The Sure Thing Five playing the Downtown Jazzfest (Toronto)

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra feat. Ingrid Jensen


By James Lizzard
 
Ain't saying these are the best acts you'll see at the Jazzfest, just saying these are Five Sure Things y'all don't want to miss
 
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra feat. Ingrid Jensen

JUNE 28, TORONTO STAR STAGE, NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE

Straight outa BC and nothing to do with Diana Krall, the Jensen sisters Christine and Ingrid blow it hard and hot against backdrops of lush orchestration. Composer/saxophonist Christine and trumpeter Ingrid are developing a unique brass signature, most recently heard on new album Dancing Sunlight.

Mavis Staples & Allen Toussaint Band

JUNE 30, TORONTO STAR STAGE, NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE
Got Mavis Staples weaving the 'spel' in Gospel, got Allen Toussaint with the blood of all the N'Orleans musics throbbing in his veins and what y'all got is on one kickass, hair-raising soulful roots throwdown. Word is Staples is working material from the 
We’ll Never Turn Back album, celebrating the spirit of N'Orleans Africa-American community post-Katrina. community in the wake of Katrina.
Allen Toussaint be likely just dishing up righteous soul food from a deep menu that shouts the history of American roots music
 

Chaka Khan/Macy Gray

JULY 3, YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE

This the jazzfest Saturday night date gig for sure. A pair of superstar divas, warm summer night and two generations of sweet soul music for getting all up close. Performance word here is that Gray will be working out tunes from soon come album The Sellout. Chakka can just do 'greatest hits' all set but as she's buzzed to be working on new material, something fresh could come up. Of special interest would be 'Soul Survivor' which she sings on UK soul star Beverley Knight's current album, 100%.

The Roots

JUNE 29, TORONTO STAR STAGE, NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE

The Roots represent a great choice in crossover groups. Reaching out isn't the easiest thing for the jazz community and while The Roots represent a stretch, there's cred to be had from the layered and intricate work of drummer??uestlove. 'Tis said there's nary an NY jazz drummer who doesn't drop ?uestlove-style beats into their own work. Other folk say the entire concept of live-instrumentation hip-hop derives from the more visionary work of Miles David and Ornette Coleman.

Add serious hipster cred as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to the deep grooves and edgy keyboard work on the funkified How I Got Over album , and there's a riot going on.
 

Next Wave Series

JUNE 27 – JULY 3, MUSIC GALLERY, 197 JOHN.

This last one is a whole series of concerts spotlighting the more avant garde and experimental acts, mostly from round our way
 
Post-guitar icon Fred Frith brings his idiosyncratic style for a solo gig on July 2 (see Interview, right), while voice teacher and gifted performer Christine Duncan’s astounding collection of improvising vocalists The Element Choir pairs up with freewheeling improv of local trio The Swyves on June 29.
Long-serving Toronto drummer Barry Romberg unplugs his award-winning electric band Random Access to hook up with Nilan Perera’s large-scale free improvisation ensemble rEDwIREaRCHaNGEL on June 28.

Rounding out the series are Erika Stucky, Christy Doran, Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Fredy Studer, who’ll be jamming on the musical legacy of Jimi Hendrix (July 3), and both the Eric Boeren and Kyle Brenders Quartets will perform new original compositions on June 27. All shows start at 8pm.

Have a great Jazzfest and smile at a stranger.