Alex Pangman, otherwise known as "Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing", performed last Tuesday, June 26, at Heliconian Hall for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. She sang from her new record, Alex Pangman’s Hot Three, as well as other classics. Her live performance was filled with sass, humour, and cheek, which perfectly fit the themes of the new record. It was a joy to see her perform live, and watching her make musical decisions onstage before each song was an interesting snapshot of how she makes her creative choices.
Jaimie Nackan's blog
There was friendly chatter floating through the air at the Rex Jazz and Blues Bar as the soundcheck began for singer/songwriter Becca Stevens. The room was packed, and with everyone in their seats, Stevens and her fellow musician, Michelle Willis, took the stage. Stevens and Willis had a comfortable and chatty rapport, and they started the night by sneaking a bowl of fries onto the stage. Stevens jokingly announced this was their dinner, after a long day of travelling all the way from Vancouver.
Avery Raquel is a young artist, still in high school, and yet already building a name for herself as a soul/RnB singer. She has released three solo albums, Life Lessons, Without a Little Rain, and most recently, My Heart Away. Her newest album is all originals, and it showcases her budding skills as not only a singer with a strong, clear voice, but also as a songwriter. She incorporates modern elements into a classic genre, and draws inspiration from jazz greats, but also more contemporary music.
Due to the sheer number of performances at the Toronto Jazz Festival this year, it can seem daunting to know where to start. While there are many performances to choose from, and it really is impossible to go wrong with this year’s line-up, these are a few standout names to keep an eye out for.