TO Jazz Preview: Tips, Tricks, and Tomfoolery

Toronto – The Toronto Jazz Festival starts this Friday with musicians all over the city getting ready to serenade our world leaders. Like so many Toronto festivals, it can be overwhelming to try and decide what shows too see. Thankfully, we’ve compiled this handy dandy guide to help you navigate through all the music that will be playing from June 25 through July 4.

1 – There Be Riches Off The Beaten Path

There are some amazing acts that will be appearing on the main stage at Nathan Phillips Square. While this is a good go to option when it comes to choosing a show, there are definitely many benefits to be had for those willing to wander from the road well-traveled. Great musicians will be playing at all sorts of fun venues. In addition to better sound and a more intimate experience, it will also be cheaper than those main stage acts. Consider:

  • Martha Wainwright (June 25, The Great Hall)
  • Lady Son (June 26, Lula Lounge)
  • Esthero (June 27, Lee’s Palace)
  • Grace Kelly (June 29, Trane Studio)

2 – Find The Free

With most of the tickets for the headliners in the $30-40 price range, going all out at the jazz fest can be an expensive proposition. It’s comforting to know that there are free shows all over the city. Pretty much everything at the main stage that happens before 8 pm is free admission. Furthermore, the main stage at Nathan Phillips Square is basically an open air tent, and there are plastic chairs just on the other side of the tent in the Peace Garden.  Wink wink. Here are some worthwhile free shows:

  • Brandi Disterheft (June 26, Jazz FM Broadcast Centre)
  • Jaffa Road (June 27, Mainstage) – NXNE Review
  • Lost Fingers, Chaka Khan, Macy Gray (July 3, Yonge & Dundas)

3 – The Grandmasters Can Turn It On Like A Switch

With so many great musicians playing at the festival, it can be difficult to choose which shows to attend. Thankfully you’ve already taken some of my penny saving advice to heart and have some leftover funds to splurge on the musical equivalent of fine cognac. The people at the top of their game in the jazz world have a mastery of music that can be turned on like a switch. They’re Jedi masters that communicate with each other and with you using only the force.

  • Herbie Hancock (Jun 26, Mainstage)
  • Stanley Clarke featuring Hiromi (June 28, Mainstage)
  • Dave Brubeck (June 29, Koerner Hall)
  • Keith Jarrett (June 30, Four Seasons)

4 – Jazz Fuses With Everything

At the heart of it, jazz is an improvisational music. Under the right hands it can fuse with pretty much anything. For hip-hop with jazz elements, you can see Andy Milne & Dapp Theory, or the Roots. For soul and African influences, there is Angelique Kidjo. For some soul and funk, check out Mavis Staples or Maceo Parker. There’s amazing music for all stripes, so get out there and soak it in!

  • The Roots (June 29, Mainstage)
  • Angelique Kidjo (July 1, Mainstage)
  • Andy Milne & Dapp Theory (July 3, Trane Studio)
Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Everything, Toronto Jazz Festival