Starting in 1976 Hugh Leal took the risk to hire "name" jazz musicians from New York, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto. He brought these artists, many for the first time to this city, for Windsor music lovers. Initial concerts were in various nightclubs, then moved to the City's concert stages. The various series have been staged at The Art Gallery of Windsor (former and current) The University of Windsor, The Capitol Theatre, Cleary Auditorium and currently at Mackenzie Hall. A solid base of ticket-buying fans has consistently supported the concerts held six times a year.
In the initial years Leal brought to Windsor some of the last surviving musicians of
the 1920’s “Jazz Age” and the 1930’s “Swing Era”: Doc Cheatham, Art Hodes,
Sammy Price, Bud Freeman, Vic Dickenson, Buddy Tate, Wild Bill Davison,
Cozy Cole, Pee Wee Erwin, Barrett Deems, Dave Wilborn, Franz Jackson, J.C. Heard
and others. In subsequent years Leal’s concerts have continued to offer a wide variety
of jazz styles, traditional to modern.
How it all began
Leal has presented 18 Juno Award winners and 11 Order of Canada recipients including such national jazz icons as Peter Appleyard, Ed Bickert, Guido Basso, Dave Young, Oliver Jones,
Terry Clarke and Renee Lee. 3 Grammy Award winners,
Rob McConnell, Bob Wilber and Doc Cheatham have been featured, as well as many American jazz greats including Tommy Flanagan, Zoot Sims, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ray Bryant, Mundell Lowe, Dick Wellstood,
Sir Roland Hanna, Marcus Belgrave and others.
Juno and Grammy Award Winners
Windsor Jazz Concert Series is continuing the tradition of artistic excellence established by Hugh Leal in 1976.
Photo by Grant Black
Photo by Ken Everts