One of the perks of being Artistic Director for Toronto Downtown Jazz has been getting to know better the outstanding musicians who make up Toronto's local jazz scene. And with the TDJ Special Projects initiative, I get to find out about (and attend) some of the most interesting music being created by those local musicians. The first of three TDJ Special Projects was the April 4/5 presentation of Andrew Downing and John Southworth's Easterween; the next is coming up this Sunday, April 22, when Tova Kardonne's The Thing Is celebrates the release of its debut full-length recording.
Josh Grossman's blog
We had a great time yesterday at JAZZ.FM91 with our media conference and festival announcement. With the booking nearly done (there are always a couple of pesky slots to fill) and most of the activity now officially revealed, the festival feels closer than ever - just over two months away.
Well, not this space exactly. More like this space: www.torontojazz.com. Because - on Wednesday, April 11, we'll be going live-to-air on JAZZ.FM91 to announce a huge batch of shows for the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The announcement begins at 2 pm. Tune in to 91.1 on the FM dial and follow along at torontojazz.com as we reveal:
- Some fantastic additions to our tent shows including an opening night that is sure to be a party
- A couple of exciting club shows
- Two more intimate shows at Church of the Holy Trinity
It feels as though it was only last week that I was moderating a panel charged with selecting three TDJ Special Projects from a strong pool of applicants. It was in fact back in December...and with Spring now here, the first Special Project is only days away! And so - a bit about Easterween...
"A 500-year-old magician. A ruthless, multinational egg corporation. A love story between a Hasidic girl and an Amish boy. A band of sauciers and dumpling bakers. An egg-hunt of cosmic proportions to save us all from eternal winter.
Welcome to the world of Easterween."
As I continue to put together proposed lineups for our various stages, an infrequent - but difficult - question I find myself asking is whether a musician's political and ethical viewpoints should effect whether or not they get a festival play.
My wife and I chat often about the process of booking a jazz festival. She wishes that I would be a bit more flexible in terms of what I consider the standard required to appear onstage at a major jazz festival. Not that she wants me to be booking music that is clearly sub-par; she wishes instead that there might be some room for artists who are up-and-coming - who may not be up to snuff quite yet but for whom a jazz festival appearance might provide a big boost.
My brain kinda hurts. According to my very fancy spreadsheet, I'm now through 401 official submissions. And, when you add in all the other stuff I've been checking out, it's a lot of music. The problem is so much of it is good.
I must be careful to not bite the hand which feeds me but...well...isn't grant writing fun?
I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker a few weeks ago for the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (ICASP) Reading Group in Guelph. It was a fun session: I made a short presentation dealing with my philosophies - and the challenges to those philosophies - behind booking a jazz festival, then Ajay Heble, Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, asked me a series of in-depth questions about how I approach my job. (Some of them were toughies: what is jazz?