We'll take it!

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Sun Jun 22 8:33am

Note: This entry will be a bit on the short side - I've got an important family commitment this morning and so my time is a bit limited.

Day three - and our first full day of programming - included emerging artists and veterans, new compositions and standards, long-established groups and new partnerships. And some fantastic weather.

My day started with a search for a bassoon stand. Another sentence I didn't think I was likely to every write. We found one. Bassoon stand secured, I was off to Nathan Phillips Square. I did a quick on-air interview with Walter Venafro on JAZZ.FM91 then headed to the tent for the first lunchtime series of the festival, yesterday featuring Canadian jazz-rock legends Lighthouse. They've still got it; it is their vocal harmonizations which perhaps impress me most. I can't think of too many other groups who can harmonize like that!

Next up was a bit of Rehan Delal and his soulful take on standards and originals. He drew a nice crowd to the acoustic stage - a new venture for us this year - and kept the audience interested with his great voice and a trio of excellent bandmates.

With a bit of free time in my schedule, I made my way over to The Rex Hotel to catch some of Swing Shift. Swing they did; it was great to see a standing-room-only crowd, and I especially enjoyed some of the arrangements they played, which moved beyond the standard stock charts.

What followed was a day trip of sorts. The first stop was Shops at Don Mills, where Gord Sheard's new-ish group Our Old School performed a high-energy mix of jazz, funk and fusion. The Shops has done an excellent job of creating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, and the lawn (well, turf) was full of people taking advantage of the muskoka chairs provided; some even brought their own.

From the Shops we (me and one of our trusty PR interns, Jazz Man in tow) made our way to The Old Mill. June Garber was performing again last night - backed up by the Russ Little Quartet - and had Amanda Martinez join her as a special guest vocalist. The Homesmith Bar was sold out for the show, and both singers put on a great show.

The trip back downtown was a bit on the slow side, but we made it. I headed over to the Jazz Bistro, but my timing was slightly off - I caught only the last few bars of the first set of Mark McLean's group with guest vocalist Wade O. Brown. If those last bars were any indication, though, it was a groovy, rocking evening at the Jazz Bistro.

Rather than wait out the set break, I decided to head over to the mainstage - I wanted to be sure to catch David Clayton-Thomas' set. His is an iconic voice, one that I know well from Blood Sweat & Tears, and I was looking forward to seeing him live for the first time. He quickly proved that his instrument is in great shape, hitting all of the notes I know from the recordings, backed up by some of Toronto's finest musicians. The audience was enthusiastic in its response, demanding one encore and getting two. A fitting end to a day of music which paid tribute to days past, present and future.

A particular treat yesterday was the opportunity to catch up with musicians, colleagues and friends of the festival. I always enjoy the music I hear over the ten days, but equally as enjoyable are the conversations I get to have - whether subject matter is profound or everyday - with all kinds of interesting people.

Here's what's on today:

And, if you're looking for some jazz edumacation, there is:

See the full list of today's activity here.

See you on the square!

Josh