TO Jazz Preview: 2011 Line-up Announced

Toronto – The Toronto Jazz Festival rolled out its line-up last week. We’ll be providing more in-depth previews of all the great shows happening as it gets closer to the festival. For now, I’d like to provide some colour on the roster.

Aretha Franklin – I had a chance to catch Aretha for her last show in Toronto. While she may not have the pipes she used to, she still seems to be pushing herself. That she is the Queen of Soul is uncontested. While this won’t be like seeing her when she was in her prime, it’s still a good opportunity to mark this off  your concert checklist.

Paco de Lucia – This is the show I am 2nd most excited about. Spanish flamenco music derives a lot of it’s technique from classical guitar music, which has a reputation for being rigid in its implementation. You have to sit just so, you have to hold the guitar just so, you have to use a footstool like so. It’s about as far away from the rebellious guitar rocker that you can be, while still being in the same instrument family.

“[Paco de Lucia] crossed his legs like a badass, which actually incensed traditionalists of the day”

Paco de Lucia threw those conventions out the window. He crossed his legs like a badass (see picture above), which actually incensed traditionalists of the day. He developed his own style of playing and is now considered one of the world’s virtuoso flamenco guitarists.

Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo – Both of these guys have been on my top roster of favourite contemporary jazz musicians. They’ve been playing together in the Branford Marsalis Quartet for years now, and as a result, they can read each other’s minds. In the world of jazz, the duo format can be stunning. There are no safety nets; no one gets to “comp” (play straight-ahead chords or accompaniment). This allows for a focused interplay between the two musicians. You take two artists at the top of their game and it can be magic. This is my most anticipated show of the festival.

The RootsThis show will sell out quickly. Every single person who went to the show last year will want to go again and bring all of their friends. All of the people on the outside of the tent looking at the ridiculous party inside is now going to want in, sticker price be damned. It will be a crazy fun blend of rock, funk, and hip-hop. This was my favourite show of 2010, and remains my only five star review. ‘Nuff said.

The Toronto Jazz Festival runs this summer from June 24 – July 3. You can find the entire line-up here. Paco de Lucia image  above is distributed under the Creative Commons license.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival