Izzy Asper Jazz Performances


The Izzy Asper Jazz Performances, Winnipeg’s premier jazz series, is thrilled to announce a free, four-concert jazz series to be delivered virtually between February and May 2021. With the forced suspension of the regular 2020-21 season, we are proud now to bring a line-up of local, Canadian, and international artists into the homes of our loyal subscribers and other jazz-loving members of our community, and bringing the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances magic into the homes of jazz lovers everywhere.

Our season opens February 20 with Trio Bembe, an award-winning Winnipeg trio specializing in the Latin jazz. With Amber Epp on piano and lead vocals, Victor Hugo Lopez Bustamante on guitar and Cuban tres, and percussionist Rodrigo Muñoz grounding the group with infectious rhythms, the group brings to the stage a deep commitment to traditional melodies and instrumentation balanced by witty and sensitive Latin settings of more mainstream tunes. Trio Bembe is the perfect way to warm up the chilly month of February.

On March 20, we are thrilled to showcase Laila Biali, one of Canada’s pre-eminent singer-pianists. With an international touring career, one Juno award and one nomination, and a handful of songwriting awards, Biali is a performer whose extraordinary facility on both piano and vocals is perfectly matched by her warm and charismatic presence. About her 2020 recording Out of Dust, All About Jazz says “There’s no boxing Laila Biali in… Capable of making you laugh and cry all at once, her delivery on Out of Dust is divine. 4.5 stars.” We’ll be treated to an unusually intimate concert from her own home in Toronto.

Our third concert, airing April 17, features Winnipeg voice-bass duo Karly Epp and Karl Kohut sharing a program of love songs. The transparency and elegance of a single voice and an accompanying bassline brings particular focus to the lyrics of songs which explore the many faces and facets of love. The fact that the duo is also married only deepens that expressiveness.

The season closes May 15 with a concert by the Los Angeles-based Angie Wells Quartet. Philadelphia-born Angie Wells is a rising star on the international jazz circuit, with a beautiful voice, exceptional musicality, and a commanding stage presence. According to AllAboutJazz.com, the songs on her debut album Love and Mischief are “burn-the-barn smoldering with a centripetal swing.” There’s no better way to swing into spring!

The generosity of The Asper Foundation, the series’ major sponsor, is allowing us to offer all concerts without charge. Concerts start at 8:00pm, and are available to registrants only; the link is here. If you can't make it to the virtual concert, you can still view it--or share it with others--for the next following weeks.

For more information, visit the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances page on the RJCC website.

Thank you for your continued support and for keeping the jazz flame alive as we muscle through the pandemic. We look forward to connecting in virtual ways!

Charlene Diehl, Izzy Asper Jazz Performances Producer


Check out the audio clips below for a sampling of music from the current season of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances.


There are three ways to purchase single tickets or subscription packages:


Purchase tickets online at Rady JCC


Call Debby Figowy at the Rady JCC: 204-477-7534


E-mail Debby Figowy at: dfigowy@radyjcc.com




Purchase subscriptions online at Rady JCC


Quintet (5 concerts)

Subscriber: $183
(One Subscription)

Supporter: $370
(One Subscription + $187 tax receipt)

Patron: $737
(One Subscription + $554 tax receipt)

Benefactor: $1,832
(Two Subscriptions + $1,466 tax receipt)

Quartet (4 concerts)

Subscriber: $165
(One subscription)

Supporter: $328
(One subscription + $163 tax receipt)

Patron: $660
(One subscription + $495 tax receipt)

Benefactor: $1,586
(Two subscriptions + $1,256 tax receipt)

Student Subscriptions

Quintet: $90
Quartet: $83



Israel Asper was a passionate jazz afficionado. He had a vision of creating a jazz series in Winnipeg modeled after the one at the New York’s famous 92nd Street Y. In 1999 he approached the Rose and Max Rady Jewish Community Centre, one of the many organizations housed in the Asper Jewish Community Campus, with the idea of partnering to bring jazz greats to Winnipeg to perform.

The idea was an immediate hit with jazz fans and The Asper Foundation Performances Jazz Series was born. The Berney Theatre at the Campus was swinging from fall to spring with top notch musicians from Winnipeg and around the world. For the 2000-2001 season, The Asper Foundation updated the Berney Theatre with a state-of-the-art sound system and a Steinway concert piano, donated by Mark and Zita Bernstein and family, and launched a subscription campaign for the series.

In 2003, the series was named the Cool Concerts in celebration of Winnipeg’s first jazz radio station, 99.1 Cool FM and COOL TV, Canada’s first television channel devoted exclusively to exploring, reflecting and presenting the world of jazz in all its diversity. In 2005, the series was renamed the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances.
Today, the series continues to be one of Winnipeg’s premier year-round jazz events, featuring international jazz greats like Oliver Jones, Joe Lovano, Kurt Elling, Christian McBride, Houston Person, Stefon Harris, Kenny Barron, Wycliffe Gordon, Cyrus Chestnut, Marcus Printup, Anat Cohen and many more. Since the series’ inception, sold out concerts of almost 70,000 people have attended 348 performances of 118 acts with over 400 international jazz artists earning consistently excellent reviews from audiences and critics.
Speaking on the success of the series, Israel Asper said “We promised our subscribers that we would bring only the world’s finest jazz performers – and we did.” In 2008, jazz critic Michael Wolch said, “The Asper jazz series has been one of the success stories of the city’s arts community over the past several years.”
Click here to view an April 2018 interview with series Producer Bev Aronovitch by Michael Wolch on the announcement of the 2018-2019 season. For a listing of Winnipeg Free Press articles and reviews related to the jazz series since its inception, please see here.
On November 26, 2018, The Asper Foundation and the Rady Jewish Community Centre announced that Charlene Diehl will become Producer of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances on January 1, 2019. For more information, see here.


