Late-night powers…activate!

Jeanette (my wife) has a no-sympathy rule when it comes to my jazz-related galavanting. The rule, essentially, is this: if I have "one too many" and I wake up the next morning moaning about it, I get no sympathy. There's no finger wagging or "told you so" involved, but I'm certainly not getting a pat on the head and a gentle "there, there." All that to say, after last night's players party at The Rex, I got little sympathy this morning…

Speaking of galavanting, the festival is here! Starting tonight with the sold-out Willie Nelson performance at Massey Hall, we're launching into ten action-packed days of outstanding music. And, as I do every year, I figured I'd make a few recommendations.

First, some general recommendations.

  1. Go on a jazz adventure. With tomorrow night's free-for-all, every show listed on our website or on the festival brochure under June 21 is free of charge. This is a great opportunity to check out Smokey Robinson at Nathan Phillips Square, Molly Johnson at the Jazz Bistro, or the enormous variety of talented musicians being presented at many of the clubs around Toronto. You're guaranteed to hear lots of great music and hopefully you'll discover a new venue or a new artist.
  2. Keep adventuring all week long! Hopefully by now you've scanned the schedule and have underlined the shows you know you'll like. I encourage you to also try something you've never heard before. And, with free shows happening every day at Nathan Phillips Square, in the Distillery and at Shops at Don Mills, there are lots of ways to make discoveries without breaking the bank.
  3. Come to Nathan Phillips Square. It's once again the hub of the festival, and with the construction nearly done, the space is looking great. We'll have a fun assortment of vendors onsite, JAZZ.FM91 will be broadcasting live, and almost the entire square will be both licensed and equipped with wi-fi. Come say hi, talk to a volunteer, browse the CDs at the HMV tent and experience some of the roving bands. As I've said before, the "hang" is an important part of the festival - and this year Nathan Phillips Square is more "hang" worthy than ever.

And now, some more specific recommendations.

  1. See someone for the first time. Jason Moran and Gregory Porter are both performing their first shows in Toronto as leaders, and they're going to be great.
  2. Check out a new club. We've programmed shows every night at the recently-opened Jazz Bistro, and have educational workshops and a concert happening at the Paintbox Bistro in Regent Park.
  3. Check out the local talent. Outstanding Toronto musicians are well represented on our stages again this year: in the big band series (Saturday to Friday, 12:30 pm, free); as opening acts for the Mainstage Concert Series; in free shows at the Distillery and Shops at Don Mills; and as side musicians at the Jazz Bistro and Old Mill Toronto.
  4. See what the kids (and their teachers) are up to these days. We've got educational programming - clinics, workshops and performances - geared towards teachers and the next generation of jazz musicians. All are free and open to the public. Come learn more about jazz, and about the musicians you'll see on our mainstages in a few years!

Finally, it's been a pleasure for me to write extended blog postings daily for the past few editions of the festival. For a few reasons it's looking like that won't be possible this year. Luckily, however (maybe?), I've just become a Twit (with an "i", thank you very much), and now have my own account on Twitter (@TOjazzAD). So my plan is still to write every day - report on what's coming up, and maybe highlight one or two things from the day before - but each post will include all of my tweets from the day before. It should look something like this:

Only hopefully, you know, more profound. I'm new to the Twitter thing, so we'll see how it goes. I've given myself a few hashtags to work with - and I invite you to join in:

#thisismyjazz - what show did you see that you loved?
#jazzfestdiet - what are you eating while out and about at the festival?
#lookwhoifound - what jazz (or non-jazz) celebrity did you bump into during your festival travels?

Okay - time to get going. By now the tent is almost up on the square, Willie's sound check is almost done…and the 2013 TD Toronto Jazz Festival is almost underway. As I always say, please drop by our compound and say hi - it's a pleasure to put faces to names and have conversations in person.

I look forward to seeing you on the square!


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