International talent scheduled for Jazz Winnipeg stages this summer

Some big names are coming to downtown Winnipeg this summer.

Jazz Winnipeg unveiled its list of headliners Wednesday for this June’s Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, and they represent the international, genre-diverse programming the festival has become known for.

Joining the two previously announced headline acts — African vocal icon Angelique Kidjo and nostalgia-heavy Postmodern Jukebox — are trumpet virtuoso Keyon Harrold, Toronto pop singer-songwriter Rêve, acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen and his trio, and the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra.

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Kidjo, a five-time Grammy winner and activist from the west African nation of Benin, will perform at the Burton Cummings Theatre on June 17, after an opening set by acclaimed local francophone artist Kelly Bado.

The next night, also at the Burt, the YouTube-famous Postmodern Jukebox will perform its vintage takes on modern hits.

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Harrold — who has performed with the likes of Eminem, Beyonce and Snoop Dogg — will be backed by guests MC Black Milk, Chris (Daddy) Dave, and Georgia Anne Muldrow for a concert that explores the connections between jazz and hip-hop on June 14 at the Royal MTC John Hirsch Mainstage.

The show will be fittingly opened by Super Duty Tough Work, a Polaris Prize-nominated live-band hip-hop experience.

Juno-winning pop artist Rêve hits the same stage June 15, supported by the “modern vintage” sounds of R&B-pop artist Preston Pablo.

Cohen, whose trio performs at the Royal MTC Tom Hendry Warehouse June 16, is in high demand as a pianist, with a resume boasting gigs with jazz luminaries like Ron Carter and George Coleman — as well as an acclaimed solo catalogue as producer, performer and composer.

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The Sun Ra Arkestra. Jazz Winnipeg

Finally, on June 20, avant-garde jazz legends the Sun Ra Arkestra take over the Warehouse stage, continuing the unique Afro-futuristic legacy of the late experimental pioneer Sun Ra.

Although the group’s leader, 98-year-old saxophonist Marshall Allen — who first began working with Sun Ra in the 1950s — no longer travels with the Arkestra, the big band often features close to 20 members, many of whom are in their fourth or fifth decade of interpreting Sun Ra’s space-age material.

Tickets for the Angelique Kidjo and Postmodern Jukebox concerts are available now, while ticket details for the other headlining shows have yet to be released.

The festival also has a number of other artist announcements to come, including its always strong contingent of local performers, and the lineups for its ever-popular free outdoor concerts at the Cube in Old Market Square.

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