Archive for the ‘WIJBF 2011’ Category


An Interview With Bill Brennan

July 12, 2011

By Jonathan Hicks


A pianist and percussionist, Bill Brennan is a very well-known player in the Newfoundland and Labrador jazz scene and the local music scene in general. At the young age of eight Bill began playing music and because of his dedication, his knowledge and love of music is tremendous. He has recorded solo albums and has also played and recorded with artists such as: Mika Yoshida, Sisters Euclid (“All Good Babies Go to War”), Andrea Koziol (“Coming of Age”), Curtis Andrews (“The Offering of Curtis Andrews”), Snook (“Snook’s Christmas”) and many more. He has also performed on two motion picture scores:  “Ice Storm” (Director: Ang Lee) and “Antoine Fisher” (Director: Denzel Washington). Bill has composed numerous pieces for piano as well as pieces for percussion and jazz ensembles. He has performed in Norway, Germany, Austria, Japan, Belgium, France, Portugal and Canada. Bill’s performance history ranges from music for theater, contemporary, folk, orchestral and jazz.

Playing jazz became a part of Bill’s life 28 years ago while he was attending university. He was drawn to jazz at this time because jazz music gave him “the ability to express”. Bill’s biggest music/jazz influences include “Stevie Wonder, Don Wherry, Keith Jarrett [and] Egberto Gismonti” and if you were to ask who he enjoys listening to and who he draws inspiration from he would say “Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Shirley Horn, Toots Thielemans, John Coltrane, Herbie, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler and so many more.”

Bill has been performing in the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival (WIJBF) for seven years and in that span of time has played with about 6 or 7 groups at the festival. Bill believes that the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival is having a very positive effect on the St. John’s and Newfoundland and Labrador music scene and says that he enjoys seeing other musicians perform and “bring jazz alive in the city.” Bill’s favourite memories from past years at the festival include “Rinse the Algorithythm” (a group that fuses new and old jazz traditions with modern dance music) performing at last year’s festival and the closing night party at The Dusk in 2009.

Finally I asked Bill “What tips would you give to a jazz musician trying to get themselves and their music recognized?” His response could apply to any musician and was simple yet profound: “Realize that it is a tough road but totally worth it.”


Kenwood Dennard Rocking the House at the 2011 WIJBF

July 11, 2011

Kenwood Dennard is a multi-talented drummer/keyboardist/composer extraordinaire.  Kenwood has played with a laundry list of incredible musicians including jazz greats like Miles Davis and Quincy Jones , Pop sensations like Whitney Houston and Vanessa Williams, and even the Boston Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few.  Kenwood is recognized all over the world as a highly skilled professional; not only is he a Berkeley Professor, but he has also won awards such as the Salute the African American Composer Award, and Modern Drummer’s 5th Best Funk Drummer in the World.

Kenwood is a true artist and has limitless potential as a musician, so be sure to catch Kenwood Dennard, Delmar Brown, and Chulo Gatewood on July 16th, 12:30pm at Atlantic Place and again at 8:00pm at the Majestic Theatre, or check out their Metarhythm Clinic 3:00pm at the Majestic Theatre.

Get tickets to see Kenwood here.


Amazing Sextet Tunnel Six at the 2011 WIJBF

July 7, 2011

Tunnel Six is comprised of six incredibly talented up-and-coming musicians from the US and Canada.  While they have only been playing together for a few years, their chemistry with each other is undeniable on stage.   The band performs original material composed by all of its members that incorporate strong storytelling and improvisational aspects into the music, which makes for a very interesting performance.  Tunnel Six are well on their way to the top, having already toured extensively from Montreal to Portland in 2010.

Tunnel Six is an amazing group on the rise to fame and are sure to put off a spectacular performance at the 2011 WIJBF.

Get your tickets to see Tunnel Six here.


Canadian Sweetheart Alex Pangman Performing at the 10th Annual WIJBF

July 6, 2011

Alex Pangman will be taking St. John’s by storm as she hits the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival on July 15th.  Alex is a superb singer and songwriter, and has the innate ability to breathe new life into classic jazz standards.  She has developed a very loyal following in Toronto among jazz listeners and dancers alike, and has gained significant International recognition for her work as well.  Alex and her Alley Cats have played concerts and halls all across Canada, not to mention an impressive showcase at the Montreal Jazz Festival.  She has garnered several awards like Songwriter of the Year from the National Jazz Awards, and a Genie Award for Best Original Song, making Alex Pangman a force to be reckoned with this summer.

