JazzStreet Celebrates Vancouver Artists

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Over the past 22 years, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival has built up an audience of thousands of passionate fans. But how many knew that Vancouver's jazz scene goes back to the turn of the 20th century?

Fans can learn more through JazzStreet Vancouver at jazzstreetvancouver.ca, a multimedia website launched by Coastal Jazz and Blues Society (CJBS) to raise the profile of Vancouver's vibrant jazz scene. The site documents music and interviews from resident musicians online, and gives historical context to the evolving music scene from the 1900s to present day.

"Visitors to JazzStreet Vancouver can listen, watch, and read about local artists who have left behind musical legacies in Canada," said Kristin Fung, Education, Outreach and Community Programs Coordinator with CJBS, which also produces the TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

2010 Legacies Now provided $20,000 in seed funding from its Catalyst program to enable CJBS to research Vancouver artists and venues. JazzStreet is one of hundreds of arts and culture projects funded through 2010 Legacies Now, which helps BC organizations strengthen, enhance and showcase their work.

Eleanor Collins is one of many resident musicians featured on the site. She broke new ground in the industry, becoming the first jazz singer and black woman to star in her own national weekly music variety TV series, The Eleanor Show (1955), which aired on CBC Television.

Bobby Hales, president of the Vancouver Musicians' Association, who is also featured on the site said: "Having something written about the performers makes people remember the artist and makes the industry more professional."

In future, JazzStreet will be used in high school curriculum, helping teachers bridge subjects such as language arts, music and social studies using the multimedia website.

"Investments such as this will give audiences, young and old, a chance to discover exciting stories and facts about Vancouver's creative and cultural heritage," said Fung.

Catalyst invests in BC arts, cultural and heritage organizations wishing to enhance their artistic, administrative and organizations capacities. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.