Jazz Winnipeg celebrates loosened COVID-19 restrictions with weekly 1920s-themed jazz concerts.

By Nicole Brownlee

Jazz Winnipeg returns this year with a 1920s-inspired live concert series hosted at the Dalnavert Museum, combining rich, timeless music with a historical Winnipeg building. 

The Jazz Age Garden parties kicked off last Sunday featuring the Richard Gillis Quartet.

Gillis said he was happy with the well-planned event and good weather, though Jazz Winnipeg has stated the concerts will “go ahead rain or shine.”

Gillis, a 64-year-old trumpet player, was joined by quartet members Will Bonness (keyboard), Sean Irvine (sax and clarinet), and Gilles Fournier (bass). 

“It was a pretty quick turnaround,” said Gillis. “We found out about the concert in late June and we started putting together a setlist.”

Gillis said he researched jazz tunes from the 1920s to construct a realistic setlist while also including some recognizable songs such as “The Charleston.”

Gillis, a Winnipeg Jazz performer for over 20 years, said the event didn’t feel too odd with the social distancing rules because it was outside.

“These are strange times,” said Gillis. “We could still perform, people were just a little further away.”

Audience members are encouraged to wear 1920s inspired outfits and hats to Jazz Winnipeg’s Jazz Age Garden Party each Sunday from 2-5 p.m./ JAZZ WINNIPEG

Zachary Rushing performs at the Dalnavert Museum this Sunday alongside fellow University of Manitoba alumni, Dhiego Costa, Jared Beckstead, and Kevin Waters as the Zachary Rushing Quartet. 

Rushing said he was asked a few weeks ago by Jazz Winnipeg to perform at the Garden Party.

“I think it’s really fun,” said Rushing of the theme. “If you’ve even been to the Dalnavert Museum it has this really fabulous vintage feel.”

Rushing said he’s performed professionally for ten years and he was able to compile two 45-minute sets for the event from his repetoire. 

“I usually perform music that could be from 40- 60 years ago that, unless you’re a music nerd like me, you might not have heard of,” he said.

Rushing enjoys incorporating rare jazz numbers with typically non-jazz numbers like musical theatre, pop and original songs to his set.

“I live for live performance…any time I get to have the experience it’s a blessing.”

This will be Rushing’s third time performing with Jazz Winnipeg.

The Jazz Age Garden Party will continue every Sunday afternoon until August 23. 

Jazz fans can also check out Live from the Alt Hotel, a series of six performances recorded live as a part of Jazz Festival’s APART TOGETHER concert series.