Welcome to the Artistic Director's Guide

The Artistic Director's Guide is our way of taking you "beyond the bio". Here you'll find audio and video clips, and I'll describe what I like about each artist and suggest why he or she is important to the scene. So dive in—use the menu options above to find an artist, and let's seek to answer "What's so good about...?"

Josh Grossman, Artistic Director
Toronto Downtown Jazz

What's so good about the Montuno Police?

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Wed Jan 22 9:59am

Take six of Canada's top musicians with a foundation in jazz, mix in influences from Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Arabic musical traditions, add great writing and exciting soloing and what do you get? The all-night dance party that is Rick Shadrach Lazar and Montuno Police. And this Saturday night, as part of the Geary Lane Jazz Series, they'll celebrate their 25th anniversary.

What's so good about Alex Samaras?

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Mon Nov 25 2:05pm
Alex Samaras

Okay so before I get too far along with this post I have to declare a fairly strong bias. Alex Samaras is one of my favourite singers. He's performed with my big band on numerous occasions. I've seen him perform in a variety of settings. And I've booked him for the Festival. As far as I'm concerned, from a fundamental quality of instrument standpoint, from a musical interpretation standpoint, from an emotional connection to the music standpoint...he's simply one of the best. All of which, in short, answers the title of this post.

What's so good about Jeremy Ledbetter?

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Wed Oct 23 2:06pm

I do my best to keep track of the music and musicians creating buzz on the local jazz scene. But there are always artists who pop up in places I would not necessarily have expected to find them - often a "you play with them?!" moment. I feel as though the outstanding pianist/producer/composer/arranger Jeremy Ledbetter is one of those musicians.

The AD's Guide to the Festival - veteran artists

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Fri Jun 23 2:15pm

So who knew planning a jazz festival could involve so much last-minute running around? (Yes, rhetorical.) I'm a bit later than I had hoped with this post, but it's my pleasure to round out this mini-series of AD's Guide entries by listing some of the outstanding Toronto jazz veterans performing free concerts at this year's TD Toronto Jazz Festival. There will be lots of names here you recognize, and maybe even some you don't. All are outstanding - these really are some of the best musicians in Canada (if not further afield). Here we go...

The AD's Guide to the Festival - out-of-towners

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Fri Jun 16 10:11am

The 2017 TD Toronto Jazz Festival is only one week away. Already. And while there are still loose ends to be tied and details to be finalized, a definite pre-festival buzz is starting to build. Everything (well, almost everything) feels a bit new this year, and I'm looking forward to having it all finally get underway.

What's a Caravan Palace?

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Thu Jun 8 4:31pm

In a word, Caravan Palace is fun. An integral part of the worldwide Electro Swing movement, Caravan Palace, based in Paris, France, takes traditional 1920's jazz sounds and mashes them up with electronic pop beats - think Django Reinhardt meets Daft Punk; picture flappers flitting to funk. The result is upbeat, high-energy, danceable music which is sure to get the Phoenix moving when they stop in on June 26.