Warren Schlote's blog

An Open Letter to the Jazz Festival

How time flies.

We have now come to the end of the 30th annual TD Toronto Jazz Festival. At times it seemed like it was over in a heartbeat, while at others it felt as though it would never end (mostly when I had to work at 7:30 a.m. all week). I learned a lot about myself, jazz, and writing, and will certainly take this TDJ News Corps experience with me as I pursue a career in journalism.

Saying Goodbye with Radiohead and Jazz

With my time at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival drawing to a close, I knew I wanted to go out with a bang. I decided to make my way to the Rex for the Toronto Jazz Orchestra's Radiohead Jazz Project. If there’s one thing I love, it’s when jazz fuses with other genres – the fact that it was Radiohead was simply the icing on the cake. After much begging and pleading, I managed to secure my spot at the show.

Was I ever glad I did.

Open Jam at the Rex

On Thursday night/Friday morning (June 30/July 1), I attended my first and only Late Night Jazz Jam at the Rex. The jams were hosted by the Chris Gale Quartet, and any musicians are invited to sit in on the sets.

And I do mean ANY musicians, because they let my friend and fellow TDJ News Corps member David Cruz sit in for a tune. (As well as Festival Artistic Director Josh Grossman, but I feel like listing him here might put my job in jeopardy.)

Jazz - Not Wasted on the Youth

Players from far and wide came to the Youth Jazz Showcase. Opening the set was the National Youth Jazz Combo, directed by Kirk MacDonald and featuring some hometown jazzers. Petros Anagnostakos played drums, Carter Brodkorb was on piano and Anson Cai was on saxophone. The only out-of-town player was Evan Gratham on bass, who hails from Vancouver and is in his second year of the NYJC. They played a swinging set which was met favourably by the audience. Brodkorb introduced the players and the tunes from the piano.

Joey and Ramsey Take Koerner Hall

Two of the most respected names in jazz piano took the stage at Koerner Hall on Thursday night (June 30). Joey Alexander, the 13-year-old from Indonesia, opened the show, while Grammy-winning Ramsey Lewis took the second half.

Experimentation for Meditation

When the name on the marquee reads “The Robert Glasper Experiment,” you never know what to expect. Glasper’s group routinely crosses the boundaries between jazz, hip hop, R&B, soul – you name it, he’s likely done it.

Wednesday (June 29) night’s performance at Nathan Phillips Square was an excellent display of musicianship. Glasper held down the piano and keyboards while Casey Benjamin rocked saxophones and the vocoder. Mark Colenburg joined on drums and Burniss Travis played bass.

A Fond, Final Farewell

TDJ News Corps member Warren Schlote saw the Oliver Jones Trio on their farewell tour. It was an emotional evening, yet a fitting sendoff for one of Canada's most beloved jazz musicians.

Something Different at the Horseshoe Tavern

TDJ News Corps member Warren Schlote attended the Kiefer Sutherland Band's performance at the Horseshoe Tavern Monday night. While it may not have fit in the traditional realm of the Jazz Festival, it was a great performance.

Jazz - Past Present and Future: Anson Cai

In the third and final part of his Past, Present and Future series, TDJ News Corps member Warren Schlote spoke with Anson Cai.

Anson is a young saxophonist who is already playing with big names across the country. See him perform with the National Youth Jazz Combo at Nathan Phillips Square, July 2nd at 12:30 p.m.

Jazz - Past, Present and Future: Gregory Porter

Warren's original plan for this interview was to meet Gregory Porter in an alley, paying tribute to the title of his latest record Take Me to the Alley.

Upon the advice of his mentors and the Jazz Festival, a more traditional interview format was chosen. It was probably for the best.

Enjoy the perspective of jazz present as discussed with one of the biggest names in contemporary jazz, Gregory Porter.


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