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The Vancouver International Jazz Festival gets under way Friday with free weekend concerts in the downtown core of Vancouver, B.C. (as opposed to Gastown, where the opener used to be). Always true to its name, this annual spree is festive and international, featuring, among others, pianists Herbie Hancock (pictured here) and Vijay Iyer; vocalists Patricia Barber, Youn Sun Nah, John Boutté and Lorraine Feather; keyboardist Larry Goldings; guitarists John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkel; trumpeter Ingrid Jensen; New Orleans singer-songwriter Dr. John; and saxophonists David Murray and Courtney Pine and Scott Hamilton. Noon Friday through July 1 in various venues in Vancouver; individual tickets free-$78; packages available for select show, but no all-festival pass (604-872-5200, extension 5 or

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic

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