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Young conservationists 

The Conservation Act rallies a new generation of jazz players in a monthly series


Although he just graduated from St. FX this spring, Halifax-based saxophonist Andrew MacKelvie is already busy changing the shape of jazz in the city. Which isn't an easy task, considering that the musical genre has been constantly evolving since its inception in the early '20s.

But with a desire to tell the genre's long history and continue its progression through the future, MacKelvie created The Conservation Act, a monthly jazz series started last month that has musicians in their mid-20s from across Canada coming to town to network and show off their chops the first Wednesday of every month at Tribeca and Gus'.

"I thought long and hard about what I wanted to accomplish with the series and was thinking about how jazz music is changing all the time," MacKelvie says. He came up with the idea while mentoring under Lulu Healy and Jerry Granelli at JazzEast. "The Conservation Act came out of people wanting to keep this music alive because they love it and they want to keep it around---they want to conserve it."

Even though Halifax has a flourishing jazz scene, MacKelvie thought there was room for the improvement and started the series to allow the newer generation to step into the limelight.

"It's a smaller city, and while we do have a wonderful community and there are a lot of people who love jazz," he says. "It can be hard for people who aren't from town or just starting out to gain some exposure."

In partnership with the series, MacKelvie has been reaching out to artists across the country and has begun accepting submissions through, in the hopes of promoting young artists new to the scene.

"I really want people to start getting into contact with me," he says, regarding the expansion of the concert series and outreach to audiences that usually wouldn't get the chance to hear a live jazz ensemble. "We're really trying to showcase younger players who are doing different things and trying to keep this music happening and accessible to different audiences."

The Conservation Act presents The Andrew Jackson Group, Will Paynter Trio, Wednesday, October 9, 9pm. Tribeca, 1588 Granville Street, $5

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