You can catch Alex gracing the stage on July 15th, 8:15pm at the Masonic Temple with opening act the Marry Barry Quintet.  Be sure not to miss this great concert at the 10th Annual WIJBF.



Get tickets to see Alex here.


Sponsor of the Week: Toyota Plaza

July 5, 2011

The 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival is supported by many generous corporate and media sponsors, without whom this festival would not happen. To show our appreciation, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues (WJB) will be highlighting our valued sponsors.

Toyota Plaza has been serving the citizens of St. Johns and the Avalon Peninsula with integrity and value for over 35 years. The dealer is proud to offer the largest selection of new Toyotas in Newfoundland and Labrador for you to choose from. Their dedicated staff is committed to delivering exceptional customer service.

In addition to new cars and trucks, Toyota Plaza offers a wide selection of pre-owned vehicles and is capable of meeting all its customers’ parts, service, body shop and accessories needs. Check out their website for more info on their special offers.

From 1978 to 1993, Toyota Plaza operated out of their original location on Kenmount Road. Their consistent yearly increases in sales meant that a new larger home became necessary. In 1993 the dealership moved to its current location at 73 Kenmount Road, In the coming months they will have completed numerous improvements to their facility which will enable them to offer a truly “state of the art” ownership experience to their customers.

As a member of the Penney Automotive Group, their commitment to earning their customers’ trust through providing real service and real value will remain as always.

As a sponsor of the 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival, Toyota Plaza will be supporting our staff, volunteers, and artists by providing solutions to our transportation needs through their rental car service.

WJB would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the contributions of Toyota Plaza, the Sponsor of the Week!


Sponsor of the Week: The Telegram

July 5, 2011

The 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival would not be possible without the support of our corporate and media sponsors. To show our appreciation, Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues (WJB) will be highlighting our valued sponsors.

First published on April 3, 1879 and originally called The Evening Telegram, The Telegram is Newfoundland and Labrador’s oldest and largest daily newspaper. The Telegram has endeavored to provide fair and reliable reporting of the news and events that have shaped the history of the province. That tradition of commitment to the community still continues as their expert staff works even harder to meet and exceed the expectations of their readers and advertisers by delivering the highest standard of service.

The Telegram offers readers a comprehensive package of news and information, six days a week. It is proud of its heritage, but continues to change and invest heavily in the future. The Telegram is aggressively pushing itself on all fronts to ensure its position as the outstanding media source of news, information, entertainment and advertising material, whether as ink on paper or online.

There is a perfect fit between the Telegram and the 2011 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival. Both organizations share a commitment to the community in which they operate, and the Telegram’s generosity in providing advertising space and coverage of WJB artists and events. This year, the Telegram will be presenting one of the Festival’s marquee events – The Dog Berries and Marc McLean – at the Rocket Bakery on Friday, July 15th at 8:30pm. Come check it out!

WJB would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the contributions of NL Power, the Sponsor of the Week!


Blues Man Harry Manx to Perform at the 2011 WIJBF

July 4, 2011

On July 13th 2011, the 10th Annual Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival will open with a bang as “Mysticssippi” Blues man Harry Manx takes the stage at the Majestic Theatre.  Harry Manx has a style all his own, combining amazing Blues licks with Indian ragas to create a unique and even addictive sound.  Harry is an incredible artist, having played all over the world and having studied at the feet of master musicians like Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the inventor of Harry’s signature instrument the Mahon Veena.  He has also been recognized world-wide as a blues great, bolstering 7 Maple Blues Awards, 6 JUNO Nominations, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Solo Artist, and CBC Radio’s “Great Canadian Blues Award.”

Harry Manx is in a league of his own when it comes to Blues, so come see this master player at work on July 13th at 8:00pm at the Majestic Theatre.  Better hurry and get your tickets now as they are almost sold out!

Get your tickets here.

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