Organizers are putting the finishing touches on this year’s Jazz at the Lake event at Sylvan Lake, set to run this weekend.
One of the headliners, Dee Daniels, is bringing her wide range of musical skills to the event which kicks off Thursday. Daniels performs Aug. 17.
Whether accompanying herself at the piano, fronting a trio, big band or symphony, Daniels’ musical career is as varied as her four-octave vocal range is thrilling.
Though she taught high school art for a year in Seattle, she quickly realized that her true calling was music. Her vocal style was born in her stepfather’s church choir in Oakland, California, refined through the R&B era, polished during a five-year stay in the Netherlands and Belgium from 1982 to 1987 and brought to full fruition upon her return to North America.
During those years to the present, she has performed and recorded with many ‘Legends of Jazz’ including Toots Thielemans, Houston Person, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Monty Alexander, John Clayton, and Jeff Hamilton, Hank Jones, Bill Mays, Dennis MacKrel, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski and Russell Malone – to mention a few.
Career highlights include Daniels being named artistic director, in September of 2011, of the Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival – a camp dedicated to jazz vocals with around 60 participating schools.
She is also the 2009 receipt of an Honourary Doctorate Degree of Fine Arts and 2008 President’s Award, both from Capilano University and the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
With the creation of her Symphony Pops programs, ‘Great Ladies of Swing’, ‘The Soul of Ray: The Music of Ray Charles’ and ‘A Night Out With the Boys’, Daniels has also enjoyed sharing stages with symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Canada.
She has toured with the Nord Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and recorded her Wish Me Love CD with The Metropole Orchestra of Holland and recorded the Holiday Pops CD with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among other accomplishments.
Also set to appear at the Festival is the P.J. Perry Quartet on Aug. 16. Perry has shared the stage with countless greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Michel LeGrand, Kenny Wheeler and Tom Harrell.
In 2007, Perry was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta. In 1999 Justin Time Records released a Juno winning recording of Perry and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Perry has become recognized by critics, colleagues and listeners as being one of North America’s premier saxophonists.
He is considered to be Canada’s finest saxophonist. His intimate musical knowledge of the great 20th century composers, such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and Duke Ellington, delights pops audiences all over the world.
Recently, Perry was a featured soloist on the hit 2010 Broadway production of Come Fly Away, highlighting the songs of Frank Sinatra and the choreography of Twyla Tharpe.
Also planning to perform is The Alberta Playboys on Aug. 16-17 and Boogie Patrol on Aug. 17 as well.
Boogie Patrol have played hundreds of shows since their inception, having headlined numerous festivals, including North Country Fair, Pembina River Nights, Beaumont Blues Festival, the Sasquatch Gathering and Wild Oats & Notes. In 2011, Boogie Patrol had the honour of opening for both The Fabulous Thunderbirds as well as Blues legend Buddy Guy, both in Calgary and Edmonton.
Organizers say that Sylvan Lake has a rich musical history, much greater in scope than its relatively small, but rapidly growing population would seem to warrant.
The legendary days of the Varsity Hall with its travelling Alberta and Canadian bands are remembered by many in the community.
The town has fostered some of the country’s best jazz artists. The aforementioned two-time Juno Award winner Perry, one of the finest saxophonists in the country, hails from Sylvan Lake.
Senator Tommy Banks, a world class jazz musician is also a well known source of pride to the area. International jazz recording artist Cheryl Fisher claims her roots in Sylvan and has a home there still.
For more information, check out www.jazzatthelake.com.