2015 September 26, Nuit Blanche finally comes to Edmonton. Here are some images from the first couple of hours of the all night arts celebration in and about Churchill Square.
See more on the part 2 post: Nuit Blanche II
A early afternoon stroll in downtown Edmonton revealed a lot of natural and man-made beauty.
One of the things that most caught my eye was the progress on the Kelly Ramsay Tower construction. Especially impressive was seeing the unveiling of the historic facade at the base of the building.It seems they have done a great job in cleaning up the brickwork and restoring it to its former glory.
Another (the third) in my unplanned series of portraits of Edmonton citizens. What I find interesting is that these people all asked me to take their photo. I never went out planning to take portraits of random people on the street, I never asked them if I could take their photo. They asked me and I have had no reason not to.
This gentleman approached me as I was walking home. He said to me, something to the effect, “May I ask you a question?; please don’t judge me” He went on to tell me his story: He has had better days but now finds himself homeless, living in the river valley. Most saddening he says he has lung cancer and only 2 months to live.
Nonetheless, he appeared strong, his voice and spirit, that afternoon. He asked me to take his photo and asked if I would post it online. I said I probably would if that was okay with him. Regrettably I did not write down his name and have forgotten. But we shall not forget his face and spirit.
My other street portraits posts:
On Wednesday, June 24th the early afternoon jazz concerts in Churchill Square continued. This day it was the Latin jazz sound of the TILO PAIZ QUINTET. The leader of the group is drummer Tilo Paiz, originally from El Salvador.
This post is a continuation of my 2015 June 23rd post where I shared some images of The Heavyweights Brass Band. This post is the same band, same performance but images that are a bit more fun.
Occasionally the guys put down their horns and add some vocals as in the tune “Float“:
Adding to the fun at the Edmonton performance was one guy from the audience (in a big cowboy hat), dancing away in front of the stage:
Today (2015 June 23) on The Works stage in Churchill Square, Edmonton was a band that blew me away – The Heavyweights Brass Band.They are a Toronto-based, New Orleans influenced group. Being a trumpet player myself I have passion for brass instruments in general and trumpets in particular. This band features TWO excellent trumpets as well as a trombone and sousaphone and sax and drums – what a powerful sound!
Some may wonder why there would be two trumpets in a sextet but there was more than enough work to keep the two of them busy. Each took a turn with some impressive solo work and when they teamed up it was great.
Also very impressive was saxophonist Paul Metcalfe.
Metcalfe was a passionate performer and the composer of a number of the band’s original pieces. The original pieces were good as were their versions of traditional jazz pieces (St. James Imaginary Blues was great) and some unexpected jazzifying of rock/pop tunes including Rush’s YYZ and Michael Jackson’s Beat It.
Butcher, who lived in Sherwood Park for a number of years, was the band’s leader on stage.
It was a very enjoyable show and although I had intended to just be there for the first set, I just had to extend my lunch hour and stay around for the second set. I also had to buy one of their CD’s – their latest Brasstronomical.
This performance in Edmonton was just one stop in their cross-country tour this summer. I doubt that I’ll get a chance to see them again soon but I will definitely look for a future opportunity.
Today I spent my lunchtime in Edmonton’s Churchill Square taking in three of my favorite things: sunshine, art and jazz. As part of The Works (Art and Design Festival) and tying in with the Edmonton International Jazz Festival there are daily jazz concerts from 12:00 to 2:00. Today on stage was the John Sweenie 4Tet.
The quartet’s leader is Edmonton saxophonist John Sweenie:
With some solid original works and good takes on classics, the John Sweenie 4Tet delivered a very enjoyable performance! I look forward to hearing them again someday and hearing other jazz artists over the rest of this festival.
Last summer I noticed that 96 Street (between Jasper Avenue and 103A Avenue) in east downtown Edmonton, disappeared! It was blocked off, dug up and even no longer appeared on Google Maps. I found the construction annoying as a pedestrian and a driver and especially last autumn when construction activity stopped, the roads remained closed and the sidewalks and were largely in-accessible. Construction resumed this spring but it was still not clear to me what was going on.
Yesterday afternoon I walked a bit out of my usual path to check out what might be happening. When I got to 96 Street and 102 Avenue, I saw, I understood and I was impressed.
A block worth of black, white and grey paving stones could be seen through the construction fence and on one section of sidewalk that is open.
Fortunately there are not many businesses along this stretch of 96St. that will be affected by this long and disruptive project but the venerable Double Greeting Wonton House is one that will no doubt be glad when the work is done and appreciate the extra traffic that should then be attracted to the area.
Work is still ongoing and I would guess it will take most of the summer but by its completion I am finally going to believe that this downtown revitalization east of 97 Street, is more than just a plan. I say that having listened with anticipation to a number of announced plans going back to the early-90’s.
Capping off 96 Street at Jasper Avenue is the new Hyatt hotel, that is nearing completion. There is a lot of construction in the downtown area, many building certainly larger than this one and arguably better situated but this Gene Dub design may be the most architecturally interesting and attractive building going up in the City.
Louise McKinney Park is situated in Edmonton’s river valley next to downtown. Near the upper east end of the park is a Chinese garden that features in a few of these images I captured on this afternoon in mid-May. Just hinted at in a few of these images are tje flowering trees that are magnificent at this time of year.
May 6th (2015) brought a dump of wet snow to Edmonton. The morning of the 7th started with fog but soon gave way to sunshine that melted away much of the snow. The combination of snow, green leaves and blue sky made for an attractive day.