Top 3 // Toronto Jazz Fest // pt.1

So the Toronto TD Jazz Festival kicks off in a couple of days and us over at JazzFeast are starting to get excited.  For those who don’t know there are 2 of us writing here and there will be another list of things to see tomorrow.  But for now here are 3 that I will not be missing.

Hiromi: The Trio Project // Sunday June 24 // 8 // Nathan Phillips Square 

TorontoJazz > Info

Wow, what can really be said.  Hiromi Uehara is a musical dynamo, who takes composition in the most serious of ways.  I find that her music threads a very fine line between classic composition and jazz but when it’s all said and done she is playing on a field almost unmatched by any of her contemporaries.  On her latest album Voice (2011) she is joined by  bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips.  This album is jammed with seam filled transitions, which make for an exciting jumpy listen.  Simon Phillips plays a rock kick, with a double bass drums to boot,  and really pushes this music to a fusion-y plane.  Hiromi and her accompaniment have this phenomenal penchant for taking whatever has come before them, whether it be classic composition, hard-bop, swing, or fusion and mold them into a sound that respects the past while quietly stepping on its throat.  What I mean by that is they do it all so very well, every element of their music is finely tuned and fully conceived that it really takes from the past and pushes forth into new dimensions of dusty genres.  This can all be attributed to talent.  I don’t hear that Hiromi is really doing things with her compositions that haven’t been done before, she is just able to exploit phenomenal melodies, harmonies, and runs because she is so damn talented.


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Hip-Hop for the Jazz head

Guru

In my mind it all starts with Guru’s Jazzmatazz series.  A collection of 4 albums released over a 15 year span, Jazzmatazz is the definitive collection of Jazz Rap.  With a wide array of jazz musicians including saxophonist Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Donald Byrd, vibraphonist Roy Ayers, guitarist Ronny Jordan, and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, Jazzmatazz volume 1 set the stage for bands  like the Roots to fully explore traditional hip hop tracks with a full backing band.

here is the full Jazzmatazz volume 1 album…

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Top 3 // Jazz bands for your friends that aren’t into jazz

We all have them. You know the friend who naturally affiliates the term jazz with WW2 swing, Kenny G, or New Orleans. “It’s just too antiquated’ they bemoan, neglecting the music as stuffy, and unrelatable.  To often Jazz is overlooked because it seems that since Trane there have only been a handful of musicians really pushing and expanding the genre in new and innovative ways. We all know what Davis and Hancock did for Jazz, but are you really gonna throw on ‘Bitches Brew’ for a person who won’t stop talking about how Arcade Fire redefined pop music? Nope. It’s just not going to happen. They’ll write it off as incoherent noise and as you argue about the merits of musical invention, you’ll realize that starting in the middle and working out to the fringes is a doomed approach. Some people just need to be brought in gently, like an old man being lowered into a hot bath.

So here it be … Our top 3 … for those who don’t like Jazz.

Bad Bad Not Good

DMZ

Toronto trio BBNG have a deftness for pushing music to a place where classification would be misleading and meandering. So we’ll make it simple. If you’re into; Bonobo, James Blake, Odd Future, Toro y Moi, Caribou, Four Tet, Neon Indian, Rjd2, DJ Shadow, Squarepusher, DJ Krush, or Similar Artists check um out.

CMYK // James Blake Cover

Bad Bad Not Good2 was released // April 3 2012
And they be // Matthew A. Tavares – Piano, Electric Piano, Prophet 08
Chester Hansen – Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass
Alexander Sowinski – Drums, Sampler

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Swing of Change

The Blue Blot

Absolutely brilliant – no other words for it.

New York in the 30’s – Daft racist and barber Harry in a bad mood, gets hold of a trumpet and tries his hand on playing it. What power music can have, is just splendidly displayed in this short movie. The details given about his character and background are very subtle but so very clear.

Details of this graduation short film

Directed by: Harmony Bouchard, Andy Le Cocq, Joakim Riedinger, Raphael Cenzi
Music by: Denis Riedinger
Jean Christophe Mentzer (trumpet), Stephane Fougeroux (percussion), Renaud Bernad (trombone), Sébastien Lentz (horn) and Michael Cortone (tuba)

Music Record: Denis Riedinger, Studio Aquarium, Hoerdt (France)
Sound Design: Jose Vicente, Studio des Aviateurs, Montpellier (France)
Mix: Matthias Heimlicher, Keytastic! Studios, Lommiswil (Switserland)
Choreography: Tony Style, Christiane Cilluffo-Marciano.
Website: swing-of-change.com

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