What do we do?

The Kingston Jazz Society (KJS) is a non-profit charitable association of jazz lovers dedicated to the five Ps of this distinctly North-Americal art form: preservation, production, performance, promotion and perpetuation.

Our mandate is to present live professional jazz performances, with an emphasis on young and emerging Canadian jazz musicians, to the Kingston community at large and to help educate audiences about jazz music.  It is also our goal to help to foster jazz as a key part of the local music scene.

The KJS hosts artists of national and international acclaim, leveraging Kingston’s unique position between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, to bring in top-flight talent on tour in the area. This strategy enables us to consistently deliver to Kingston jazz fans artists of a calibre that would cost far more at a larger venue. Not only does this open the concerts up to a wider audience but our venues also allow for small and intimate settings where audience and artist can actually connect.

Our organization is managed and staffed by volunteers, with a dedicated core group completely focused on the music that we help bring to the city. Our sole purpose is to provide Kingston with access to top jazz talent from the local, national, and international scenes. It is our goal to enhance the visibility and viability of jazz in Kingston, which will in turn help raise the profile of Kingston on both the provincial and national scene, and help to ensure that art and culture are well-rounded in Kingston.

The KJS works as a bridge between the wider Kingston community, local musicians, and the artists we hope to attract and assist. Looking back over its 27 year history, the KJS began with a strong sense of community and as much focus on social aspects as on music.  More recently, the KJS has had a stronger focus on bringing top talent in from out of town, often pairing them with local talent. This has helped to significantly raise the expectations of KJS members and has gone a long way to help to educate and inform Kingstonians of what is happening in the wider jazz scene. Now, the KJS is looking to merge these two goals: to rekindle a sense of community and the social side of music and to continue to bring in the best and brightest of the Canadian jazz scene.

Jazz encompasses a large, innovative umbrella of artists and styles. The KJS helps bring jazz to Kingston, and Kingston to jazz.

The jazz community has deep roots in Kingston – dating back to the end of the second World War, the big-band era, when Kingston hosted the Canadian Forces Vimy Band – a world class military orchestra that toured the world, many of whose members also played jazz locally in Kingston bars and restaurants.

Those players blended easily with local players, creating many memorable evenings of spontaneous, improvised jazz of an unusually high quality. The collaborations that this fusion spawned became the Kingston Jazz Society. Though the Vimy band has relocated, the spirit of jazz – and the local scene – percolates as vigorously as ever.

Kingston still hosts large dance bands and numerous trios and quartets.

If your project wants to be considered for a KJS gig, forward a promo package to the Board of Directors at the address below. We’ll do our best to find a place for you. We’re the Kingston Jazz Society and for us it’s all about the music.

Email us at info@kingstonjazz.ca.   Our mailing address is:

Kingston Jazz Society, care of: Jim Thornburrow
30 Edgehill St.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
K7L 2T5