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Edmonton Jazz Fest introduces eclectic mix

St. Albert's Chandelle Rimmer teams up with Tom Van Seters for a gig at Bellamy Lounge on June 29
Tom Van Seters and St. Albert's Chandelle Rimmer introduce their signature vibe during Jazz Fest at Bellamy's Lounge in Chateau Lacombe on Thursday, June 29.

EDMONTON - The TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival is programmed with an eclectic lineup that is not necessarily jazz. To stay relevant and financially afloat, artistic directors worldwide have incorporated other influences such as funk, soul and hip hop to rock, pop and Latin rhythms. 

For jazz aficionados, Jazz Fest’s artistic director, Kent Sangster, has programmed plenty of traditional pure jazz and the more challenging jazz. One act weaving together pure jazz into a more challenging contemporary pattern is pianist Tom Van Seters and St. Albert vocalist Chandelle Rimmer.  

They perform at the 2023 Jazz Fest at the intimate Bellamy’s Lounge in the Chateau Lacombe on Thursday, June 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission by donation. 

The duo mixes traditional and contemporary to create a unique sound that is true to their personalities. Both flavour jazz with influences from their past. 

“I grew up listening to pop and country and Tom, like most jazz musicians, played classical and grew up with jazz, pop and rock,” said Rimmer, section head of voice at MacEwan University’s music program.  

During the process of creating two albums, Stillness Falls (2018) and Be Kind (2022), Rimmer and Van Seters often used what they could spin and placed their stamp on it said Rimmer. 

“We like to make melodies that sound natural but are complex and challenging to execute. We enjoy finding harmonic and melodic twists. Even songs that are fairly straightforward, we try to find twists.” 

In their first collaboration, Stillness Falls, the duo made a conscious decision to compose music for an entire year exploring traditional jazz modes and creating their own signature charts. During the recording process, they called on the versatile Jamie Cooper (drums), Jim Head (guitarist) and Josh McHan (acoustic bass) for support. 

“We wrote a series of songs. A few stood out and felt complete. More than anything, we wanted to explore different compositional devices. We wanted to explore writing and to let it go where it wanted to go,” Rimmer said. “The result was a contemporary jazz vibe but in a style of traditional jazz. We tried to capture different colours and hues.” 

Be Kind instead was created during the pandemic under stricter conditions. 

“It was a product of the pandemic, but I do not like to give credit to the pandemic. It was a creative way to stay musically connected. Once the pandemic hit, it was an opportunity to work on something more intimate. We had to rethink how to musically collaborate.” 

Gone is a full backup band. This second album instead is more distilled featuring only piano and voice that bend traditional standards in contemporary jazz. They’ve even put their own spin on Elton John’s Your Song, the rocker’s 1971 hit.  

The Bellamy gig is one of the pair’s limited engagements this year. Jazz Fest runs from Thursday, June 28 to Sunday, July 2. For entertainment schedules and ticketing information visit 

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