TO Jazz Review: The Bacchus Collective, Que Isso?, June 23

As much as I love the high-energy and big ticket acts at Nathan Phillips, it’s also important for me to get off the beaten track and explore the nooks and crannies of the jazz festival. Saturday night was my designated night of wandering. It led to the Distillery District to see The Bacchus Collective, a Toronto-based funk soul jazz outfit. They played the Trinity Stage, which is on Trinity street, in the heart of the Distillery. The quaint cobble-stoned streets were filled with people of all ages; from kids to adults.

I was enticed here by the words “funk soul”. Lead singer Justin Bacchus was accompanied by a strong rhythm section. While the music didn’t captivate me, the scenario certainly did. It’s weird to think that a place once used to distill whiskey and other adult spirits is now such a family-friendly destination. There were kids everywhere! They were dancing as kids do: the standard up-and-down bob with optional arm wave mixed in with the occasional jump. Many were unsuccessfully attempting to drag their shy parents to join in on the dance party. The band took it in stride and catered to the kids, encouraging them to shake up a storm. This got even funnier when they quickly tired of this funk soul business and tried to storm the stage (see picture above).

Next up was some beers in a park with some friends (a necessary ritual in hot Toronto summers). Bonus points because the park was extra sketchy. I was interested in some chill instrumental sounds, so I set my compass to the Dominon on Queen for some Brazilian jazz in Que Isso? That’s not a question, I really did go here. The question mark is part of the band name. I think it’s Spanish for “Brazillian Isso”. From the street you could hear some really tight jazz with that infectious laid back rhythm. Peering inside from the street, you could see a packed house; so packed that the Dominion was at capacity. People wanted in, and when they got a taste of this band, they were setting up camp for the night. I don’t blame them. In truth I had a better line of sight than the picture above. It was intentionally taken through bushes and grates because I’m a story teller. Shhh, don’t break the spell.

 Que Isso? … The question mark is part of the band name. I think it’s Spanish for “Brazillian Isso”.

Fortunately at some point, the doors were nudged open just barely and the street view became standing room on the patio, which morphed into a table on the patio, and eventually led back inside near the end of the set. The drummer Kyle McGyle looked like he was having entirely too much fun hammering out rhythms. It was fun and legitimate jazz at a great club. I would love to see Que Isso? again in a less packed setting where I could spend a little more time absorbing the music. Either way, it was a rewarding treat for my night of festival wandering.

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Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival

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