NIJFA launches LIVE @ The Shaw 2024 Celebrating Women in Jazz

All shows start at 7:30pm at

Shaw Auditorium

of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

80 Commercial Street, Nanaimo

Friday March 8, 2024 @ 7:30pm (2 concerts)


The series kicks off on International Women’s Day with none other than Ms. Joani Taylor known as Canada’s “First Lady of the Jazz Ballad”. She has legendary status in Canadian music circles and has sung on thousands of film scores and recordings, working with a variety of luminaries from Bryan Adams, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Fraser MacPherson and Moe Koffman. For over 50 years, her impact on the Vancouver music scene has been immeasurable.


The second part of the opening night will shine the spotlight on some of Nanaimo’s more fledgling jazz musicians. The Cayleigh Borsboom Trio features three very accomplished musicians with Humber and VIU on their academic resumés. This trio features Cayleigh on woodwinds, Natasha Adams on vocals and Natasha Scott on drums..

Joani Taylor March 8
Cayleigh Borsboom

Friday March 22, 2024 @ 7:30pm (2 concerts) 


With a pure voice and sophisticated songwriting skills, awardwinning jazz vocalist Anne Schaefer has emerged as one of Vancouver Island’s most compelling musicians. A classically trained composer and multi-instrumentalist (on guitar and violin), Schaefer got the jazz bug in her teens. Today her music reflects both her diverse musical interests and a rich life that has seen her live in places as culturally distinct as Montreal and Argentina. “An exceptional voice, a poet’s eye and a courageous heart” – Greg Quill, Toronto Star 


Gabriola Island’s Tina Jones has been a treasured member of the Island’s music community for over 30 years. Her music journey, exploring classical and jazz to disco and JUNO-nominated kids’ music, has resulted in an earthy and expressive dive into the world of Canadian folk music. Her music is a unique blend of jazz and folk, played on the banjo in the clawhammer style with the addition of some of Western Canada’s finest jazz musicians. Tina’s music is described as “a luxurious blend of acoustic folk, rolled in soul, seasoned with jazz” (Dave O Rama for BC Musician Magazine).

Anne w:rock closeup
Tina Jones March 22 stage shot

Friday April 12, 2024 @ 7:30pm


Celebrated Canadian jazz bassist, composer, educator, and producer, Jodi Proznick earned acclaim as the Jazz Artist of the Year at the 2019 WCM Awards. With three Juno Award nominations, recognition at the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Arts and Music Awards in 2022 and winning the 2022 WCM Award for Instrumental Artist with the Jasmine Jazz Project, she stands out as one of Canada’s top jazz artists. She has garnered multiple National Jazz Awards, including Bassist of the Year; she has opened for Oscar Peterson; performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and her group, the Jodi Proznick Quartet, received accolades such as Acoustic Group of the Year and Album of the Year. The sensational multifaceted vocalist Shruti Ramani is the special guest at this featured concert. Shruti’s original music is an exciting and novel combination of Hindustani and Jazz traditions.



Jodi Proznick Creative shoot by Michele Mateus of Mateus Studios

Friday April 26, 2024 @ 7:30pm


The closing of the LIVE @ The Shaw series features The Leading Ladies, an 11-piece big band. Directed by trombonist Casey Thomas-Burns, this dynamic and vibrant group of young women recently returned from their 2023 West Coast Tour, where they were named as one to watch on the Canadian jazz scene. These fine musicians present a rare musical blend of classic and modern jazz, showcasing treasured pieces from the big band era alongside modern-day originals.


General Admission: $37.50 *

NIJFA members: $32.00 with Code *

Students with ID: $25.00 * Festival

4-show Pass: $110.00 (includes order fees and taxes)

The Port Theatre is located on Nanaimo’s waterfront downtown

125 Front Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 6Z4

TICKET CENTRE tickets@porttheatre.com | 250-754-8550

Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 5pm Saturday, 12pm – 5pm

Buy your $10 NIJFA membership now to take advantage of year-round discounts!

Once you are a paid member, we will send you a code for the show discount.

Dive deep into the heart and soul of Vancouver Island’s jazz scene. The rhythms and melodies at the last Festival were here not just in music but reflective of the island’s spirit and echo the sounds of its landscapes, communities, and cultural tapestry.







