On The Bell Stage for our 10th Festival


Friday Sept 15

7:00 PM

Michael Massaro is a Toronto based saxophonist, composer and producer. His proficiency as a live performer has made him one of Canada’s most in demand musicians, having appeared with Percy Sledge, Little Anthony, The Crystals, The Five Kingsmen, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Brandford Marsalis.

Michael plays Tenor , Alto, Soprano Saxophones, Flute and has had several Singles “Flying Easy”, “Smooth Sailing” and Wings of Glory” that reached top ten in Canada and 4 Albums to date: “Awakening”, “It Takes Two”, “Waves Of Change” and “L.A. Days, New York Nights” a compilation of his best works.

Michael is currently promoting his 5th Album Cd “Love In Motion” which features him on 8 Original tracks and 2 covers “My One And Only Love” and “Stella By Starlight”.

The title and concept is clear “Love” is ultimately the driving force in all that is good. Michael’s music will touch and inspire the soul of the listener regardless of their age or background.

Photograph of Michael Massaro with saxaphone
Photograph of LMT Connection


Friday Sept. 15

8:30 PM

Veteran soul group LMT Connection has been turning music fans into full-blown funkateers for more than a quarter century, playing over 5500 shows, helmed by a front man on the cusp of his 70th birthday. True masters of their craft, they’ve toured internationally and released five self-produced albums independently, without the support of a record company.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Detroit, singer/guitarist Leroy Emmanuel was not only an active member of Motown’s thriving music community at its height, supporting the likes of Marvin Gaye, Bohannon, and Bettye Lavette, but an influential artist in his own right, earning a significant cult following with his group The Fabulous Counts (Westbound Records). Not long after a serendipitous relocation to Niagara Falls, Canada, Emmanuel founded LMT Connection with drummer Mark Rogers and bassist John Irvine. The year was 1989 and the newly formed trio hit the ground running. In time, their original music found its way into the hands of producers, promoters and distributors in Europe, which opened new doors overseas, and connected LMT with the world-renowned Chops Horns.


Saturday Sept. 16

12:45 PM

Founded in 1977, The Jimmy Stahl Big Band has headlined tours while performing extensively throughout Ontario, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The JSB have had the honour of collaborating with a variety of Grammy Award and Dove Award-winning artists such as Ralph Carmichael, Dave Boyer, Phil Driscoll, Ron Kenoly, and Kathy Troccoli. Some of these collaborations were in-studio recordings, while others were live tapings of television specials that aired on NBC, TNN, Global and CTS television networks. The Jimmy Stahl Big Band will be performing selections from their “Sounds of Sinatra” show featuring the very gifted Michael Vanhevel, one of Canada’s finest young crooners. Of course, the night would not be complete without a number of strait up swingin’ big band instrumental standards. We have the added pleasure of also featuring John Sherwood one of Canada’s most sought after jazz pianists.

Featured vocalist is Michael Vanhevel an up and coming Canadian singer specializing in the music of the 40’s and 50’s, lending his unique voice to a catalogue of music made famous by artists like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble. He has performed in various musicals across Canada, and his one man show “Best of the Crooners” written by the late, great Howard Cable has been a featured concert with symphonies in Halifax, London, Chatham, Thunder Bay and Sudbury, and will be in Kingston this November.

Audiences everywhere have fallen in love with the Jimmy Stahl Big Band, and we trust you will as well. Enjoy the show!

Photograph of The Jimmy Stahl Big Band playing on stage
Painting of singer Tommy Ambrose


Saturday Sept 16

3:30 PM

Tommy Ambrose is a singer and composer The creator of many of Canada’s most successful advertising jingles – including those for Labatt’s Blue, Smarties, Eggs get crackin’, and Milk – Ambrose is also well known as a club performer and broadcaster. He began his career at age 6 with gospel-singing appearances at Toronto Youth for Christ rallies and on local radio. Primarily a singer of popular music since 1957, he has been host of several CBC TV series: While We’re Young (1960-61), The Tommy Ambrose Show (1961-63) and the gospel music show Celebration (1975-76), which first appeared on CBC Radio (1971-74). He created the theme songs for Global TV, City TV and for the opening of the SkyDome. He established the downtown Toronto bar, Jingles, which from 1977 until 1989 occasionally presented jazz groups. Ambrose has made several records and had his first hit in 1959, “The Magic of You.” His next hit was “One Summer Song” in 1974. He had begun working with jazz musicians and recorded two albums with Doug Riley (Dr. Music). Their recording, the album Tommy Ambrose at Last, received a Juno nomination in 1981 in the Best Jazz Album category.

Now at last Tommy comes back to where he started… and just sings for you. Three CDs – the first being Songs Sinatra Taught Me with excerpts from the show. Then came The Jazz Side Of Tommy Ambrose The third CD I’m Only Human is completed and will be released soon.


