-100 Arthur St.) and the Park Theatre.