The Georgia Straight proudly sponsors the Imperial Series at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

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      With the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s announcement of its Imperial Series, scheduled to run at the Downtown Eastside concert venue from June 24 to 29, it’s clear that local audiences are going to get more rock with their jazz this year—without sacrificing the sonic innovation that the festival has pursued over the course of its 32 years.

      Two of the series’ headliners—Cherry Glazer and Deerhoof, on June 24 and 25, respectively—can roughly be described as post-punk, with the former leaning more toward the power-pop side of that expansive category and the other focusing more on surreal soundscapes.

      Knower (June 27) has been described as combining the propulsive power of electronic dance music with the otherworldly textures of jazz fusion.

      Jazz fusion meets electronic dance with Knower.

      Also part of the Imperial series are Sons of Kemet (June 26), a hard-hitting double-drummer quartet fronted by the young, black, British saxophone visionary Shabaka Hutchings.

      There's also a Drip Audio showcase (June 29) featuring local performers SICK BOSS, Peregrine Falls, Fond of Tigers and label founder Jesse Zubot, who’ll perform with American sax radical Ken Vandermark.

      The Sons of Kemet are fronted by saxophone sensation Shabaka Hutchings.

      According to incoming artistic director Rainbow Robert, who’s taking over from jazz fest cofounder Ken Pickering this year, the Imperial programming reflects both the festival’s history and the start of a generational shift.

      “I think that there’s some different new areas of focus, for sure, based on the fact that the programming team has shifted,” she explains, reached at her East Vancouver home just hours after she’d put the last touches on the jazz festival’s 2018 schedule. “Certainly there’s some new areas of emphasis that are popping up. I would say that there’s definitely a punkish, raucous edge to the Imperial series that’s indicative of the tastes of both myself and Cole Schmidt, who have programmed that series together. There’s a certain viewpoint where there’s no difference between free jazz and Afro-futurism and punk rock, in that spirit of irreverence and freedom and smashy-smashy joy. That’s kind of the place where the current programming team draws a lot of inspiration from.”

      Tickets for the Imperial series go on sale Wednesday (March 28), but Straight readers can buy in advance here.

      Use the promo code: 18IMPERIALFAN