Jazz music has been around for more than a century, and Vancouver has always been one of the cities where you can fully enjoy its empowering presence. From small jazz pubs to the annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouverites are no strangers to the tunes of jazz bass, guitar, drums, and horns played by vivacious Canadian and international artists. This article will walk you through the selection of Vancouver’s jazz clubs and present the 26th TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar
O'Doul's Restaurant & Bar Interior
by O'Doul's Facebook Page
Forty years ago, O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar was opened by Tommy O’Brien on Ronson Street. It was named after coach “Lefty” O’Doul, who trained Vancouver Mounties back in the day. Its reinvention before EXPO ‘86 and reconstruction ten years later gave it the look it has today. You can enjoy a variety of dishes on the eclectic Pacific West Coast menu made with sustainable local ingredients. If you enjoy a glass of good wine, O’Doul’s won’t let you down. Calvin’s user-friendly wine list has been awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 1997. O’Doul’s has been featuring live music seven nights a week for over eight consecutive years. In June, you can enjoy artists like Mike Allen on Monday, Tony Foster on Tuesday, Jillian Lebeck on Wednesday, and Ross Taggart on Sunday nights.
The Libra Room
Situated in the heart of Commercial drive, the Libra Room has been one of the finest jazz clubs, offering live music seven nights a week for ten years now. Its wooden interior with centre bar and performance stage and its walls decorated by the works of local artists create a charming atmosphere that is very suitable for an evening with jazz music. Its West Coast and Italian selection of brunch and dinner menu are mostly prepared from local ingredients and are reasonably priced. The cocktail menu is very interesting since it is inspired by zodiac signs, and ingredients and spirits used are aligned according to them. The Libra Room is host to music events such as the New Music West festival, The Juno Festival, and the Vancouver Jazz Festival. Apart from these annual events, two bands perform every night, one starting at 6:30 P.M. and the other at 9:00 P.M., featuring musicians like John Korsrud, Wes Mackey, and Bruno Hubert.
Revel is located on Abbot Street, Gastown, and is open seven days a week with live music performances every Thursday. Its friendly atmosphere, together with an offer of West Coast cuisine and award-winning specialty cocktails, creates a nice place where you can spend your evening. The quality of the kitchen, however, might vary depending on the personnel in the kitchen the night of your visit. Despite these minor faults in food service, the place is worth going to just for its fantastic live music nights. The staff is very attentive as well. Bartenders are happy to explain every detail of what you’re drinking and the process of making your cocktails, which is really interesting!
26th annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
This year, Vancouver’s signature International Jazz Festival celebrates its 26th edition with a stellar lineup that includes international headliners like Wynton Marsalis, Paco de Lucia, Madeleine Peyroux, Colin James, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Christian McBride, Trombone Shorty, The Bad Plus, Atomic, Ana Moura, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Richard Galliano. New York composer and trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum said that, since its origin in 1986, “TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival has set the standard for excellence, creativity, and positive energy.” From June 24 to July 3, 2011, we’ll have a chance to see performances by the best Canadian and international jazz musicians. The festival is one of the largest in Canada, counting hundreds of thousands attendants, over one thousand volunteers, and more than one hundred free performances. According to the latest press release, the festival is “winner of numerous awards for Best Festival and praised as one of the leading jazz festivals in the world.”