Believe it or not, opening night of the 2015 TD Toronto Jazz Festival is only a week away! The artists are all booked, the shows all announced, and we're picking up steam. I'm looking forward to twelve or so great days of concerts, socializing and seeing how my body reacts to several nights in a row without much sleep. I believe coffee and I are going to become even better friends. (Which reminds me - best espresso near Nathan Phillips Square?)
Josh Grossman's blog
The 2015 TD Toronto Jazz Festival is only two weeks away. That's a bit ridiculous. To suggest that things have been a little hectic around here would be an understatement and now, suddenly, it's almost go time.
Before launching into festival pre-amble mode, though, I wanted to pause and reflect on two celebrations which took place last week. As this post's title suggests, the first was euphoric; the second, bittersweet.
This week we wrap up a process which started eight months ago - the final TD Discovery Series Special Projects presentation of 2015 is Thursday, April 30 at Jazz Bistro.
We have experienced three different projects so far: a showcase of Alex Brown's Afro-Cuban/jazz fusion; the celebration of Robi Botos' album Movin' Forward and, this past weekend, Riverrun's 12-hour music marathon. To wrap up the series, Alex Goodman brings his Chamber Quintet to the Jazz Bistro stage.
Our TD Discovery Series Special Projects presentations wrap up at the end of this month (that's next week…already…) with two shows which are bound to make a unique mark on the local scene: next Thursday, April 30, Alex Goodman kicks off a three-night stint at Jazz Bistro premiering his Chamber Quintet; today I'm pleased to write about Tom Richards' Riverrun Marathon 2.0, happening tomorrow - Saturday, April 25 at Beit Zatoun.
A few years ago, on a visit to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music (my alma mater), I swung by the jazz bulletin board on the main floor to see what was happening jazz-wise at the faculty. On the board was an open letter of sorts, written by one of the faculty members, and addressed to students of the jazz program. The letter was posted shortly after the death of a major jazz icon (I forget which) and was encouraging (imploring?) the students to be sure to see living legends in action before it was too late.
Seven months, many meetings, so many emails, much brainstorming, much coffee (duh), phone calls, faxes, scotch (not gonna lie…), hundreds of submissions, agreeing to agree, agreeing to disagree, good news, bad news, great news…and then, finally, we reveal the lineup to the 2015 TD Toronto Jazz Festival.
In last week's blog post, I had the pleasure of talking a bit about Alexander Brown - trumpeter extraordinaire - and his Special Project presentation this Wednesday at Lula Lounge. Today, Robi Botos gets the spotlight - his Special Projects presentation is this Thursday at Jazz Bistro.
I'm fairly tired today, but I'm coming off a bit of a high - last night's Israeli Jazz Showcase at The Rex was pretty fantastic. Toronto was represented by Kobi Hass and his crew; Guy Mintus and his trio impressed; Anat Cohen blew us away with a great mix of repertoire, showing off her abilities as composer and performer on clarinet and tenor saxophone. It was a packed house, an appreciative audience, and well worth the effort required to mount such an event.
While jazz is almost certainly not the first thing to come to mind when one thinks about Israel, the country has produced some of the most exciting emerging and established artists on the international jazz scene: bassists Avishai Cohen and Omer Avital; Cohen siblings Anat (clarinet and sax), Avishai (trumpet) and Yuval (sax); flautist Hadar Noiberg; pianists Shai Maestro and Omer Klein; guitarist Gilad Hekselman; and many more.
We're about to enter an exciting flurry of activity, with four Special Projects presentations and the Israeli Jazz Showcase all coming up before the end of April. I look forward to the Special Projects each year; since creating the initiative in 2010 we've supported 13 fantastic performances by local artists.