Izzy Asper Jazz Performances


When jazz aficionado Israel Asper dreamed up the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances 25 years ago, he wanted Winnipeggers to experience the best and brightest jazz artists right here in Winnipeg.  And that’s who we personally choose for you.  We're celebrating our twenty-fifth season with three brilliant weekends at the Berney Theatre at the Rady Jewish Community Centre, and in honour of Izzy's fondness for the New York jazz scene, one special "club date" at the Fort Garry Hotel.

Our season opens December 2 and 3 with the DJANGO FESTIVAL ALLSTARS, a dynamite band from France who are wrapping their North American tour at the Berney Theatre. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “Imagine a stage filled with five contemporary Reinhardt descendants, and you’ll get a sense that the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe!”

On March 16 and 17, we welcome the CANADIAN JAZZ COLLECTIVE, one of the hottest new bands on the circuit. Co-led by saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, guitarist Lorne Lofsky, and the Izzy Asper Jazz Performance’s Artistic Advisor Derrick Gardner, this septet packed European clubs, including London’s famed Ronnie Scott’s, in spring of 2022, culminating in their first studio recording, Septology.

For all of you who love a great jazz singer, our season closes May 4 and 5 with the powerhouse TAMMY McCANN QUARTET. Based in Chicago, McCann melds classical technique, a gospel aesthetic, and a knack for making her lyrics come to life. This is your chance to hear “a voice that soars in all registers, at all tempos, on all occasions...a voice that inspires wonder!” (Chicago Tribune)

You may purchase single tickets to any of these concerts, but we hope you’ll consider a subscription to all three concerts at the Berney Theatre. A subscription offers you the best value, and your seats are reserved. Scroll down for ticket pricing and a purchase link.

Our special club date is Sunday, April 14 when we present “A Little Sondheim” featuring Winnipeg singer Zachary Rushing. Sondheim is widely acknowledged as the most innovative, most influential and most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. He has been a powerful creative force for Zachary Rushing, who will pay homage in the new jazz club on the lower level of the Fort Garry Hotel. It feels a lot like an upscale New York club, one of Izzy Asper’s favourite places to be. We’ll release tickets for “A Little Sondheim” early in 2024.

Thanks for helping us keep the spirit of jazz alive!

Charlene Diehl, Producer
Derrick Gardner, Artistic Advisor
Izzy Asper Jazz Performances

CHARLENE DIEHL started playing the piano before she learned to read, and music and books have been twin passions throughout her life. She was associated editor of dig! magazine through its 13-year run, and has been the Producer of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances since 2019, when she took over the reins from Bev Aronovitch. She is also a writer, editor, former English professor, and the long-time Director of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

DERRICK GARDNER is an internationally-acclaimed trumpeter and composer whose performing credits include stints with the Count Basie Band and Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band. He has performed and toured with a who’s-who of jazz, and appears on over 40 recordings, including several featuring his own bands. Recent recordings include Still I Rise! with the Big dig! Band, Pan Africa with the Jazz Prophets, and Septology with the Canadian Jazz Collective. He was hired in 2011 as the Babs Asper Chair in Jazz Trumpet at the University of Manitoba, and in 2021 returned to his hometown of Chicago where he is the Interim Director of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University.


A LITTLE SONDHEIM, with Zachary Rushing

Sunday, April 14, 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm
The Club, Fort Garry Hotel
Tickets: $25 | BUY NOW

When Stephen Sondheim died at 91 in 2021, he was one of the 20th-century’s most celebrated and influential lyricist-composers. His work included beloved Broadway shows like West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods.

A consummate storyteller, Sondheim’s lyrics are “scrupulously literate and resonant with complex ideas or emotional ambivalence” (New York Times), providing a window into the psyche of both character and lyricist.

Zachary Rushing, a Seattle-born jazz singer and songwriter who is now Programs Manager at Jazz Winnipeg, names Sondheim as one of his most important musical influences. Blessed with an ethereal voice and a natural warmth and expressiveness on stage, he is the perfect person to bring these songs to life for a Winnipeg audience.

Izzy Asper Jazz Performances is pleased to partner with Jazz Winnipeg for this fabulous evening of song. The Club on the lower level of the Fort Garry Hotel feels a lot like a New York jazz club, one of Izzy Asper’s favourite places to be.


Check back soon for a sampling of music from the current season of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances.

Django Festival Allstars, “How High the Moon”

Django Festival Allstars, “Tchavolo Swing”

Canadian Jazz Collective, “Dig That”

Canadian Jazz Collective, “Shadows”

Tammy McCann Quartet, “Save Your Love for Me”

Tammy McCann Quartet, “Candy”


There are three ways to purchase single tickets or subscriptions:


Purchase tickets online at Rady JCC


Call Shira Newman at the Rady JCC: 204-477-7534


E-mail Shira Newman at: [email protected]




Purchase subscriptions online at Rady JCC

Subscriber: $130

Supporter: $260
(One subscription + $130 tax receipt)

Patron: $520
(One subscription + $390 tax receipt)

Benefactor: $1,300
(Two subscriptions + $1,040 tax receipt)

Student (with ID): $60

Single Tickets

Adult – $45
Student (with ID) – $20



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).


2022 / 2023

Oran Etkin Trio, Marry Stallings Quartet, Joe Locke Quarter with Kenny Washington, Brandon Goldberg Trio

2021 (virtual)

Trio Bembe / Karly Epp & Karl Kohut / Laila Biali / Bruce Barth

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
[email protected]

Artist Enquiries

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

Charlene Diehl
[email protected]

Mailing Address

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