By Christie Day
Ready, set, jazz!
Markhamites know that summer in the city means live music – lots of it. They also know to reserve the third weekend of every August to attend the TD Markham Jazz Festival (TDMJF).
This year’s 22nd edition unfolds along Main St. Unionville from Friday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 18, with more than 30 different performances – all free and all outstanding.
As always, the TDMJF brings in the best musicians from across Canada and beyond to play on three outdoor stages in Unionville, plus at hot spots along Main St. and in the area’s fine restaurants and pubs.
Key outdoor venues include the Pfaff BMW Markham Stage at the Millennium Bandstand, the Watford Group Stage at the McKay Art Centre Wine & Beer Garden, and the Source Office Furnishings Stage on the patio of the Varley Art Gallery.
This year’s top names start with two headliners on Friday evening – 2019 Juno award-winning saxophonist, singer and composer Alison Young, fresh off her debut album, and the dynamite sounds of Chicago-based LowDown Brass Band.
Saturday’s superb lineup extends from the Bright Lunch Trio at the Varley Patio, to the Worst Pop Band Ever (which is, in fact, an excellent jazz band) at the McKay Wine & Beer Garden to George Koller’s Secret Space Program at the Millennium Bandstand.
Saturday evening, catch headline chanteuse Tia Brazda, followed by Canada’s piano virtuoso Michael Kaeshammer, lighting up the Bandstand with his astonishing technique.
Sunday starts with cool Viper’s Cloud and Toronto’s Jerome Tucker Band. Vocalist and JAZZ.FM91 broadcaster Heather Bambrick takes the Millennium stage at 1 p.m., followed by Kollage.
The final headliner is brilliant bassist and singer Brandi Disterheft, presented by Minken Employment Lawyers. Other sponsors include Kylemore Communities, Remington Group, and Volvo of Unionville.
The weekend kicks off with the popular Opening Night Concert on Wednesday, Aug. 14. This year, the venue changes to the beautiful Markham Museum at 16th Ave. and Markham Rd. (Hwy 48). Award-winning Canadian funk and R&B band Oakland Stroke delivers a huge party sound. Some tickets are still available for the event, which includes a silent auction to support the festival.
Attending the TDMJF is a complete experience. Festival goers love to stroll along Main St. as they move between stages, shopping in Unionville’s boutiques and at craft booths along the street. They can stop for an ice cream cone, a glass of wine, and a delicious meal. The festival provides a free shuttle bus service from the nearby Markham Pan Am Centre, so you don’t need to worry about parking issues.
This year’s hot spots include four businesses in Unionville and two new locations in Downtown Markham.
“We are honoured to be one of 80 community events supported by TD Bank’s The Ready Commitment,” notes Dave Coutts, festival chair. “Music festivals bring people together in a unique way, and Unionville is an ideal backdrop for this great festival.”
Visit markhamjazzfestival.com for more details.
Photo: The final jazz festival headliner is brilliant bassist and singer Brandi Disterheft. She is set to perform on Aug. 18 at the Unionville Millennium Bandstand.