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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