Josh Grossman's blog

We're underway!

The alarm has gone off, the cobwebs have cleared, and it's time to reflect on day one of the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. In many ways, the shows that I caught yesterday represent the exciting breadth of music being presented over the next ten days. Here's what I mean:

Party time...

With only one more sleep until the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival gets underway, I'm finding my energy split in two ways: on one hand, I'm really excited about the next ten days. I'm looking forward to hearing great music, meeting interesting people on and off the stage, and experiencing the magic that is the festival. On the other hand, I'm enjoying being in the moment, and once again feeling grateful for what I get to do year-round. Let me explain.

Almost there...

I got my haircut this morning:

Which can only mean one thing: the jazz festival is almost here! We kick things off in just over a week - 5 pm next Friday, June 22. I'm starting to get excited, and I thought I would revisit a post I did last year on how best to navigate the festival - how to figure out what's when and where, and what you might like to see. Here are some tips:

Stamp of approval

It's always nice to have something to celebrate in the jazz world in general, and in the Canadian jazz world especially. This week, Canada Post announced that Canadian jazz piano great Oliver Jones would be the subject of one of two postage stamps created this year to commemorate Black History Month. With the honour, Oliver Jones joins the ranks of another Canadian jazz master, Oscar Peterson, whose stamp was revealed in 2005.

Festival math

A couple of weeks back, we had the following posted to our Facebook wall:

"Why are your concerts catered to younger folks so damn expensive? Who are you really catering to? Are you trying to alienate the younger jazz lovers in Toronto?"

Which is sort of a funny post - of course we're not trying to alienate anybody. But the point is valid. How much is too much when it comes to setting prices for concerts at the festival?

I thought I would address the issue in a couple of ways. First, a quick look at some other concert listings reveals that:

    Over to you...

    Back in the fall, we put out a request for your jazz festival "wish list" - the artists you most wanted to see on a festival mainstage. With the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival now less than a month away, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at some of the names on the list.

    First, here are the artists you requested who are coming this year:

    I Like Music

    I mean, I guess that's an obvious enough statement, given what I do every day. It's just that I've been reminded why exactly I like music so much on several occasions in the past few weeks. It really clicked about half-way through the first set of the In The Current show last Wednesday at Gallery 345. The concert was the culmination of months of work by bass player, composer and arranger Mike Downes.

    In the Current

    It's hard to believe, but the TDJ Special Projects are wrapping up this Wednesday at Gallery 345 with Mike Downes' In the Current.

    Pathetic fallacy

    That is, my mind currently is as blank as the weather is grey. I've been staring in various directions (at the computer screen, out the window, at the ceiling) and have been reading articles online seeking inspiration for today's blog entry but have come up empty. I may have exhausted my writing mojo for today.

    And so, with that in mind, here is a video of Matt Wilson playing a piece for drum kit, carrots and juicer. I guess it's possible that there's a metaphor in there somewhere - how my brain feels at the end of the day, maybe? - but I think I'll let the video speak for itself.

    The Thing Is...

    One of the perks of being Artistic Director for Toronto Downtown Jazz has been getting to know better the outstanding musicians who make up Toronto's local jazz scene. And with the TDJ Special Projects initiative, I get to find out about (and attend) some of the most interesting music being created by those local musicians. The first of three TDJ Special Projects was the April 4/5 presentation of Andrew Downing and John Southworth's Easterween; the next is coming up this Sunday, April 22, when Tova Kardonne's The Thing Is celebrates the release of its debut full-length recording.

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