While workers are busy building a stage on the Halifax Common for Paul McCartney, musicians are preparing for another big event in Halifax - the 23rd annual Atlantic Jazz Festival.

 

The popular festival kicks off tomorrow and organizers aren’t expecting a drop in attendance because of other big events in the city, including McCartney and next week’s tall ships festival.

 

The usual numbers of 60,000 people are expected to attend concerts over nine days at venues around Halifax.

 

“Having so many large events in one week is definitely going to put a strain on the ticket buyer,” said festival artistic director Laura (Lulu) Healy. “But I also know we have a really dedicated core of jazz festival lovers that come every year, and it is one of the city's largest
cultural events and one of the biggest music festivals in the Maritimes.”

 

It also helps that they’ve got some big talent to draw audiences in.

On opening night, Kenny Garrett, a saxophone player who cut his chops playing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Miles Davis will perform at 8 p.m. at the main festival tent on the corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street.

“He is quite possibly one of the biggest jazz acts we’ve ever brought, so we’re very excited about the show,” Healy said.

Another big show is Monday night in the festival tent, where the John Abercrombie Quartet will play at 8 p.m.

“(He’s) one of the best jazz guitarists in the world,” according to Healy.

Healy is most excited for The Bad Plus, a band from New York that “jazzifies” pop and rock songs from artists like the Pixies, David Bowie, and Nirvana.

“It’s important to note we have music for all tastes, it’s not just straight ahead jazz,” she said.

For a complete list of events for the jazz festival go to www.atlanticjazzfestival.ca.