On behalf of the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association (NIJFA), we were honored to produce Nanaimo’s inaugural International Jazz Festival

September 15th to 17th, 2017


We don’t know when jazz was first heard in Nanaimo - but we can say that jazz has been a constant part of the living memory in this very musical town. Considering the award-winning jazz programs in the public schools and that Vancouver Island University offers the only jazz degree on the Island - and that the Nanaimo Area -- from the Cowichan Valley to the Comox Valley -- is home to many world-class jazz musicians, it seems time to have a Nanaimo Jazz Festival. And what better year to begin than 2017?

2017 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recordings, Canada’s 150th and the Nanaimo Musicians’ Association Band’s 50th. Furthermore, an African-Canadian composer, Shelton Brooks, was represented on those first recordings with his piece, "The Darktown Strutters Ball". As a new organization, the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association plans to schedule a number of events - both concerts and educational presentations - to celebrate these anniversaries in its inaugural year programs. Nanaimo has a distinguished connection with jazz in its professional performers, some who have achieved national and international recognition as well as its jazz education programs in both the public schools and Vancouver Island University.

Jazz is recognized as an art music. Without delving into how it differs from folk and entertainment music, jazz is at once accessible, joyful, thoughtful and widely expressive. It has rhythmic vitality, instrumental colours and wonderful tunefulness. It is one of the few musics which is inter- generational - meaning that it is common to see musicians who are age 20-and-less playing along with those who are 60-and-more. Jazz is a world-music and is unique in that improvisation is expected - improvisation which engages all the musicians and renews every performance of every piece. This spirit of improvisation adheres to democratic principles whereby each has their say in a respectful context.

We are only scratching the surface in presenting some of the great talents in the area.

With your support, the sound-of-jazz will continue to resonate in our community. You won’t be disappointed!

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