Every year the Festival acknowledges musicians that have made a significant contribution to Saskatchewan's music culture through the Special Recognition Award. This award has been received by many great artists who have and continue to shape the jazz community in Saskatchewan and beyond.


The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is proud to present Skip Kutz with the 2017 Special Recognition Award at 8pm on Tuesday, June 27th at The Bassment Club.

Born in Montreal and raised in Saskatoon, Skip Kutz was destined to be a musician. “I was influenced by my father, who was the principal bassist in the Saskatoon Symphony for three decades, and Gordie Brandt”, said Kutz. As a University of Saskatchewan graduate with a Bachelors and Masters in Education (Music), Kutz’s early activities included studies with Guy Fallot of the Paris Conservatory and Warren Benfield, principal bass of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

A veteran acoustic and electric bassist, Kutz worked as a full time musician in Vancouver during the 1970’s, working for Bruce Allen in a group called Brink featuring Bill Watson and vocalist, Mairi MacLean. Upon returning to Saskatoon, he became the bassist with Doug Boomhower’s Jazz Workshop featuring Bobbi Clackson. Besides numerous club dates, the group appeared on CBC radio and television, the Global TV network, and the CTV regional outlet. He also freelanced with many touring artists during the years including the new Mamas and Papas, Colin James, Tim Tamishiro, and Sierra Noble. He appeared on numerous recordings with artists from all genres of music including Don Freed, Karl Roth, Jay Semko, and the Congress of Strings Orchestra in New York. He is currently a regular with Styles Montreux (Ross Nykiforuk), Hot Club Saskatoon (both with Shelley Ewing and Tim Campbell) and Blackberry Wine and has over 30 recording credits on his vast and impressive resume.

In addition to performing, Kutz has been active in the arts’ political scene. He was the three term president of the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance and still serves on the Executive committee of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Both groups advocate for policy and funding for arts organizations and artists with various levels of government. Skip is currently the president of Local 553 of the Canadian Federation of Musicians, a recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial medal, has served on many juries for the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Juno Awards, and Factor.

Skip Kutz is honoured to be the recipient of the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival 2017 Special Recognition Award.


Named after the festival founder Jim Hill, The Jim Hill Festival Builder Award recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the success of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. This award has been received by many great supporters who have and continue to shape the Jazz Festival throughout the community.


The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is honoured to present Brian Storey with the 2017 Jim Hill Festival Builder Award at 8:30pm on Thursday, June 29th at the TD Mainstage, Bessborough Gardens.

Born in Melfort SK, Brian Storey lived his formative years in Saskatoon. In 1989, Brian and wife Judy made a decision to venture into the Nesbitt Forest (North of Prince Albert) to live closer to the land, and raise their family of five children, in a setting that would prove to be very stimulating and with much comedy. They raised chickens, milked goats, planted gardens, gathered eggs and generally kept our neighbors in a state of wonder with their outlandish methods. As Brian recalled “I once made a fence with the pointy side of the posts facing up (apparently that’s the part that you drive into the ground). I thought they would shed water better. Needless to say, I never heard the end of it.”

It is while living at Wayside (the name of their 80 acre homestead) that Brian developed a love for jazz. “One evening, while driving into P.A. by myself, a program on CBC radio captured my attention. Ross Porter, was talking about the life and music of Chet Baker. This turned out to be a weekly 5 part series that I stayed glued to. I found, in Chet Baker, a hugely talented and handsome individual who lived a tortured life because of his inability to control his desires. I was hooked on the entire genre of jazz. Through Chet I began to appreciate Stan Goetz, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, Miles Davis and then the floodgates opened. All I wanted to listen to was jazz.”

With family in tow, Brian eventually returned to Saskatoon nine years later and in 2002 became involved with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and remained active on the board for the next 10 years. “It was a wonderful opportunity to learn, from so many dedicated jazz lovers and professionals about running a festival. It was also a way to connect with a great bunch of highly talented local musicians that I might never have gotten to know otherwise.”

Over the next decade the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival continue to grow in size and quality and Brian, always with the joke to lighten the mood, continually offered big ideas that continually challenged the organization to think outside the box.

“The festival has provided our family a medium with which to enjoy good times together. It’s hard to express just how much the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival means to me. It has contributed greatly to the quality of my life and I am sure that the same could be said for many others. All in all, I received so much more than I ever could have given.”

The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is proud to present the 2017 Jim Hill Festival Builder Award to Brian Storey for his leadership, dedication and generosity.

Past Award Recipients


1989 - Paul Perry

1990 - Gordie Brandt

1991 - Chris Gage

1992 - Bridge City Dixieland Band

1993 - Herbie Spanier

1994 - Jon Ballantyne

1995 - Bob Moyer

1996 - Solstice

1997 - Jim Moffat

1998 - Barney Kutz

1999 - Bob Klassen

2000 - Don Watson

2001 - Don Keller

2002 - Dr. Ed Lewis

2003 - Ray Dahlen Sound

2004 - Peter Dyksman

2005 - “Broadway” Bill Watson

2006 - Maurice Drouin

2007 - Pat Steel

2008 - Fred Ballantyne

2009 - Ted Warren

2010 - Jack Semple

2011 - Dean McNeill

2012 - Sheldon Corbett

2013 - Don Griffith

2014 - Kelly Jefferson

2015 - Al Muirhead

2016 - Barrie Redford

2017 - Skip Kutz


2006 - Jim Hill

2007 - Ian Wilson

2008 - Mona Chappell

2009 - Les Coleman

2010 - Elwood Flynn

2011 - The Caldwell Family

2012 - Lynne McLellan

2013 - Paulette Traynor

2014 - Spencer Early

2015 - Della Beal

2016 - Kathryn Ellis

2017 - Brian Storey