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


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


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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Transac // Language arts, Wintermitts, Michael Cram

The beautiful and meandering arrangements of Vancouver based Language Arts 10pm(solo) will be gracing the ears of the Tranzac faithful tonight [May.25].  If you get a chance come and check it out!

Also playing tonight >

WinterMitts 11pm


Michael Cram 9pm

Tranzac (292 Brunswick) 

Dan Weiss be good.

I was lucky enough to witness Rez Abbasi play with a solid quintet last Friday – April.27 –  at the Rex and man was I ever blown away.  Beyond the amazing versatility of Rez’s compositions the star of the set was Dan Weiss.  What I absolutely loved was his ability to weave his way in and out of peoples solos.  His timing, execution and ear for where someone is in a solo and more importantly where they are going to go, was an absolute joy to witness and if you ever get a chance to see Weiss live doooo it.

So here’s some Dan Weiss. I think this video does a good job of showcasing the amazing quality to his drumming.

Jazz Sessions at Tonic Tavern
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Milwaukee, WI

Quinsin Nachoff’s Forward Motion
Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone)
Russ Johnson (trumpet)
Andy Milne (piano)
Dan Weiss (drums)

Weekend Show >> Rez Abbasi w// Dave Binney // Dan Weiss // Matt Mitchell //Johannes Weidenmuller

Where // The Rex >> 194 Queen st. w.

When // Friday April 27 // Saturday April 28

Time // 9:45

For over a decade, Rez Abbasi has been blazing a new trail along with cohorts, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer, as a leading figure in Indian/Pakastani – American cutting edge jazz. This weekend will feature music from Abbasi’s 2011 album Suno Suno along with new compositions with an elite band of David Binney (alto saxophone), Matt Mitchell (piano), Johannes Wiedenmueller (bass), and Dan Weiss drums.

I had a chat with a good friend from Brooklyn the other day and she vehemently suggested that i not miss this. So i shall partake.

Here’s a snippit;

Rez Abbasi’s quartet playing ‘Kismet’ with Sam Barsh (organ) Dan Weiss (drums) Kiran Ahluwalia (vocals). At the Cornelia St Cafe, NYC May 19th 2007.
(a little old i know, but the best sounding recording i came across)