Montreal Jazz Fest is the world’s biggest festival featuring the best of jazz and its musical cousins! Ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has been synonymous with a passion for music for over three decades. Every year, North America’s French-speaking metropolis welcomes global music fans to 10 days of jazzcentric celebration, where fans of all types of jazz-related music rub shoulders with aficionados of the genre in its purest form. The Festival hosts some 30 countries, 3,000 musicians and public entertainers, 1,000 concerts and activities—two-thirds of them free – in 15 concert halls and on 8 outdoor stages, welcoming more than 2 million visitors to the city, from noon to midnight! And it all happens on a unique site designed to meet festivalgoers’ every need, in the heart of Montreal’s downtown core, in an area off-limits to car traffic! There’s no doubt – Montreal is the heartbeat of Planet Jazz!
TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 24 to July 3, 2022
10 Days of Free Shows — Say What!
My TD Toronto Jazz Festival started mid festival, Tuesday, June 28th, early evening. It was all about Juno winners and nominees. The first act, Sammy Jackson and her quartet performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove.
Sammy Jackson won a Juno for vocal jazz album of the year. Her band, made up of Jackson on Vocals, Thomas Fleming – guitar, Chris Pruden – keys, Mark Godfrey – bass and Ian Wright playing the drums. Jackson sang songs from her award winning 5-track EP With You, featuring original compositions. Sammy Jackson added some songs from her 2016 release, the 5-track EP Take Me Back, to make for an enjoyable hour long performance. Jackson’s songs are about joy, vulnerability, long distance relationships, and love. Jackson blends jazz, R&B, soul and pop with her beautiful voice.
Jackson covers an impressive vocal range, and her phrasing is delightful. Jackson shines on the ballads. I especially enjoyed “Bad Reception” and “Every Time We Say Goodbye”.
Sammy Jackson concluded her show with one dedicated to her son, entitled “Chuckie”, a toddler who happened to be in the audience and made a cameo at the front of the stage. This tune was upbeat and had a happy go lucky, dance groove to get everybody moving.
I spoke with Jackson after the show, I asked her if she noticed the Juno enhancing her career? She said, “I think it’s why I’m here. The Juno increased my exposure. So that’s great. Thank you Juno!”
Kellylee Evans performed the evening of the 28th and I was not going to miss her concert at the TD Main Stage. Kellylee Evans was in great vocal form and in accompaniment with a wonderful band made up of Joel Visentin – keyboards, Mark Godfrey – bass, Rich Grossman – guitar, and Ian Wright on drums.
Evans has suffered some serious physical setbacks in her recovery from a tragic accident in 2013. She has an injury that is effecting her ability to walk and even to stand. She performed the show from a sitting position.
Evans puts her heart and soul into her singing. She is a Juno winner for vocal jazz album of the year for Nina, released in 2010. One of my favourite vocal jazz albums.
This evening, Evans performed songs from her new 5-song EP Green Light as well as many others. A beautiful, dynamic, high energy performance—even from her seated position.
I started off Wednesday, the 29th with the amazing trumpet playing of Alexis Baró. The Alexis Baró Quintet was performing at the TD Stage at Festival Village in Yorkville.
I really enjoy Baró’s trumpet playing. I think he is one of the most expressive players in the Afro Cuban style. Baró performed songs from his new album Ma Raiz.
I only stuck around for a few of the songs as Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis were performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove, a few streets south. It is most unfortunate to have these scheduling conflicts. However, It is amazing to have so much talent at one festival.
Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis performed on the TD Main Stage Wednesday the 29th – a dynamite performance. The band, made up of Larnell Lewis – drums, Joy Lapps – steelpan, Jeremy Ledbetter – piano, Elmer Ferrer – guitar, Rob Christian – woodwinds, Andrew McAnsh – trumpet and Marc Manhertz – bass.
“Rejoice” was the title of one of the songs performed and to hear this band is to rejoice. When I listen to Larnell Lewis play I feel the pulse through my soul. I think this is the most heartful drummer I have ever heard. His music is uplifting, powerful, dynamic, his beats, fills and rhythms, just outstanding. He shares his heart with the audience, nothing is left on the stage.
Now to get ready for a return to Koerner Hall, after 2 years of isolation, for one of the few ticketed events, the Gregory Porter band. Excited? Yes, indeed!
Juan García-Herreros · The Snow Owl: Normas
Raphael Cruz Reaffirms his commitment to Latin Jazz!
Edy Martínez, the Music Architect Behind the Piano
Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta · Son de Panamá
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: A Memorable Night in Toronto with Poncho Sánchez
Celebrating Emiliano Salvador and his Musical Legacy
A Conversation with Percussionist, Bandleader Poncho Sanchez
The Odyssey of Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón · Aires Tropicales
Have You Seen My Nana? The Enduring Genius of Moacir Santos
The Latin Side of Jazz · Episode 26
Artist Profile: Adrien Brandeis
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Cubismo & Jazz Orkestar HRT-a: Tumbao
Ella & The Bossa Beat: In the Moment
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”
Gia Fu Presents: Ángel Meléndez X Big Band Máquina
Julian Gutierrez To Release His Second Album: “Goldstream”
Grammy Nominated Jane Bunnett and Maqueque to release new recording: ‘Playing With Fire’
Rosa Avilla: Kind of Rose
Most Read in 2022
News10 months ago
SANTOS – Skin to Skin – A Searchlight Films Production
Featured11 months ago
In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti
Featured Albums6 months ago
Chucho Valdés & Paquito D’Rivera Reunion Sextet: I Missed You Too!
Featured9 months ago
The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)