A Successful Jazzy Weekend


Not so long ago, September 15 to 17, Nanaimo saw more than 2500 music lovers enjoy a jazz-packed weekend which featured 20 live performances, held at 6 various venues around the downtown core and Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. “Best fest yet” F.B.

More than
127 musicians

Brian & Diana Krall
Black and white group photo of musicians at Nanaimo Jazz Festival

More than 127 musicians were hired for the 3-day festival, with acts ranging from soloists to 10-piece ensembles covering the many different styles of jazz enjoyed by a music-loving community. Aficionados commented on the great variety of jazz repertoire from which to chose, while some novices were introduced to this highly creative music, inspiring new enthusiasts along the way. “Such an amazing array of Jazz music this weekend!” P.L.

Group marching with sign reading "Natasha Hoskin's Stompers"

The Impact of Community Spirit

The weekend Jam Nights overflowed with collaborative spirit. The headliner of the Port show, home-town boy Connor Stewart, now living in New Orleans, and his hot band, generously joined the jam sessions to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd. “Connor was magnificent, welcome home!” K.R.

The weather on Saturday morning could not have been more co-operative for the 200+ colourfully clad musical-walk attendees who followed the 10-piece NIJFA Parade Band under the direction of Natasha Scott, with young Celtic dancer Estelle, who, sporting her rainbow butterfly wings, led the way along Nanaimo’s picturesque waterfront.

Older man and young woman smiling together

Loyal venue partners such as The Port Theatre, The Vault, The Modern and The Nanaimo BAR, were very well attended, while the newest venue introduced this year, The Courtyard at Marriott, hosted a duo for the first time and quickly recognized the value of live music in their establishment. “Love seeing locals out on the town!” K.

Jazz quartet playing brass instruments on stage
Man playing violin next to man singing on stage

Video messages from past students and colleagues such as David Gogo, Victor Bateman and Lynne MacNeil brought elements of nostalgia to the evening, and when the 600+ crowd was asked to stand if they had ever had Bryan as a teacher in their life, half the audience was on their feet. A testament to the impact of community spirit and the importance of mentorship.

Sunday started with the legendary Louise Rose singing the praises of love and kindness which warmed everyone’s heart and readied the crowd for the culmination of the festival: a rousing Dancing in the Streets themed celebration.

Man playing saxophone at the Nanaimo Jazz Festival

The All-Star Concert on Saturday night at the Port Theatre offered a tribute to one of Nanaimo’s most beloved and humble music mentors, Bryan Stovell. Not only was it a highpoint of the festival to witness the upbeat sounds of Steve Jones’ band Decadence, the NMA Big Band, and the Wellington Jazz Band, but the impromptu appearance by Nanaimo’s own Jazz Diva Diana Krall literally sucked the air out of the theatre for a brief moment as the near sell-out audience gasped when she walked out onto the stage! She graciously gave the crowd a song at the piano and then led her favorite teacher Bryan, to his podium to direct his NMA Big Band finale with special guests Phil Dwyer, Carmella Luvisotto and John Capon. “Such a classy evening” MW

The success of this year’s Jazz Festival is owed to many crucial elements working hand in hand.  The volunteers, the production crew, the City, the NIJFA Board of Directors and of course the loyal audiences who came to support the art of jazz in its many forms. Diversity and inclusivity were key festival elements underlining the value of creating space for everyone and fostering an environment of community connectivity.

NIJFA extends their gratitude to the Snuneymuxw Nation and acknowledges the lands upon which the music was performed and enjoyed over the 3-day weekend. And of course, a huge thank you to all the festival sponsors and in-kind supporters. Without their generous assistance, it would be impossible to produce events of this caliber that highlight the vibrant jazz community in Nanaimo.

Last Year's Guest Performers

Nanaimo has a distinguished connection with jazz in its professional performers, some who have achieved national and international recognition as well as its jazz education programs in both the public schools and Vancouver Island University.

Jazz music’s reputation for improvisation, collaboration and camaraderie is legendary in the music world. Nanaimo’s jazz connection is also acclaimed and unique.   This city can rightfully boast a cornucopia of home-grown musical talents. Some have blossomed internationally while others have fostered deep roots, cultivating their passion for music in their community, and nurturing the future generations.

Man playing saxophone on stage
Bonnie Brett singing into microphone on stage

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Senior woman volunteering at Nanaimo jazz Fest


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