When a music lover thinks of jazz and current top 40, John Legend’s name isn’t too far away from the conversation these days. The singer, who started off playing piano for Lauryn Hill, and soon after producing his own music, came out with his debut album “Get Lifted” in 2004.
While never truly cracking into the top 40, Legend remained a force in the R&B and urban markets. This year marked a surprising career revival for Legend into the mainstream charts. Legend gave one of the most acclaimed performances at the Grammys, and since then his song, “All of Me” has become somewhat of an anthem for love.
It’s just been announced that Legend, among other musicians will perform at the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival’s 25th anniversary season. The performers are expected to take on a few jazz songs and contemporary songs. In addition to Legend, St. Vincent, Gregory Porter, James Cotton, Shad, and a local singer Curtis Nowosad will be hitting the stage to put on a program that balances jazz with contemporary music.
Of the lineup, which includes John Legend, executive producer Paul Nolin said in a statement:
“I’m especially proud of the lineup this year. I think we’ve got a really good program together that balances traditional jazz with more contemporary and of course some of the cross-over genres.”
The festival will take place in an 11-day celebration. Legend’s inclusion in the festival will be an important one. As it is, Legend’s contemporary style mixes elements of jazz, which makes the form relevant and gives recognition to an “old” format.
Of the importance of the festival, Nolin said:
“I think it’s essential — being able to celebrate the community that we’re a part of. Showing the country and the continent this world class amazing talent that we’ve got here right in our own back yard. It’s great! “Jazz is at the centre of our mandate, and it’s the main thrust of what we do, but in an effort to excite the public and animate the event and fully engage the community as a whole, that’s where the diversity of musical styles comes in.”
Of Legend’s hit song “All of Me” the soulful singer revealed that he wrote it for his wife Chrissy Teigen. When Teigen heard the touching song for the first time she said that it was an emotional moment. Before the couple were married Legend spoke about how special his whole album was because of his relationship with now wife Chrissy Teigen.
“[The album] it’s like the beginning of a relationship and seeing where it’s going to go. Obviously, I’m getting married so it had some autobiographical relevance to me.”
The Winnipeg Jazz Festival will take place June 12 to 22.