Here is a complete listing of artists who have performed at the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances since the series' inception.

Click the headings below to view the brochure for each season (if available).

2019 / 2020

Steve Wilson Quartet / Ignacio Berroa Trio / Duchess / Emmet Cohen Trio / Joe Locke Quartet

2018 / 2019

The Marcus Roberts Trio / Jazzmeia Horn Quintet / Raoul Midòn Trio / Vanguard Jazz Orchestra / Cannonball Adderley’s Fiddler on the Roof

2017 / 2018

The Christian Sands Quartet / The Pedrito Martinez Group / René Marie / The Clayton Brothers Quintet / The Hot Sardines

2016 / 2017

The Robi Botos Quartet / The Cyrille Aimée Quartet / Alicia Olatuja Quintet / The Spike Wilner Quintet / A Tribute to Ray Charles

2015 / 2016

The Mike LeDonne Quintet / The Omer Avital Quintet / Celebrating the Music of Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln & Joni Mitchell / The Aaron Diehl Quartet / A Tribute to Stevie Wonder

2014 / 2015

The Etienne Charles Sextet / The Warren Wolf Quartet / Featuring Russell Malone / Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort Quintet / Carmen Lundy

2013 / 2014

Brian Lynch & Eric Alexander w/Xavier Davis, Steve Kirby & Quincy Davis
Vanessa Rubin / The Brubeck Brothers Quartet / Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band / Catherine Russell and Allan Harris

2012 / 2013

Marcus Printup, Gary Symulian, Edward Simon / Christian McBride & Inside Straight / The Hot Club of Detroit w/Cyrille Aimee / Anat Cohen Quartet / Bill Charlap Trio w/Freddy Cole

2011 / 2012

Brian Lynch and Don Braden / Clayton Brothers Quintet / Randy Brecker / Aaron Goldberg Trio / Dee Daniels

2010 / 2011

Allan Harris / Wycliffe Gordon, Jumaane Smith / Joe Locke Quartet w/Kenny Washington / Cyrus Chestnut & Jackie Ryan / Oliver Jones

2009 / 2010

Houston Person Quartet / Karrin Allyson Quartet / John Pizzarelli Quartet
Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller Duo / Stefon Harris and the Oceanic Jazz Orchestra

2008 / 2009

Bobby Watson & Horizon Band / Lionel Loueke Quartet w/Gretchen Parlato / Steve Turre Quintet / Monty Alexander Trio / Kurt Elling Quartet

2007 / 2008

James Carter Quartet w/Cyrus Chestnut / Taylor Eigsti Quartet / Clayton / Brothers Quintet / Jon Faddis Quartet / Christian McBride Quartet

2006 / 2007

Cedar Walton Quartet / Jeremy Pelt Quartet / Houston Person Quartet / Lincoln Center All Stars / Nnenna Freelon

2005 / 2006

Kenny Barron Quartet / Hilario Duran & Papa Mambo / Stefon Harris Quartet w/Mulgrew Miller & Terreon Gully / Joe Lovano Quartet / Oliver Jones / Dave Young

2003 / 2004

Dave Frishberg / Gene Bertoncini Duo / Steve March Torme / Bob Dorough / Carol Welsman / Peter Leitch / Tierney Sutton / Cyrus Chestnut / Phil Nimmons

2002 / 2003

Junior Mance / Buddy Greco / Bill Mays / P.J. Terry / Adam Makowicz / Scott Hamilton / T.S. Monk / Barbara Carrol /Jay Leonhart / Bill Charlap / Daryl Sherman / Dick Hyman & Derek Smith

2001 / 2002

Ray Bryant / Vanessa Rubin / Monty Alexander / Warren Vache & Eddie Higgins / Gene DiNovi Trio / Louis Bellson / Carol Welsman / Bud Shank & Conte Candoli / Russel Malone & Benny Green / Clark Terry

1999 / 2000

Oliver Jones Trio / Karrin Allyson / Dave Young & Ron Paley / Clark Terry & Ron Paley Big Band / Ray Bryant Trio / Jay Leonhart / Peter Appleyard w/the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra / Dave Frishberg / Jackie & Roy


The Izzy Asper Jazz Performances recognizes and appreciates the support of the following organizations:

The Asper Foundation

Rady JCC

Lakeview Hotels & Resorts

Winnipeg Free Press

Vickar Community Chevrolet



Artistic Advisor
Derrick Gardner

Artist Enquiries

For further information or to contact us about performing in the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances, please contact:

Charlene Diehl

Mailing Address

Izzy Asper Jazz Performances
Rady Jewish Community Centre
B100-123 Doncaster Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3N 2B3