We're already eight days in, but I think I can still safely say - happy new year! I hope you all had a chance to relax and unwind.
Josh Grossman's blog
As you may have already read elsewhere, I had the honour of sitting on the jury which decided who would receive the inaugural Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award. (TAFEJAA for short. Hmm. Needs work.) This past Tuesday evening, I also had the honour of announcing the winner at the awards prevention reception - congratulations once again go to Chelsea McBride for taking the prize, and to the two other deserving nominees, Ernesto Cervini and Alexis Baro.
I've had the honour over the past few weeks - through my work here at TDJ and through my work with the Toronto Arts Council - to sit on various panels making decisions about grants and awards. I say honour because the decisions made by the various panels had a direct impact on the pocket books of the applicants - a task not to be taken lightly.
I've been enjoying, these past few weeks, being out and about more frequently to hear live music. I've been able to hear lots of good stuff - Avi Granite at The Rex, Tara Davidson's CD release at the Jazz Bistro, Boom Crane at The Rex, and even Opera Atelier's Alcina at the Elgin Theatre. This past Monday night, I was one of many musicians (as it turns out) in the audience for the Dirty Loops show at the Opera House.
I need to process this show with you.
Alright, let's get into something here. Some salty language coming, so watch out.
This summer, I decided to watch the video to the Nicki Minaj song "Anaconda." I came away from the experience amazed - amazed that this is what passes for "good" in mainstream pop; amazed that an "artist" decided this was the best use of her talents; amazed that the lyrics and accompanying video were even deemed fit for public display.
There is a small rotation of books I turn to when practicing trumpet or composing - books which remind me of fundamentals, steer me in new directions, or reconnect me with the basic enjoyment I derive from making music. When I need input on a particular topic like voicings or orchestration, or am looking for a new study to play through, I'm always grateful for the well-leafed tomes on my bookshelf. Of course, technology has opened up a whole new wealth of resources. If I'm ever really stumped, or if I'm looking for a particular recording, I can quickly look things up online.
This is why I don't make New Year's resolutions. It's been, um, a little longer than I had hoped since my last blog post. So - rather than launch into some long diatribe on some contentious issue, I figured I'd give a quick recap of what's been going on in the world of Josh over these past few months.
Ah the lazy, hazy days of summer. With festival post-mortems completed, final reports underway, and reconciliations in progress, these few quiet weeks provide a welcome opportunity to catch up on reading, listening, watching and percolating which the busy planning months don't always allow.
It's always a bit strange to wake up the day after the festival ends and return to normal life. Nowhere in particular to go, no shows in particular to see, no media interviews to be done. I do find the end of the festival bittersweet: I can now return to a regular sleep schedule and hang out with my family; but I miss the musical wonderland that is the jazz festival and the great people - my fellow TDJ staff, musicians, jazz fans - that go with it. Here's my recap of the final day of the 2014 TD Toronto Jazz Festival.
A logistical complication (i.e. my computer was locked in the media trailer overnight) means that this is an afternoon post rather than my usual morning post - so it will cover the past 36 or so hours at the festival.
As I wrote in yesterday's post, day 9 started bright and early - I had to be on the square at 7:30 am for a Weather Network segment. Despite the early wakeup, the spots were fun, and local musician Brownman played along nicely. Around 9 am I retreated to a local coffee shop for breakfast and wrote the post you have all, of course, already read intently.