Wreckhouse festival announces lineup

Lesley Leroux
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Performers range from local to international

Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival announced its 2012 lineup Wednesday morning, which features local talent as well as musicians from around the world.

Executive director Sean Panting said this year’s festival promises to be fun, and aims to “demystify” jazz for people who may not be familiar with it.

“People have been told over and over again that jazz is too complicated for them,” he said. “They have an impression of jazz that it’s always cerebral, that it’s always inaccessible — and that’s not true.”

This year’s headliners include New Orleans group Soul Rebels Brass Band, Nova Scotia musician Charlie A’Court, The Bill Evans Project: DBLT, and Shine On, an ensemble of jazz musicians who interpret songs by John Lennon and the Beatles.

The festival will also feature singer Alejandra Ribera, Chris Tarry Group, Dominic Mancuso, Fond of Tigers, Francois Houle, Mike Essoudry’s Mash Potato Mashers, Parc X Trio, Sicilian Jazz Project, and one of the godfathers of blues, Wes Mackey.

“We’re looking at some of the finest jazz musicians that Canada has to offer playing some of the best, most innovative music that has ever been in the field of jazz,” Panting said.

Among the Canadian and  international artists, are a number of local musicians who include pianist/composer/percussionist Bill Brennan, Brad Jefford Trio+, Darrell Cooper & The Strong Persuaders, Denis Parker & John Clarke, Katie Hopkins, Patrick Boyle Trio, Scott Goudie, Shawn Beresford & The Soulution, and The Forgotten Bouzouki.

Performances are scheduled at a variety of locations, from the Fat Cat Blues Bar to the LSPU Hall.

The festival’s organizers decided they wanted to balance up-close-and-personal gigs with larger shows that will allow audiences to sit back and really listen to the music.

Other venues include Rocket Bakery, Club One, and the Ship Pub.

“We want to introduce jazz and also blues and world music to people who wouldn’t necessarily get into this stuff, because it’s brilliant music,” Panting said, adding that people tend to forget jazz was the original dance music, and still is.

“We know that it is and we know that it’ll pick up fans and followers and we know that it’s something that’s important. It’s going to enrich people’s lives.”

Previously known as the St. John’s Jazz Festival, the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival changed its name in 2008 to account for the range of world-class talent which it showcases every year.

The non-profit organization that started it all, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues, has been promoting awareness and appreciation of jazz, blues, and world music for 11 years by working with school bands, creating opportunities for performers, and establishing a scholarship for student musicians in the province, among other projects.

The festival will run from July 4-7.

For ticket information and this year’s schedule, visit:




Organizations: Chris Tarry Group

Geographic location: New Orleans, Nova Scotia, Canada

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