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Markham Jazz Festival Newsletter
August 03, 2016

TD Markham Jazz Festival announces Full Line-up of Artists: Discover a glittering lineup of talent and musical styles at this year’s festival Aug 18-21.

Welcome to August – the month of lingering warm days, star-filled nights and that much-anticipated staple of the York Region summer calendar, the TD Markham Jazz Festival.
From August 18 to 21, you’re invited to join us along Main Street Unionville for the 19th edition of this wonderful event. For your planning and listening pleasure, take a look at this overview of the venues, plus the full lineup on our three main stages.
Find our schedule, artist bios, maps and other details online at
Festival Overview
At this annual cultural gem in the heart of Markham, the music happens on three FREE main stages along Main Street in the historic village of Unionville.  Here’s what’s happening at each stage:
  • Subaru Markham Stage at the Millennium Bandstand – Ideal for bigger audiences and fuller sounds, the Bandstand is the southernmost of our venues, located at the corner of Main and Fred Varley Dr.
  • McKay Art Centre Beer & Wine Garden – Midway along Main Street, tucked down behind the white gables of the McKay Art Centre, this picturesque outdoor venue offers food and refreshments as you listen to diverse sounds from the jazz world.
  • Source Office Furnishings Stages at the Varley Art Gallery Patio­ – In the forecourt of this Group of Seven-inspired gallery at the corner of Main St. and Carlton Rd., see duos, trios and artists who enjoy being closer to their audiences.
Settled more than 220 years ago, Unionville combines charming heritage buildings from the mid-1800s with a selection of fine restaurants and shops that make for great strolling, people-watching and relaxing with friends. Check our website for info on historical walks taking place in the village during the Festival.
Parking is limited: Attendance is high and parking is limited. Instead, take advantage of the frequent shuttle buses that will serve Unionville on Festival Saturday and Sunday from Markville Mall (NE corner). (See for details.)
Bring a chair: While some seating is provided at each venue, it fills up quickly. Experienced festival-goers often bring their own folding chair – not to mention a hat, sunscreen and layers in case the temperature shifts. 

The 2016 Lineup


Thursday, August 18

The Festival kicks off with the only ticketed event of the weekend – a one-of-a-kind performance by JUNO-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Molly Johnson, held in the intimate setting of the Varley Art Gallery lobby. Opening for Molly will be saxophone whiz Alison Young. The evening includes a reception and silent auction starting at 7:15, with music from 8 p.m.
Tickets are limited and selling fast. Order yours now at

Friday, August 19

Markham Subaru  Millennium Bandstand Stage
Shortly after 7 p.m., Rich Brown and the Abeng bring a fascinating project to life on the Bandstand stage. Canadian bassist and composer Rich Brown developed the project to explore African and Jamaican themes. • Then, breakthrough vocalist Tanika Charles takes the microphone to share her newly released album, “Soul Run,” and other hit sounds.

Saturday, August 20

This year, we track the Saturday and Sunday performances from north to south along Main Street, starting at the iconic Varley Art Gallery.
Source Office Furnishings Varley Art Gallery Patio – First up at noon is vocalist Genevieve Marentette, sharing her internationally inspired cabaret sounds. • Turboprop follows with an electrifying blend of swing and innovations behind jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini. • At 4 p.m., Toronto band Carlo pays tribute to iconic surfer songs with a modern twist. • The final performance of the day on this stage comes from the hard-swinging Morgan Childs Quartet, also anchored by a top drummer. The Ottawa Citizen’s jazz critic named this band’s latest album one of Canada’s top jazz CDs of 2015.
McKay Art Centre Beer & Wine Garden – The animated Boxcar Boys band kicks off the action at 12:30 p.m by weaving together a joyous mix of folk traditions, Dixieland and Klezmer – not to be missed! • Next up is keyboardist Joel Vistenin’s Boogaloo Squad at 2:30 with soulful interpretations of classic jazz/blues sounds. • Singer/songwriter Laura Cole follows at 4:30 with smoking rock, soul and blues vocals of her own work. • At 6:30, Attila Fias & Que Isso evokes all the passion and energy of Brazilian music in a fresh, fun way.

Markham Subaru  Millennium Bandstand Stage – Saturday’s action on the big stage starts at 1 p.m. with the fiery sextet Tio Chorinho, dedicated to performing Rio de Janeiro’s distinctive choro music. • Next up is must-see quartet Peripheral Vision, whose latest critically acclaimed album was nominated for a 2016 JUNO. • The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer follows at 5:00 with a fresh, raw take on the blues. • The evening’s outstanding lineup starts with JUNO-nominated vocalist Dione Taylor and the Backsliderz performing their version of “prairie blues.” • Saturday’s music culminates in headliner Dr. Lonnie Smith and his band lighting up the stage with his astounding B3 organ work. >> Hot, hot, hot!

Sunday, August 21

Source Office Furnishings Varley Art Gallery Patio – At this intimate stage, the final day begins at noon with Heillig Manoeuvre, four experienced musicians performing Henry Heillig’s adventurous contemporary work with elan. • Jinta-la-Mvta take over at 2 p.m. with a style rooted in influences of Japanese Chindon-ya, Jewish klezmer and New Orleans swing – wow! • Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt rounds out the day with original, genre-defying works inspired by film, jazz, rock surf, Eastern European and South American music.
McKay Art Centre Beer & Wine Garden – At 1 p.m., head back to the garden to hear the delicious soul-funk sounds of Justin Bacchus and his band. • Next, Toronto’s Yuca shows its devotion to classic soul and R&B sounds that came out of Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans. • At 4 p.m., Game.Set.Trap breaks the mold by redefining perceptions of “trap-based” music, performed in the jazz-soul idiom.
Markham Subaru Millennium Bandstand Stage – Sunday at the Bandstand starts with the JUNO-nominated Jeff McLeod Organ Trio at 1 p.m., using the classic organ/guitar/drums format to play a mix of original music, jazz standards and adapted tunes from multiple sources. • Alison Young keeps the action going with a showcase of her exceptional saxophone skills, much in demand these days. • At 5 p.m. Quique Escamilla cooks with the Festival’s final headline performance, pulling from his 2015 JUNO-winning CD (Word Music Album of the Year) and bringing his Mexican musical roots passionately to life on stage.
In addition to all the action on the main stages, there are street performances as well as bars and restaurants (“Hot Spots”) that also feature jazz.  Reservations are recommended at all Hot Spots. 

See you in Unionville!

The TD Markham Jazz Festival is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to enrich cultural life in the region by bringing emerging and established jazz artists to Markham for all to enjoy. Established in 1998, the festival draws more than 25,000 residents and visitors to the streets of Unionville during the third weekend in August. Local and international artists deliver over 30 open-air performances during the weekend as well as in selected “hot spots” and at a ticketed opening-night concert. During the year, the festival hosts “Hot Spot Concerts” at selected venues in Markham. TD Canada Trust became its title sponsor in 2014.
Tel: 905-471-5299 (voicemail)

Contact Linda Briggs, Executive Director at (416) 200-4306 or
Copyright © 2016 Markham Jazz Festival, All rights reserved.

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