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Markham Jazz Festival Newsletter
July 15, 2022

TD Markham Jazz Festival Announces Returning Alumni Artists!

Yes – 25 years of the Markham Jazz Festival!  And in tribute to that, the TDMJF is featuring  a return of several of your favourite artists from over the years.   We consider them our “alumni” and they are among some of our favourite acts too.  Here are just a few of the “alumni” we are presenting this year. The year in brackets after their name indicates at least one year when they performed at the TDMJF.  All three stages are located on Main Street Unionville between Highway 7 and Carleton Road.

Millennium Bandstand -  Saturday August 20

Josh Grossman’s Toronto Jazz Orchestra – 1 pm (Josh was TDMJF Artistic Director from 2006 to 2009)

Founded by Artistic Director and conductor Josh Grossman in 1998 (a former AD of the Markham Jazz Festival), the 18-piece TJO performs music by some of the pivotal composers in jazz – writers like Thad Jones, Phil Nimmons, Rob McConnell and more. The orchestra’s repertoire has evolved to include works ranging from classic swing tunes to the leading edge of contemporary jazz, with an emphasis on Canadian composers and arrangers.

Eric St-Laurent – 3 pm  (2010)

Born in Montreal, Eric St-Laurent studied improvisation in New York City before moving to Berlin, where he worked for a decade as a sideman to big and small names of the European music world. Moving to Toronto, Eric started his own band and worked as a studio musician. His interest in the intersection of art and technology has led to the recent creation of recordings exploring common ground between composition, electronic and jazz.

ES:MO – Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti – 5 pm  (2013) (Michael was also Artistic Director from 2010 to 2015) 

After years of touring together, Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti have teamed up to create ES:MO – a musical duo focused on genre-less creativity and exploration. Their album, The Weight of Hope, was nominated for the 2022 JUNO Vocal Jazz Album of The Year. Elizabeth is a multi-dimensional vocalist/pianist twice nominated for the Polaris Prize. Michael, a versatile, creative guitarist (and former Artistic Director of the TDMJF), won the 2022 JUNO for Jazz Album of the Year with the group Avataar.

Attila Fias – 7 pm (2016)

Award-winning Hungarian-born, Toronto-raised pianist, composer, arranger and producer Attila Fias is highly regarded for his ability to synthesize Brazilian lilt and rhythm, Indian phrasing, Hungarian melodies and Latin intensity into one, distinct musical flavour. Attila has recorded three original albums, include 2016’s Ride, which was featured widely on national radio programming and on social media.

Molly Johnson – 9 pm (2016)

Described as evoking, “the aura of dark, smoky nightclubs of a bygone era,” Molly’s voice conveys depth few vocalists in any genre ever reach. Like the woman behind it, it is filled with humor, joy, surprise, sassiness and, of course, love. A respected philanthropist and Officer to the Order of Canada, Molly has raised millions for people living with HIV/AIDS. As well as a five-year stint on CBC Radio, she launched the Kensington Market Jazz Festival in 2016 and released her album, Meaning to Tell Ya, in 2018.

Varley Stage – Saturday, August 20

Richard Whiteman –  2 pm (2013)

Richard Whiteman is a multi-instrumentalist based in Toronto, classically trained in piano and drawn to jazz while in high school. From university, Richard went on to play piano with Canada’s best before deciding in 2004 to study the double bass. He formed his “bass” quartet with Reg Schwager, Amanda Tosoff and Morgan Childs in 2012. Richard has recorded ten CDs as a bandleader and established himself as one of Canada’s finest musicians and teachers.

Donne Roberts4 pm (2014)

Guitarist and singer-songwriter Donné Roberts is a two-time JUNO winner and four-time nominee. Based in Toronto, Donné was born in Madagascar and grew up in the USSR. He speaks fluent Malagasy, Russian, French and English and has earned a matchless reputation for his lively compositions and high energy in performance.  He wrote the theme for the popular CBC Radio show “Fresh Air” and has collaborated with artists such as The Sultan of Swings and Amanda Martinez.

McKay Wine and Beer Garden – Saturday, August 20


Carlo 12:30 pm (2016)

Carlo is an old friend. You’ve known them since you can’t remember when. You’re not sure when you stopped seeing them regularly, but now that you’re reunited, it’s like no time has passed. You understand the great ifs, whats and whys of each other’s lives, the darkness and the irony, the fun and the frivolous, the dubious and the reliable. A fresh take on vintage surf tunes in a complete musical experience.

Adrean Farrugia  (2018) with Jessica Lalonde – 2:30 pm

Jessica Lalonde is a classically trained soprano who shifted from opera studies to her first love, jazz, and by 2018 was named one of Jazz.FM91’s “eight Canadian women in jazz you need to know.” She partners with two-time JUNO-winning pianist and composer Adrean Farrugia, a first-call artist who’s played on over 40 recordings, penned more than 30 original tunes and released five of his own albums.,

Virginia MacDonald (2019) and Laura Anglade – 4:30 pm

Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, Virginia MacDonald began playing at age seven and has established herself as an in-demand bandleader, side-woman and composer, performing across Canada with iterations of her quartet and quintet. French-American recording artist Laura Anglade conjures the great 20th century vocalists with emotion and eloquence beyond her years, touring in Canada, the U.S. and Europe from her base in Toronto.

Alex Pangman - 6:30 pm  (2004)

Toronto-based acoustic jazz trio The Sweet Hots features JUNO-nominated vocalist and Canada’s “Sweetheart of Swing” Alex Pangman, Grammy-nominated violinist Drew Jurecka, and guitar virtuoso Nathan Hiltz. This combo is deeply influenced by the “hot” jazz sounds of the 1920s and ’30s – at once classy, emotive, playful and impeccable. Winner of the 2015 NOW Reader Poll for best female vocalist, Alex brings the songs of early jazz alive. The group has charted two #1 singles on iTunes.
And YES -  we welcome back Jaymz Bee as our Emcee at the Millennium
This will be Jaymz’ 13th year emceeing at the TD Markham Jazz Festival.

Some other returning alumni:

Manteca – Wednesday,  August 17 – 8 pm at the Markham Museum (Ticketed) - performed in 2017
For tickets, visit:    Manteca Live and In Concert Tickets, Wed, 17 Aug 2022 at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite
Shakura S’Aida – Friday, August 19 – 9:30 pm Millennium Bandstand (performed in 2009, 2012, 2017)
CR Avery – Sunday, August 21 – 2 pm Varley Stage (2017)
Gigi Marentette – Sunday, August 21 – 4 PM Varley stage (2017)
Click here for the complete Schedule-at-a-Glance:
2022 Live Festival – Aug. 19–21 – Markham Jazz Festival
Free Parking: Park at the Pan Am Centre (Kennedy and Enterprise Road) and take a free shuttle to enjoy all of our fabulous artists performing Friday evening -  August 19, all day and evening on Saturday - August 20,  and Sunday August 21  up until 6:30 pm  when we close off the show!
Information on all of these artists and other things festival-related  can be found on our website at

We are excited to share this information with you.  Please check our website frequently, as artists  and other news will be added on a regular basis!

See you there!

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.
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Contact Christie Day, Executive Director, at:
(647) 983-7777  
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