Renowned Alberta saxophonist P.J. Perry and legendary Canadian percussionist Peter Appleyard are set to headline this summer’s Jazz at the Lake Festival.
It’s a double coup for the Aug. 15 to 18 festival, said board president Eric Allison, who has been trying to line up the jazz virtuosos for several years.
Allison said festival audiences have been wanting Perry, an Edmonton resident and bebop player, to make a repeat appearance since he first played the Sylvan Lake jazz festival in 2004. But his busy schedule didn’t jive with festival dates until this summer.
“The last time we booked him he was a great draw,” said Allison, who expects Perry, 71, to once again be hugely popular when he plays sax with a quartet on Friday, Aug. 16.
Appleyard, a vibraphone player and percussionist, is one of Canada’s greatest jazz musicians going back to the swing era.
“Peter used to play with Benny Goodman and he’s still playing great,” said Allison, who has performed with Appleyard in Florida.
The 84-year-old native of England lives in Toronto and is an Order of Canada recipient. His quartet will perform at the festival on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Both concerts start at 8 p.m. at the Alliance Community Church, 4404 47th Ave. in Sylvan Lake. Tickets will be available, starting from April 15, for $35 each from the Sylvan Lake tourism information office or from www.jazzatthelake.com.
The rest of the festival lineup is also being assembled, including:
l Johnny Summers and his Little Big Band from Calgary, to perform at a swing dance at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, at Sylvan Lake’s Royal Canadian Legion at 4916 50th Ave. Tickets will be $25.
l The Boogie Patrol from Edmonton will perform the Blues Bash on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., also at the Legion. Tickets will be $25.
l The Alberta Playboys (most of the members of the Polyjesters) will perform some western swing, marrying country and jazz, at a late-night jazz club on Friday and Saturday nights after 10 p.m. at the Lion’s Hall, at 50A Avenue and 51A Street. Admission will be $15 at the door.
l And the Farewell Jam Session at the Meadowlands Golf Club at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, will cost $40, including a buffet dinner.
Allison said plenty of free entertainment will also be available during the festival weekend, including the debut of Project Discovery. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, the young winners of the jazz and popular music categories at the Kiwanis festival will perform at the Gospel Church, at 4290 50th St. in Sylvan Lake.
Allison said his wife Cheryl Fisher, the festival producer, came up with the Project idea as a way of involving more young people.
Information about jazz workshops, the jazz pub crawl, and free outdoor performances involving the H.O.T. Dixieland Jazz Band of Calgary, Jazz Explosion of Red Deer, Flat Iron Jazz of Lacombe and other bands are available from the festival’s website, www.jazzatthelake.com.