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Jazz Fest 2011 digs into musical roots

Manjinder Benning

2011 festival lineup a broader range of genres

With headliners like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Paco de Lucia on its list of performers, the 2011 TD Victoria International Jazz Fest may contain its most roots-based lineup ever.

“Lucinda’s been on my target list for the past five years,” said festival producer Darryl Mar.

“Our main focus is jazz in all its forms. But we made a deliberate attempt to (attract) more roots-oriented acts to broaden our audience.”

This creative shift is not meant to alienate the traditional jazz lovers in the crowd.

Anything but. The city’s longest-running live music festival – this is the 27th annual Jazz Fest – is offering its usual cross-section of jazz, R & B and funk.

In all, 350 musicians in more than 60 bands will perform 85 concerts on 12 different festival stages around downtown Victoria between June 24 and July 3.

Besides Williams, de Lucia and Earle – who caught Mar’s attention because he is touring with his original band, the Dukes – other big names include the powerful Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux.

Mar is enthusiastic about the inclusion of such newcomers as Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Christian McBride and Inside Straight and the energetic Tom Fun Orchestra.

And the raft of talented local and regional musicians in the lineup promise inspired performances, many of which are free.

A full listing of shows can be found online at or in the official program guide, available at all Serious Coffee and TD Bank locations and soon all Thrifty Foods stores on Vancouver Island.