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Sex Mob plays Vancouver for the first time since 2002.

It's an award-winning New York jazz band that has turned the cover song into an art form.

Jazz improvisers have long put their unique spins on others' songs, but Sex Mob – a band that came out of the Knitting Factory in the late 1990s – has won fans around the world by venturing into pop and rock realms that few serious jazz musicians dare enter.

Hits by Nirvana, Prince, ABBA, the Rolling Stones and more are all fair game; but at this weekend's Winterruption Festival on Granville Island, they'll also perform Sex Mob Plays Fellini – music by Italian composer Nino Rota, who scored The Godfather, Satyricon, La Strada and many more.

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"All of them are leaders and virtuoso musicians in their own right, and they've been honing their sound for almost 20 years," says John Orysik, Coastal Jazz and Blues co-founder, who adds that the band has not performed here since 2002. "So it's a real coup for Vancouver."

The weekend-long fest also includes pop-up dances in Granville Island windows, art shows and workshops, live music, theatre, kids activities, Vive Vendredi – a day of French cooking demos, wines and Juste Pour Rire comedy – and Street Eats and Beats, which has some of the city's top food carts dishing as local DJs serve up catchy beats.

"It's a festival atmosphere in the middle of winter, so we're interrupting that gloominess that has really set in by the end of February," Mr. Orysik says. "So it's a way to revitalize ourselves through the arts, which help make life worthwhile."

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