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16th Annual Markham Jazz Festival: August 15 to 18, 2013



16th Annual Markham Jazz Festival:  International Stars, JUNO and Grammy nominees and winners , Diverse Jazz Artists and Jazz Hot Spots All About Town!

Visit  for in-depth information about each of our performing artists.  This year we are presenting more than 24 different professional jazz groups on three free outdoor stages, including the Friday night Headliner Maceo Parker and his 10-piece jazz/funk band! In addition to the Free concerts, we are featuring two very special and ticketed concerts with limited seating:  the  Opening Night Concert at the Varley Art Gallery on Thursday Aug 15., which features vocalists Elizabeth Shepherd and Denzal Sinclaire and the Closing Concert in the Varley gallery on Sunday, August 18 which showcases trumpeter Dave Douglas and Friends performing new music inspired by Le Plasticiens Montreal painters..  More than that, we are hosting two fantastic free  “artist talks” – one by Grammy nominee trumpeter Dave Douglas (Saturday, 11:00am) and the other by vocalist Ruth Moody of the Wailin’ Jennys  (Sunday, 11 am).  Both are free, but require advance registration.  For more information download the complete program.


The 16th Annual Markham Jazz Festival (MJF) promises to keep this summer sizzling with an outstanding weekend of jazz music August 15-18, 2013. Daytime and evening outdoor free performances will be at  three main stages:  Markham Subaru Millennium Bandstand, the Source Office Furnishings Varley Art Gallery Patio Stage and the Sunlife Financial McKay Art Centre Beer and Wine Garden Stage, all located on Main Street, Unionville, north of Hwy 7 between Warden and Kennedy Road in Markham.  Historical Tours of Main Street Unionville will be offered Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm.  Art lovers are invited to visit the Varley Art Gallery exhibit – free to jazz festival attendees! All take place in a magical environment which features one-of-a-kind shopping and pubs/restaurants also presenting jazz!  And this year, we will be providing two free shuttle buses all weekend – one from the Unionville GO station, and the other from Markville Mall.

THURSDAY, August 15th – Opening Night Concert at the Varley Art Gallery
Jazz Vocalist Denzal Sinclaire and vocalist/pianist Elizabeth Shepherd will perform in an up-close-and–personal environment. The evening features a cocktail reception and meet and greet, and a silent auction. Tickets are  available by ordering on-line at or calling the MJF hotline at 905-471-5299 (press 3).

FRIDAY, August 17th – Markham Subaru Stage at Millennium Bandstand
7:30 pm – Chloe Charles (sponsored by Powerstream)
9:15 pm –  Maceo Parker (presented by Ontario Tourism) – synonymous with Funky Music, presenting his incredible funk/jazz orchestra . “Friday night’s concert with Maceo Parker is going to transform Unionville Main Street into a party and will be a landmark night in Markham’s cultural history.”  (Michael Occhipinti, Artistic Director, MJF)

The rest of the weekend is packed with performances on three main stages!

SATURDAY, August 17th.
New York based trumpeter and Grammy nominee Dave Douglas will  start the Saturday off with a free Artist Talk at the Crosby Arena (Lamplight Room), where he discusses his career and answers questions about his music, the state of jazz, running a record label, and what he’s up to in Markham. 11:00 am (registration recommended – a donation to MJF is appreciated)

Source Office Furnishings Stage at the Varley Patio presents concerts by blues artist Al Lerman, Ted Warren’s Broadview, Sean Bray’s Peach Trio, and Quebec’s Marianne Trudel featuring Lina Allemano.

Over at the Remington Group McKay Art Centre Beer and Wine Garden, the action starts with World Music groups Oolong 7, Waleed Abudulhamid, jDO! (drums and organ duo), and Tio Chorinho (Brazilian music with a New Orleans flair).

On the Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium Bandstand, kicking off the action at 1 pm is the Jazz FM Big Band  followed by acts that take us right up to 10:30 pm: Roberto Lopez and his Afro-Colombian Jazz Orchestra (sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts), Lionel Loueke from New York (sponsored by Wincon Security), violinist Briga and her multi-ethnic quintet, and trumpeter Dave Douglas and his band, with Ruth Moody.

