This is gonna sting — but in a jazzy, rock ‘n’ roll kind of way.

This is gonna sting — but in a jazzy, rock ‘n’ roll kind of way.

Jazz Winnipeg Fall Fest concert preview

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• Friday, Oct. 1
Project Jazz; Old Market Square, 8 to 11 p.m.
Jon Gordon; Rachel Browne Theatre, 7 p.m.
Rayannah; The King’s Head Pub, 9:30 p.m.
A Tribute to Sting; Rachel Browne Theatre, 9:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 2
Project Jazz; Old Market Square, 8 to 11 p.m.
Curtis Nowosad; Rachel Browne Theatre, 7 p.m.
Blues Night with Romi Mayes and Curtis Newton; The King’s Head Pub, 7 p.m.
A Tribute to Sting; Rachel Browne Theatre, 9:30 p.m.

• Sunday, Oct. 3
Jazz Jam; The King’s Head Pub, 7 p.m.

Jazz Winnipeg is hosting a three-day fall festival from Oct. 1 to 3 with two special tribute concerts to the music of Sting and his former band, the Police.

"It just happens to be Sting’s 70th birthday on October 2," says Zachary Rushing, Jazz Winnipeg’s programming manager. "It felt like a good occasion to get a collective going of Winnipeg musicians who are jazz or jazz-adjacent and just dive into that world. Sting is one of those artists who a lot of jazz musicians love."

A Tribute to Sting takes place Friday and Saturday at the Rachel Browne Theatre featuring covers and interpretations by musicians Jennifer Hanson, Sol James, Onna Lou, Ben Tamana and Brandi Vezina backed by house band Ego Spank with special guest Larry Roy.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Jennifer Hanson, who discovered the Police through the band’s Synchronicity album when she was 16, is emcee and performer for both shows.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Jennifer Hanson, who discovered the Police through the band’s Synchronicity album when she was 16, is emcee and performer for both shows.

"Everyone’s been super into it," Rushing says. "A couple of the people we asked are not super into Sting; not in a negative way, but just that they had never really been exposed to him before… those are the ones I’m most excited to see what they end up bringing to Sting and how they re-envision that music in a way that’s authentic to them."

Jennifer Hanson doesn’t fall into the latter category. She was 16 years old when she discovered the Police through its album Synchronicity. The genre-jumping record and complex subject matter opened her eyes to a wider world beyond her small town, evangelical upbringing.

"Rock and roll was an excellent way to rebel in a way that doesn’t kill you," she says. "We all get really attached to the people that played a part in who we became as teenagers, who we became as young adults, and Sting is definitely one of those people for me."

Saxophonist Jon Gordon performs at the Rachel Browne Theatre on Oct. 1 as part of Jazz Winnipeg's Fall Fest. (Supplied)</p>

Saxophonist Jon Gordon performs at the Rachel Browne Theatre on Oct. 1 as part of Jazz Winnipeg's Fall Fest. (Supplied)

Hanson will be emceeing both concerts and performing covers of the songs We’ll Be Together and Shadows In The Rain. She says the audience can expect to hear some recognizable tunes and learn some new points of interest about the artist.

"I hope people realize what a versatile musician Sting is," she says. "I love knowing what in the normal world would be useless facts about an artist… I’ve looked up quite a few facts about Sting and I look forward to diving in and picking out the ones that really jumped out at me and telling those on stage."

The Jazz Winnipeg fall festival also includes shows by saxophonist Jon Gordon, electro-alternative artist Rayannah and jazz drummer Curtis Nowosad. Local musicians Romi Mayes and Curtis Newton are collaborating on a blues night event and the festival wraps up with a two-hour jazz jam session at The King’s Head Pub hosted by the band Free Time and artist Niall Cade.

Electro-alternative artist Rayannah performs at the King's Head Pub on Oct. 1 as part of Jazz Winnipeg's Fall Fest. (Supplied photo by Travis Ross)</p>

Electro-alternative artist Rayannah performs at the King's Head Pub on Oct. 1 as part of Jazz Winnipeg's Fall Fest. (Supplied photo by Travis Ross)

Project Jazz, an immersive multimedia public art installation created for Culture Days Manitoba, will also be on display Friday and Saturday in Old Market Square during the concert series.

After two years of hosting Jazz Winnipeg concerts outdoors and online amid the pandemic, Rushing is excited to be holding shows indoors again.

"It’s amazing. And also complex because there’s moving pieces… we’re considering COVID precautions, (personal protective equipment), seating plans through every step of the process," he says. "But it’s also just so exciting because it feels like we’re moving back toward some version of what we used to call normal."

Ticketholders for indoor events must show proof of full vaccination at the door. Visit jazzwinnipeg.com/fall-2021 for tickets and a full lineup.

eva.wasney@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @evawasney

 

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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