BANFF – The last time Jens Lindemann, a world-renowned award-winning trumpeter, graced the Bow Valley with his presence he was stuck in a snowstorm that left many trapped in their vehicles for upwards of 11 hours.
Around hour six in the dreary fog while people shivered and the snow continued to fall, Lindemann got out of his car, took his trumpet from its case and began playing ‘Oh Canada’ into the snowflakes, the notes drifting along beautifully down the long line of cars.
Now, returning to Banff in fortunately a much warmer season to play his trumpet outdoors yet again, Lindemann said the mountain weather has never been a hindrance for him.
“You know in the middle of summer, I'll be making a reference to a snowstorm,” he said through laughter.
“I’m always happy to come back. I know the weather can turn in a nano second. Everybody that attends the concert will fully understand and appreciate the irony of coming back and playing in the summer, knowing that at any moment the weather can turn. But I don’t care if it’s cold or not, the show will go on and I know how to play in minus 30 degree weather now.”
Speaking to the Outlook from his deck in Los Angeles a day before he’d travel to the Bow Valley, Lindemann’s positive energy was infectious. He talked of his upcoming performance at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity celebrating the 45th anniversary of its jazz program – a program he said has been integral to his career – with an enthusiasm that would make anyone smile.
“My relationship to Banff is very, very special. I’ve been coming up there since 1984 almost on an annual basis. I started as a high school student and it was the first time that I was exposed to international artists,” he said.
“You can imagine for a kid that grew up in northern Alberta and had never been out of city before, once you got exposed to all these different talents from around the world and realized that you yourself fit in, it allowed you to start thinking outside the box. That is why I’m a huge champion for the Banff Centre. I’m an ambassador for them in every kind of way because they’ve given me everything I have today, they are fundamentally responsible for the roots of everything I’ve been able to do in my career.”
The show will be held at the Shaw Amphitheatre, conducted by Matt Catingub and joined by some of Canada’s best musicians; Steve Moretti, Robi Botos and Mike Downes. The show itself will be what Lindemann refers to as “the big band reimagined,” featuring music from Nat King Cole and one of the jazz programs founders, Oscar Peterson.
“It’s all typical big band music from the 50s and 60s but it’s been given an updated groove,” said Lindemann.
“We’ve revamped all these charts and we’re celebrating that particular era which was basically the rock and roll music of its day, and when rock and roll kicked in in the mid 60s, big band started going away but before that, these were the hottest tunes on the radio and people were dancing to them everywhere so that’s what we’ve decided to go for in this particular production.”
And Lindemann said they’ve brought in the best to make it happen.
“[It’s] a mix of legendary players, translation slightly on the older side, and then we have a mixture of a lot young people and even an all female trombone section which was done very much by design,” he said.
“A mixture of age, style, gender, [we sought] out the best players in the country to do this act. I mention very proudly that we have an all female trombone section because quite frankly the sooner we can stop using the preface ‘female’, the sooner we can all move forward and talk about great musicians in general. So that’s what this is – a concert to celebrate that 45 year tradition and we’ve brought in the best musicians in the country to do so.”
To top it all off, Lindemann will be playing a horn that belongs to Doc Severinsen, an iconic jazz trumpeter who led the band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Lindemann describes Severinsen as “92-years-old young,” “the king of big band,” his long-time friend, and someone with an unwavering unique character.
“He’s not only a legend in the trumpet world but he is my hero and he is the reason that I play the trumpet so the fact that Doc would honour me by giving me one of his horns to play and record on for this session just adds a certain very special quality to all of this,” he said.
“And that’s the idea, we want people to feel like this is an experience. Kind of travelling back in time and revisiting these great, great tunes but doing them in an updated way which is very, very user friendly, people are going to love it.”
If you aren’t sure whether or not you should go, Lindemann has one promise.
“If you don’t know me yet, you’ll learn one thing very quickly – I do not do boring concerts.”
The concert will be held on Sunday, July 21 at the Shaw Amphitheatre. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.banffcentre.ca. Lindemann also plays at the Banff Centre on July 25.