SUNDAY, August 18th.
Ruth Moody  will  kick off Sunday with a free 11:00 am Artist’s Talk (including performing music from her new album) at the Crosby Arena that’s open to everyone. (Free, but pre-registration is recommended and donation to MJF would be appreciated.)

Source Office Furnishings Varley Art Gallery Patio Stage performances include:  the Norm Villeneuve Sextet, Richard Whiteman’s Quartet, and Heillig Manoeuvre.
SunLife Financial  McKay Art Centre Beer and Wine Garden concerts include Hannah Burge, Drumhand, and the Sultans of String.

And at the Markham Subaru Millennium Bandstand performances will include Phil Dwyer’s Canadian Songbook with Laila Biali, Barry Romberg’s “Random Access”  with Donny McCaslin, and 2013 Juno Winner for her tribute album to Miriam Makeba, Lorraine Klassen.

SUNDAY Evening  August 18 Closing Concert – featuring Dave Douglas performing in the Varley Art Gallery
Join Grammy nominee Dave Douglas as he performs dynamic, original jazz compositions inspired by the Plasticiens and Beyond – Montreal artists from 1955-1970 in the Varley’s main exhibition space.

Tickets are  available by ordering on-line at or calling the MJF hotline at 905-471-5299 (press 4), or by calling the Varley directly at 905-477-7000 Ext 3261.

The complete schedule of Main Stage Performances is posted on our website under “Schedules”.

Artistic Director Michael Occhipinti says this about the 2013 programming: “This year’’s edition of the Festival is my fourth as Artistic Director, and I’m thrilled to say that this year’s program is probably our most ambitious ever, featuring some stunning international headliners and a great spectrum of Canadian musicians…  (as well) ’m always happy to present the best of southern Ontario’s musical scene with great jazz and world music groups represented on three stages.  However, this year I’m excited to have a few artists from Montreal’s music scene joining us …”

Again this year, JAZZ FM91.1’s  Host and Jazz Safari leader Jaymz Bee will emcee performances at the Millennium Bandstand on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

HOT SPOTS and Other Concerts:  (participating bars, pubs, restaurants and other groups that feature their own jazz to complement and round out the main stage festival offerings):

There will be 7 Jazz Hot Spots on Main Street, Unionville and a jazz vespers concert Saturday afternoon at Central United Church on Main Street Unionville.  As well, there will be street performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  Visit our website for  more details about the hotspots.  It is suggested that you make reservations, where possible.  The  Hot Spots schedule is posted under “Schedules”.

The Markham Jazz Festival is grateful for our 2013 major grant providers and sponsors that helped make this annual event possible: Ontario Tourism,  City of Markham, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Central Counties Tourism, Ontario Arts Council, SOCAN, Markham Subaru, Source Office Furnishings, Sun Life Financial, Remington Group, Alice Fazoolis, Unionville BIA, Kylemore Communities, TD Canada Trust, Bell Canada, Powerstream, Wincon Security – plus the many, many other community partners that have contributed to ensure that the 16th.  Annual MJF will be the best yet!

The Markham Jazz Festival is a volunteer-driven organization with a mandate to enrich cultural life in the region by presenting emerging and established jazz artists and bands in Markham.  Established in 1998, each year thousands of local residents and visitors of all age groups and cultural backgrounds enjoy free outdoor performances and major attractions at selected indoor venues at special concert prices.  The Festival’s goal is to host performances by popular local talent and to continue to attract Canadian and international professional acts to Markham throughout the year, culminating in an annual jazz music festival that takes place during the third weekend in August.

Tel: 905-471-5299 (voicemail)

Contact Linda Briggs, Executive Director at (416) 200-4306 or
Michael Occhipinti, Artistic Director at (416) 766-2081 or

New Releases

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”



Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria

Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads

New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.

Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.

The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement. 

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: "Vox Humana"
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: “Vox Humana”

That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”

The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded. 

Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”

The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.

Content Source: Two for the Show Media

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