It’s the tenth year for Brantford’s Downtown Jazz Festival (September 14 – 16) and Frank and Nancy DeFelice show no signs of slowing down any time soon. What began as the couple’s dream quickly turned into an annual fixture that attracts crowds from all over and bands from around America and around the globe and certainly gives Brantford one more thing to brag about. One of the fixtures in the festival have been the local stages that showcase artists from our area in Southwestern Ontario. Here are two that have been integral to our local jazz scene:
Kevin Williams and Friends, Sunday 1:00pm, Queen St. Stage
Kevin Williams and Friends: Kevin can often be found performing in the area, either as a duo or with a larger ensemble. Kevin and fellow musicians have attracted sell-out crowds to their unique jazz coffee houses, held in various venues. Joining Kevin on keyboards is his lovely wife Mary Ann Gorcsi. The rhythm section consists of Brian Chhangur(bass), and Chris Nemeth(drums).
Joel Banks Trio: Although he hails from the Niagara region originally, bassist Joel Banks considers Brantford his musical home, having honed his craft in local rooms such as Alexander’s Tavern, Two Doors Down and Poor Folk’s Deli alongside many of Brantford’s great musicians. The city’s rich musical culture provided opportunities to play in many different styles from rock, to funk, reggae and jazz all of which influence the musical choices in today’s set. After working a particularly dead-end job in a well known downtown call centre, Joel decided to study in Mohawk College’s Applied Music program to upgrade his skills and knowledge, and has been happily teaching music with the Hamilton Music Collective’s An Instrument For Every Child (AIFEC) program as well as performing with a wide variety of artist ever since. This is a rare opportunity to see Joel, the perennial side-person, in a leadership role because, as he says, “fronting a band is a real hassle, just playing bass is way easier. People are happy if you just show up, but Frank asked nicely, so here we are.” Accompanying Joel in his trio are Miles Evans on Keyboard and Matt Burns on drums. Joel would like do dedicate his set to the memory of his dear friends and musical companions Karl and Mikki Langton.
To amuse the kiddies there are a few fun additions including an Instrument petting zoo which allows the public to try out various instruments and on the Market Street Stage on Sunday, The Sphere Clown band. Its a party in Clowntown, like only these top rated clowns can deliver, with music, magic,puppetry, comedy, and lots of audience participation for kids from 0 to 10 and those who are young at heart. Multi-talented musical clowns Patty and Dandy from Canada’s top clown band bring audiences of all ages to their feet, singing, dancing and laughing with slapstick antics and award-winning original tunes from their four hit CDs. Their catchy original singalong songs are sung live and played on keyboard, drums, flute, and accordion, providing a full band sound.
Go to Brantfordjazzfestival.com for a complete list of bands and times for all three stages.
This year there is another local link in an unexpected place: Hilario Duran, who was also the composer for the movie The Cuban which shot scenes for several weeks back in May at local venues such as On The Lam restaurant, The Sanderson Centre, the Stedman Hospice and various spots in Paris (see the article in 4Brant about the movie) will be on stage with his band Contumbao on Saturday at 3:30.