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September 15, 2006

Canadian Jazz Musicians to Headline at Jazz Festival in Mongolia

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian Jazz News

Canadians to Appear at Giant Steppes Jazz Festival, Mongolia

Calgary based jazz ensemble Northern Lights Quartet are about to take the sound of Canadian jazz to far-away Mongolia where they are slated to perform October 5-7th at the Giant Steppes Jazz Festival in Ulaanbaatar.

The quartet will appear alongside fellow headliners, pianist Steve Tromans U-Bop Band (Ulaanbaatar) and pianist Bob Bellows (US) for the Main Stage Concert Thursday October 5th. The program also includes headline club performances on Friday October 6th and Saturday October 7th. Several events will be covered by the UBS Television and FM radio stations.

Recognized leaders in Calgary, the Northern Lights Quartet is formed by Bruce Petherick (piano), Keith Smith (guitar), John Hyde (bass) and Robin Tufts (percussion), with each member highly regarded as musicians, composers, and educators. The group will be joined for the tour by Calgary vocalist Deb Rasmussen.

In addition to making their festival appearances the musicians will spend a week collaborating with local artists and teaching students of jazz, investing their talents in the growth of the fledgling Mongolian scene. The group have also been invited to lend their expertise and advice to the Ministry of Education and the UB Jazz Academy toward their development of jazz education programmes.

The idea for the tour was spawned when Mongolian pianist/drummer N. Ganbat traveled to Calgary last year and met the members of Northern Lights Quartet at a local jazz club. Ganbat is an established leader in his own right, and has collaborated with pianist/composer Steve Troman, a UK native who currently lives in Ulaanbaatar, to found the Giant Steppes festival and the UB Jazz Academy. They’ve also established the U-/bop Band, a trio with US bassist Andrew Colwe, also living and teaching in the Mongolian city.

When the Calgary musicians heard of their efforts to promote and foster jazz music and education in Mongolia, they threw their weight on board, taking the message out to the community. Contributions of items such as instructional books, DVD’s and videos, and music texts have been donated by Calgary’s business and music community, and the project has gained the support of the provincial government through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, assisting the Canadian musicians to participate in the festival.

For more information on Northern Lights Quartet and the Mongolian project, you can visit their blog at www.intendedaudience.com/prairiesteppes.

For more information on the Great Steppes Jazz Festival and UB Academy visit www.jazzmongolia.com

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