Winnipeg International Jazz Festival
Royal Albert Arms
Sunday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $23.34 including fees at jazzwinnipeg.com
It’s Jocelyn Gould’s turn.
The Winnipeg jazz guitarist will launch her new album at the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival Sunday night, which has the possibility of adding a third straight Juno Award for best solo jazz album to the household she shares with Will Bonness, the pianist and University of Manitoba music professor.
Bonness, who is Gould’s partner off-stage, matched Gould with a Juno Award of his own in May when he won the 2022 honour for solo jazz album of the year.
"We were trying to think when in history that ever happened before," says Gould, who was also one of the musicians on Bonness’s 2021 disc Change of Plans. "We made a joke we were going to clear off a shelf in our living to put the Junos on it. That’s not really a joke, we’re actually going to do that.
"We love to play together and we love to encourage each other and it’s so exciting to see somebody put in all that hard work and then see other people recognize it. It’s very cool, very rewarding."
Gould and her quartet, which also includes former Winnipeg percussionist Curtis Nowosad and New York bassist Liany Mateo, will take the jazz-fest stage at the Royal Albert Arms to mark the release of her new album, Golden Hour.
It will be the follow-up to her Juno Award-winning debut, Elegant Traveler, which lifted the performer and jazz instructor at Toronto’s Humber College into the national jazz spotlight.
She said her last time performing at the Winnipeg jazz fest was several years ago, and it certainly wasn’t with the same notoriety the Juno brings.
"I was fresh out of undergrad, so this feels really exciting for me to be coming back," she says. "It’s such a great festival and I grew up going to it."
She’s also looking forward to playing the refurbished Royal Albert, which is a new venue for the jazz fest. It has a long history of welcoming hardcore punks, metal bands, rockabilly groups and other loud-and-proud artists to its stage.
This week though, besides Gould, the Royal Albert will host the Ron Paley Trio (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.); Vancouver vocalist Laila Biali and Winnipeg duo Erin Propp and Larry Roy (Friday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.); former Winnipegger Joanna Majoko (Saturday, 9:30 p.m.) as well as late-night jams with Karly Epp and Karl Kohut Wednesday though Sunday.
"I used to go there as a teenager and watch my favourite bands, so it almost feels like backtracking to another era," she says.
Golden Hour, which was recorded in Winnipeg last November, once again showcases Gould’s deft guitar-picking, with the title track opening the album with a fast-paced instrumental that also showcases the band.
Later on, Gould shows off her vocals on the jazz standard Cottage for Sale, a song she used to accompany jazz great Freddy Cole in concerts a few years ago.
It describes the sad realization that Gould shares with so many Manitobans who have had to part with their weekend paradise at the lake.
"It reminds me of my parents. We used to have a cottage near Winnipeg Beach, and I always think of that cottage when I sing that song," she says.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.