The TD Toronto Jazz Festival Summer Concert Series is a weekly concert series, broadcasting live from the Long & McQuade Performance Hall at JAZZ.FM91, which kicks off our 35th anniversary celebrations, culminating in the 35th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival in June, 2022. Presented by TD, the Summer Concert Series highlights 10 local acts who each bring their own unique perspective to the performance of jazz, and reflect a variety of the elements which have been part of the Festival over the past 35 years: from emerging artists and young lions to the best of the best; from traditional jazz to new sounds; from mentorship to community connections.
The Toronto Jazz Festival burst out of the gates in 1987 with eight days of outstanding music. That first Festival established our mandate of featuring the best jazz musicians from Toronto, across the country and around the world – and Canadian jazz treasure Jane Bunnett was there. Jane played the first ever Toronto Jazz Festival and since then has remained a Festival regular, showcasing her substantial and varied body of work.
Five-time Juno Award winner Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the US, and Cuba. She has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, received The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and, most recently, The Premier’s Award for Excellence.
With Maqueque, Bunnett has created something new and phenomenal in the world of jazz. What started out five years ago as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians, has become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. They have played in major jazz festivals like Newport and Monterey, been featured on NPR’s program Jazz Night in America, were nominated for a Grammy Award for their release Oddara, and were voted as one the top ten jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine’s critics poll.
An internationally acclaimed musician, Bunnett is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring, and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music, and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been ground-breaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player, and pianist.
Two documentaries have been made about Bunnett’s work: Spirits of Havana by the National Film Board was presented at numerous film festivals internationally, on television (CBC, PBS), and in Europe. A more recent film, Embracing Voices, has been shown at film festivals and is awaiting commercial release.
As an educator, spokesperson, and social activist, Jane remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence.
Maqueque are: Jane Bunnett, soprano saxophone & flute; Joanna Tendai Majoko, vocals; Mary Paz, congas & vocals; Dánae Olano, piano; Tailin Marrero, acoustic & electric bass; Yissy García, drums.