Great Musicians Play Great Music For Great Audiences

Our Goals:

  1. To present an annual jazz festival in Downtown Nanaimo
  2. To provide local opportunities for local and internationally known jazz artists
  3. To increase tourism to downtown nanaimo through live jazz performance
  4. To develop a greater appreciation and audience for jazz music by performing more of it locally
  5. To work with other jazz festivals and organizations to help further the same and similar goals.

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  • Latest from the blog

    Latest News

    Media Release: Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Launched

    Nanaimo’s first International Jazz festival will be launched at 4:30pm, on Thursday, Nov. 24, at the Port Theatre.

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    ~~~ We're celebrating a birthday ~~~

    Nanaimo Celebrates Jazz 100th Birthday
    On Sunday, February 26,  Nanaimo’s Port Theatre will host Canada’s only celebration of the 100th birthday of recorded jazz.
    25  jazz musicians, including James McRae’s Black / Lister / McRae Trio;  Andrew Homzy’s NOLA NightHawks;  and the Nanaimo Jazz Jam, Inc. will include some musical surprises in the Gala Concert.
    February 26, 1917 was the actual day, 100 years ago, of the first “Jass" recording.”  February is also Black History Month, and the hit song ‘Darktown Strutters Ball” by African-Canadian composer Shelton Brooks was among those historic recordings, and will be performed. 
    “We’re  celebrating  both Canada-150 and Jazz-100” says Andrew Homzy.  "Nanaimo built an Opera House in 1879, and became a  Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012.  We’re  building on that rich history by bringing professional jazz to Nanaimo’s downtown venues and public spaces  - including Diana Krall Plaza.
    Produced by the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association in partnership with the TD Bank, the City of Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Foundation and the Hospitality Association,  this Birthday Gala kicks off a series of events leading up to a three-day downtown Nanaimo Jazz Festival in September.
    Tickets:            $30    
    Port Theatre  or Fascinating Rhythm, 51 Commercial Street
    Members          $25    
    With “coupon code”. [ Memberships available at  ]
    University and Diploma students    $15  
    High school and younger  $5 NEW-EyeGO_logo.jpg & Child
    On February 26, 1917, five New Orleans musicians went into the Victor recording studio in New York and “waxed” two sides - “Dixie Jass Band One-Step (side A) and “Livery Stable Blues (side B) - the spelling jass was soon to change to jazz. 
    These recordings by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) are now regarded as the very first documents of recorded jazz and were sold around the world. Both pieces remained in the jazz repertoire and will be played at this concert. 
    About three months later, the ODJB went to the Columbia recording studios and waxed two more sides. “At The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (side A) was a piece by the African-Canadian composer, Shelton Brooks. Thus, as we celebrate the 100th birthday of recorded jazz, so we can celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and the part that our country played in the earliest days of recorded jazz. This piece will also be played on the program.
    James McRae’s Black-Lister-McRae Trio. This is a Piano trio featuring Miles Black on piano,  Ken Lister on bass, and James McRae on drums. We will be playing  'jazz standards' and original songs with an emphasis on empathetic listening.
    Black-Lister-McRae Trio:
    Andrew Homzy’s NOLA NightHawks, a 10-piece professional jazz band, is well known up and down Vancouver Island for their unique mix of traditional jazz and contemporary New Orleans music - which they also apply to George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” as well as popular songs by the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, the Rolling Stones. There recent show, A Tour Of The Blues - a tribute to The Father Of The Blues, W.C. Handy won critical praise from their six performances in Chemainus and Nanaimo.
    NOLA Nighthawks:
    The Nanaimo Jazz Jam will feature more than 25 of Nanaimo’s best jazz musicians in an exciting display of emotional and virtuoso improvisations (sweet and hot) - as well as some musical surprises.
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    In The News: Nanaimo association creating jazz festival

    Check out coverage of our launch event by Rachel Stern from the Nanaimo News Bulletin:

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