Two very different jazz pianists will headline this summer’s Jazz At The Lake Festival, which will run from Aug. 18 to 21 in Sylvan Lake.
Boogie-woogie pianist and singer Michael Kaeshammer will bring his Toronto trio to the festival on Friday, Aug. 19, while Tommy Banks will perform with his Edmonton-based trio on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Eric Allison, who co-organizes Jazz at the Lake with his wife Cheryl Fisher, feels lucky to get both musicians.
Banks, a straight-ahead jazz pianist, has been in the festival’s sights for the past seven years, said Allison, who noted his schedule finally fit this year.
Kaeshammer, whose style combines jazz, pop and R&B, “is quite well known and is about to get better known” — which means the festival might soon have more trouble booking him, added Allison.
Tickets are $35 for each concert and will be available starting on June 1 from www.jazzatthelake.com (and will be available later this summer from the Sylvan Lake Tourist office).
While the venues the pianists will play are still to be announced, Banks will also hold a free Saturday afternoon jazz workshop from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
This summer’s jazz festival will kick off with the Johnny Summers Little Big Band of Calgary performing at a yet-to-be-announced venue on Thursday evening, Aug. 18. Tickets to the swing dance are $20.
A Blues Bash will be held on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Lion’s Club Hall in Sylvan Lake. It will feature the Gaye Delorme and his trio from Edmonton.
The “superb” musician plays jazz, blues and flamenco, said Allison, who added, “he’s a killer blues guy.” Tickets to this bash are also $20.
Free sessions include an outdoor picnic concert from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, featuring the HOT Dixieland Jazz Band in Lion’s Park. This will be followed by a Jazz Goes to College concert from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday with the Red Deer College Big Band, the RDC Percussion Ensemble and the RDC Faculty Jazz band.
Allison said there will also be late-night jam sessions on Friday and Saturday at the Lion’s Club Hall, and a Jazz for Kids concert at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Sylvan Lake public library.
As well, two community bands will perform from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Lion’s Park: Jazz Explosion from Red Deer and the Flat Iron Jazz from Lacombe.
A pub crawl will be held Sunday afternoon, with the bands and musicians still to be announced. And there will be a close-out farewell jam session on Sunday night at a still unknown venue.
Allison expects about 3,000 people to take in this summer’s Jazz at the Lake events, and promises to have a full rundown available soon on the website.