JUNE 23 - 30, 2019

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JazzFest 2019

June 23, 2019 - June 30, 2019

Now in its twenty-thirdyear, The Medicine Hat JazzFest has grown from a grassroots community-based event, to a widely recognized world-class festival that has taken its place alongside the other great jazz festivals in Western Canada. We feature an eclectic mix of venues, running the gamut from our signature concert at the Downtown Bus Terminal Parkade to the intimate and quaint atmosphere of our late night clubs. We feature both free and ticketed events as well as a number of educational events including workshops, jams, a youth stage featuring the up and coming jazz musicians from Medicine Hat and a concert for elementary school children. 

Laila Biali
TUE June 25 | 7:30 PM | Main Stage
Fresh off of a win at the 2019 Juno Awards for Best Vocal Jazz Album of the year, Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali returns for her third appearance at the Medicine Hat JazzFest. Laila has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported Sting. Her other accolades include SOCAN Composer of the Year and Keyboardist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards. She takes the best of pop, rock, classical, world and soul, informs it with her expertise in jazz, and weaves it into her musical arrangements and original songs. Laila has presented her music at prestigious venues spanning five continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The Jillian McKenna Project
TUE June 25 | 10:30 PM | Studio Theatre
Jillian McKenna is a bassist, composer, and arranger from Hamilton, Ontario. Her music is rooted in jazz, blending aspects of world music and folk music together in such a way that is unlike anything else, and yet somehow feels so familiar. After spending her early 20s in New York City, she returned home and created The Jillian McKenna Project with one of Canada’s top pianists, Adrean Farrugia, and the young Toronto drummer Mackenzie Read. Known throughout Southern Ontario, this intergenerational trio is blurring genres and stretching what is possible in a standard jazz formation attracting listeners of all types.


Elizabeth Shepherd
WED June 26 | 7:30 PM | Studio Theatre
Velvety-voiced pianist Elizabeth Shepherd arrived on the international scene in 2006 when her debut album Start To Move was voted one of the top jazz albums of the year by the listeners of the influential Gilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio Worldwide. Since then, the Montreal-based soul-jazz innovator has established herself as one of the most alluring and imaginative artists on the scene today. A classical pianist who came to jazz through her love of old-school hip-hop, it’s perhaps no surprise that this globetrotting talent has developed such a distinct and unique voice.


The Shuffle Demons
WED June 26 | 10:30 PM | Studio Theatre
What do you get when you cross 3 amazing saxophonists dressed in wacky clothes, a crazy dancing drummer and a killer upright bass player and have them sing songs about Buses, Roaches and Hockey and spend 1/2 their time playing in the audience? The Shuffle Demons, that’s what! They were a band that captured the imagination of a generation with their antics and amazing no holds barred playing and stopped traffic on a regular basis. And now they’re back!


Tara Kannangara
THU June 27 | 10:30 PM | Studio Theatre
Categorizing the diverse sound of vocalist/trumpet player Tara Kannangara is a difficult proposition. This JUNO- nominated artist is meshing Jazz, Pop, Electronic-synth music, musical theatre and whatever moves her. This hasn’t stopped her from cultivating a singular voice that is captivating audiences all over North America.
Growing up in Chilliwack, BC, she studied classical piano and singing from an early age. She was active in musical theatre and choirs, then picked up the trumpet in high school, concentrating on classical before later moving into jazz. Tara studied at the University of Victoria and concentrated on classical trumpet and vocals; later, Tara moved to Toronto to pursue jazz studies at the University of Toronto where she came into her own as a performer and songwriter.


Quinn Bachand’s Brishen
FRI June 28 | 2 PM | Rooftop Terrace
With a tight grasp on the music of swing, Quinn Bachand takes audiences on an inventive quest. This young virtuoso brings together a spellbinding range of musical history reinventing swing jazz, pop and country and spanning the music of the ‘30s through the ‘60s. Quinn is able to create a space where virtuosity meets vibe, leaving audiences with a sense of nostalgia.

A natural musician, this twenty-three-year-old is already a seasoned and versatile performer, performing professionally since age 11. He is also considered one of Canada’s top Celtic guitarists. In addition to touring and performing with artists such as Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, as well as with sister Qristina, Quinn fronts his own stellar gypsy swing ensemble, Brishen, and is a member of various bands including the Grammy nominated, Kittel & Co.


Michael Kaeshammer
FRI June 28 | 7:30 PM | Main Stage
Michael Keshammer is one of the most requested artists in JazzFest history. His  Incredible jazz and boogie-woogie piano technique along with a high-energy delivery and an infectious personality make Michael’s live shows among the most engaging and entertaining that you will see.

It is easy to distinguish great music upon first listen, regardless of genre labels and titles. Kaeshammer’s passion for writing, performing and producing exceptional music is abundantly clear.  Flavours of jazz, boogie-woogie and blues combined with passion and meticulous detail, Michael Kaeshammer is unafraid of crossing genre boundaries and uses his many influences to take the listener along on a memorable journey.


Benjamin Deschamps – No Codes
FRI June 28 | 10:30 PM | Lobby
Based in Montreal, Benjamin Deschamps is a sought-after saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer and arranger. Holder of a Jazz Performance Master’s degree from McGill University, Benjamin is a very active musician in Montreal’s jazz scene. He performs as a sideman in Rachel Therrien’s Quintet, which won the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s TD Grand Award in 2015 touring that same year in Western Canada and Mexico City. Benjamin performed at the Medicine Hat JazzFest that year as part of this group.