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Friday, December 1, 2023
Arts: Twilight Jazz and Blues Series back for 11th year
The Nick Maclean Quartet, featuring Brownman Ali, will kick off the TD Niagara Jazz Festival's Twilight Jazz and Blues Series at The Hare Wine Co. on Oct. 16. Supplied

Juliet Dunn remembered a time when she was speaking with her late husband and jazz partner Peter Shea about the TD Niagara Jazz Festival.

“He used to ask me how long I was going to do the festival, saying how stressful it is,” Dunn, the festival’s co-creator, recalled. “I said, after all this work, at least 10 years.”

Now, music lovers can celebrate as the festival is gearing up for year 11, starting with a trio of shows at The Hare Wine Co.

The monthly Twilight Jazz and Blues Series — Niagara-on-the-Lake Edition will make its debut on Oct. 16 with a show by the Nick Maclean Quartet, featuring Brownman Ali.

Pianist Maclean and trumpeter Ali will be joined by fellow jazz veterans Ben Duff on bass and Jacob Wutzke on piano.

The show will also celebrate the release of the group’s CD, “Convergence,” a successor to the quarter’s debut effort, “Rites of Ascension.”

For her part, Dunn, who is also the festival’s executive artistic producer, is happy with its progress over the course of more than a decade.

“It just keeps getting better and better,” she said.

The series continues on Nov. 20 with a show by The George Koller Trio, followed by a show on Dec. 18 by The Shirantha Beddage Quartet. More shows will be added. All shows are at 7 p.m.

Dunn, meanwhile, said she is grateful the Hare is hosting the shows. The winery has been the venue for the Twilight Jazz and Blues Series since last year. Previously, it was held in St. Catharines.

“We’re just really glad to be back in there,” she said. “It’s such a great venue.”

And while Shea passed away in 2022, he will be a part of the festival in spirit, Dunn said.

“We’re bringing back Peter’s piano. It will be great to have an acoustic piano there.”

The series is also introducing a new sponsor into the mix, with Kim Schwenker of Sotheby’s International Realty now coming on board to support the show.

Individual shows are $39 each while a series pass is available for $99. Both are plus taxes and fees.

Tickets for all shows can be purchased at showpass.com.

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