As I write this post, the Brian Barlow Big Band is absolutely swinging away on the Lunchtime Series stage. So if I'm a bit distracted, it's because Alex Dean is taking a fiery solo or Jason Logue is pasting yet another high z...
Josh Grossman's blog
I hope Karen Burke, Director of the Toronto Mass Choir, doesn't mind my incorporating her words into the title of this post. The Choir just kicked off their Lunchtime Series concert at Nathan Phillips Square and I gotta tell you - any day that starts with this choir is, indeed, a good day...
Okay now. Yesterday. What happened yesterday? Oh yes!
As far as first days go, yesterday was pretty great.
We kicked things off with the duo of Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran at 12:30, at what is a new venue for us this year - Holt Renfrew. It's always a bit nerve-wracking launching a new series - will anyone show up? - so we were pleasantly surprised when the store had to add more chairs! It ended up being a standing-room-only affair; Jane and Hilario demonstrated why they are each acclaimed as musicians, but also why the music of Spirits of Havana still resonates 25 years later - interesting compositions, performed brilliantly.
And suddenly, it's day 1 of the 2016 TD Toronto Jazz Festival!
It's already been a full week: the preview concert on Tuesday night at North York Central Library; the annual Rex Players Party on Wednesday night; and last night I was on the Roy Thomson Hall patio for a concert by the Lemon Bucket Orkestra (who also happen to be playing the festival). But today the activity really kicks into gear.
HEY DID YOU KNOW THE 30TH TD TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL STARTS TOMORROW?!
I'm yelling because, frankly, I'm excited. But before I launch into my annual "festival survival guide" post (which I will do tomorrow), I wanted to reflect on the unofficial first event of this year's festival. On Tuesday night (June 21), Chase Sanborn led a special preview concert at North York Central Library - and it was brilliant.
We're now only days away from the 30th anniversary edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival and, other than a frustrating sideshow or two, I'm raring to go. I'm not going to lie - these past six months have been challenging. Transition at one job, an incredibly hectic schedule at both jobs, extra-curricular activities - plus a recently-minted two-year-old and an about-to-be-minted five-year-old at home...I'm tired! But the adrenaline is starting to pump now.
Over two nights at The Rex Hotel, creativity will abound as some of the top musicians in the jazz and improvised music communities come together to perform selections from CDs which are already earning critical acclaim: Too Many Continents from the Nick Fraser Trio, and Starer from the Nick Fraser Quartet.
I feel I may have achieved peak stress as we seek to finalize the upcoming festival, so I'm looking forward to a musical oasis of sorts with this Sunday's presentation of David Occhipinti's Art Song Concert, the third in our series of Special Projects presentations.
This Sunday, April 10 at The Rex Hotel, we're proud to be a presenting partner of the third annual Israeli Jazz Showcase. It should be an outstanding night - emerging jazz harmonica player (harmonicist?) Roni Eytan joins us from Boston with his quartet, and one of the most exciting trumpeters in jazz, Avishai Cohen, brings his quartet.