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Jazzy performances this month from the Yardbird Suite

The Littlebirds and a tribute to Tommy Banks--just a couple of offerings this month. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

December Bands Streaming Live

EDMONTON- The Yardbird Suite closes out 2021 with a variety of jazz Trios, Quartets, Quintets, the Littlebirds Youth Band, and a very special tribute to Tommy Banks.
"We want to wish all our supporters a very happy holidays," said Executive Director Todd Crawshaw. "As we welcome 2022 we look forward to seeing you all at the Yardbird Suite very soon. We're opening to the public one time before year's end in celebration of our Littlebirds. A limited number of tickets have been released - come see the future YEG jazz superstars in this exclusive engagement" 
Curated by Edmonton musicians Nicolás Arnáez, Dave Babcock, Julie King, Mboya Nicholson, Stephanie Urquhart, Peter Zawalski, all Yardbird Suite online performances are AHS-approved with stringent safety protocols in place for artists and sound technicians. Memberships and passes are available on the website at
Here are bands streaming live in December.
Friday December 10 Redline Trio Calgary   Jeff Sulima, drums Mark DeJong, tenor saxophone Steve Shepard, bass   Solid grooves, melodically adventurous and a tight, jazz sound fuel the Redline Trio’s frequent performances around western Canada. Their self titled album features 7 songs written by members of the group as well as a version of “Poor Butterfly”, a classic tune written in 1916.   Redline Trio performs weekly at a local speakeasy and has been featured at the NVRLND Creative Music Fest, JazzYYC Winter Jazzfest and The Brightside Arts Festival. They have presented feature concerts at cSPACE and the King Eddy in Calgary, as well as artsPlace in Canmore. Redline Trio have been keeping company with Brad Turner, Steve Hudson, Brandi Disterheft, Mike Rud, Quincy Troupe and Calgary’s Poet Laureate Sheri-D Wilson.
Saturday December 11 Kate Blechinger Quintet Edmonton   Kate Blechinger, vocals Talesa Mandin, piano + vocals Andreas Wegner, bass Brett Hansen, guitar Joel Jeschke, drums   Kate Blechinger is an award-winning vocalist, composer, and arranger based in Treaty 6 Territory. Musically, Kate takes direct influence from the vast prairie landscapes of her youth to create expansive, evocative compositions and arrangements for listeners to enjoy. Pairing the lush harmony and spirited improvisation of jazz with sincere storytelling born out of the folk genre, Kate creates a fusion that is personal, poetic, and playful. Kate’s debut 2018 album, Under a Dancing Sky, features innovative folk-jazz arrangements of Joni Mitchell’s compositions alongside several of Kate’s original songs. “[Her] arrangements are sculpted perfection and Blechinger's voice like liquid peace.” Chris Haynes, CBC News, September 2019.

Sunday December 12 Littlebirds Edmonton   Combo Three Anna Heintzman, trumpet Amanda Dang, alto saxophone Paxton Atrens, trombone Sam Heintzman, piano Caleb Hunt, bass David Vela, drums   Combo Two Ntibem Fonji, trumpet Michelle Makila, alto saxophone Yitian Fan, trombone Jeremy Weins, piano Jessica Pradhan, bass Anthony Flanagan, drums   Combo One Sam Heintzman, trumpet Ijaz Janmohamed, alto saxophone Brett Merkosky, trombone Caleb Hunt, baritone saxophone Thorin Freeman-Peters, guitar Jonan Ulloa-Neilson, piano Logan Calder, bass Jacob Tanner, drums   The Littlebirds are proud to present a concert featuring three jazz combos. Come and hear the best young players in the city play a delightful concert of popular jazz standards and contemporary music. Limited tickets for this in-person public performance now available on the website.


Tuesday December 14 Derek Wiens Trio Edmonton   Derek Wiens, guitar Kody Cole, bass Joel Payne, drums   Derek Wiens Trio is a guitar-led, instrumental fusion band. The group will be performing original music written by Derek Wiens. We hope you enjoy!


Friday December 17 and Saturday December 18 A Tribute to Tommy Banks Calgary & Edmonton   Chris Andrew - Piano Kodi Hutchinson – Bass Dave Laing – Drums   Special Guests:   PJ Perry – Saxophone Al Muirhead - Trumpet Mallory Chipman – Vocals    As one of western Canada's musical icons, Tommy had a great effect on the careers and approach of all the members of HAT as well as countless others across Canada. In celebration of what would be his birthday, the Hutchinson Andrew Trio will be joined by close friends and colleagues of Tommy including saxophonist PJ Perry, trumpeter Al Muirhead and vocalist Mallory Chipman. The group will be performing music closely connected with this JUNO-winning master of the piano including some of his favourite tunes and his originals. Come see this celebration of Albertan and Canadian jazz icon Tommy Banks, livestreamed and recorded for future release on Chronograph Records.   Hutchinson Andrew Trio The multiple-award-winning Hutchinson Andrew Trio is a vital and distinctively western force on the Canadian and international jazz scene. The group’s third album, 2013’s Prairie Modern, was featured in jazz bible Down Beat magazine, which called the album “a terrific listen, with great musicianship throughout.” Their most recent album, Hollow Trees, was written specifically for the seven-piece configuration of the HAT and the Lily String Quartet. Its music features powerful, moving compositions by HAT pianist Chris Andrew that combine the beauty of classical chamber music with the drive and interplay of jazz.   The trio’s many honours include Western Canadian Music Awards nominations for all their albums, and the prestigious TD Grand Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.   About Tommy Banks   The Honourable Tommy Banks was known as a pianist, conductor, arranger, composer, TV personality, actor, producer and politician (1936-2018). Tommy had an unparalleled, multi-faceted career spanning more than 60 years in virtually every aspect of the entertainment industry in Canada. A professional jazz pianist at age 14, he went on to lead his own bands, conduct symphony orchestras around the world, direct musical ceremonies at international events, host his own long-running television show, and act in film and television. He also served nearly 12 years in the Canadian Senate.  Tommy was chair (1978–86) of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts and chair (1983–87) of the music program at Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton. He was a member (1989–95) and a policy consultant (1996– 98) of the Canada Council, and the chairman of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation (1989–91).  In 1999, Edmonton named a street Tommy Banks Way in his honour. In 2010, he received SOCAN’s special achievement award for his contributions to Canada’s music industry and musical heritage.