Saturday Sept. 16

5:30 PM

Afro-Cuban group Will Jarvis y Amigos is led by Canadian bassist/composer Will Jarvis and features world-renowned Cuban pianist Hilario Duran, internationally acclaimed flautist Bill McBirnie, Canadian trumpet sensation Brian O’Kane, Cuban percussion masters Jorge Torres ‘Papiosco’ and Chendy León and Colombian percussionist Juan Carlos Medrano.

Will’s affection for Afro-Cuban music began in the 1990s when he first played with some of Toronto’s salsa and Latin-jazz groups. Will has had the great pleasure of performing live with Latin-Jazz giants Tito Puente, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dave Valentine, Hilton Ruiz Paquito D’Rivera and Luis Conte. Will has also worked with many outstanding Canadian artists including David Clayton-Thomas, Bruce Cassidy’s Hotfoot Orchestra, Bobby Rice Latin-jazz Big Band, Jackie Richardson and Sinal Aberto to name a few. Along with his own group, Will also performs/records with multi-award winning group Manteca.

Will Jarvis y Amigos plays music from Will’s award-winning recording Con Gracias. The recording features a collection of all original Latin-Jazz compositions based on an array of contemporary and traditional Afro-Cuban styles. Con Gracias has garnered rave reviews and won a Global Music Award for Composer/Composition (2016) and an Independent Music Award nomination for Best Latin Album (2016)

Photograph of Will Jarvis y Amigos
Photograph Brantford International Jazz Festival co-founders Frank and Nancy DiFelice


Sunday Sept. 17

1:00 PM

Frank and Nancy DiFelice bring their “little” Big Band to the Bell stage at the Brantford International Jazz Festival. The group packs a punch and has the big band sound without all the additional horns. So come and Join Frank and Nancy DiFelice for a performance of unforgettable jazz music and American Songbook favourites! Superb vocals that will enchant you, backed by one of the finest drummers and his band. Their careers have included TV appearances, radio commercials and much more. They are the co-founders of the Brantford International Jazz Festival and both were honoured to each receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Joining Frank and Nancy are:

John Sherwood — Piano

Dave Field — Bass

Bruce Cassidy — Trumpet

Michael Massaro — Tenor Saxophone

Michael Stuart — Alto Saxophone

Rob Somerville — Trombone

Ed Patterson – Guitar


Sunday Sept. 17

3:00 PM

Carol Welsman is an internationally acclaimed singer and pianist whose expressive vocal styling and dynamic stage presence have captivated audiences around the world. She has sold over 60,000 CDs in Canada alone, something few jazz artists in Canada have experienced.

See Carol in action once and you’ll never forget her. Tall and blonde, she sits poised at the piano, head back, fingers stretched over the keys, her slender body arched in a seductive curve. Then the music flows, a combination of voice and piano that seems symbiotically linked. Like bossa nova icon Joao Gilberto and his guitar, Carol’s honey and whiskey sound and her crisp, rhythmically articulate piano lines seem an integral part of each other. At a time when female jazz singers have been arriving in waves, she is that rarity — an authentic vocal/instrumental artist who brings an irresistible blend of musicality and lyrical insight to everything she touches.

Carol is an extraordinarily talented musician and one of Canada’s finest vocalists and pianists.

Photograph of Carol Welsman
Photograph of Soul Stew


Sunday Sept. 17

5:00 PM

Soul Stew, Toronto’s legendary Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Jazz Funk ensemble. A fixture of the Toronto music scene, Soul Stew is made up of some of the finest musicians in Canada.
Formed in 1990 by Toronto first call studio musicians as a house band at the Bamboo, Soul Stew became the band synonymous with the College Street music scene with their 10 year long residency at the College Street Bar.

The musicians in Soul Stew have collectively and individually performed and recorded with The Boss Brass, Gorillaz, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Butterfield, The Parachute Club, Jane Bunnett, Holly Cole, Marc Jordan, Gino Vanelli, Tito Puente, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Aretha Franklin and Nelly Furtado, to name just a few. Soul Stew plays a mixture of Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, a bit of reggae and a lot of Soul, recalling the classic sounds of the legendary recording bands (a la the Funk Brothers from the movie Standing in the Shadows of Motown) of Stax, Motown, The Philly Sound, The Meters, Muscle Shoals, and the Hi Rhythm section of Memphis.

Michael Dunston ‐ Lead Vocals, Percussion

David Gray ‐ Guitar, Background Vocals

Matt Horner ‐ Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Background Vocals

John Johnson ‐ Tenor, Alto & Baritone Sax

Mark Kelso ‐ Drums, Background Vocals

Roberto Occhipinti ‐ Bass, Background Vocals