Toronto Jazz Festival 2012

Toronto Jazz Festival 2012

The Toronto Jazz Festival kicks off June 22 and promises 1,500 musicians in 350 concerts spread over 10 glorious days. Be it to see jazz legends or the soon-to-be discovered, this year's festival is expected to bring 500,000 music lovers out to various venues around the city. Whether it's smooth jazz, big band, experimental, singer-songwriter, or even hip hop, this city's biggest jazz festival has got something for pretty much every taste.

TOP PICKS

Janelle Monae and Roman GianArthur, Friday, June 22. Toronto Star Stage Nathan Phillips Square, 8 pm, $62.50
Whether you are high or low, Grammy-nominated Janelle Monae inspires listeners to tip on the tightrope. The cocksure Atlanta-based artist has garnered a reputation for her cocktail mix of soul, funk, R&B and jazz with her debut album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III).

Natalie Cole, with opening band the Mario Romano Quartet, Monday June 25. Sony Centre, 8 pm, $45 - $90
As daughter of the great jazz legend Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole's soaring vocals are noteworthy in their own right. Last name aside, her multiple Grammy award-wins and promising career as a songbird are definite signposts for a legendary musician.

Bettye LaVette, opening band The Big Sound, Saturday, June 23. Toronto Star Stage at Nathan Phillips Square, 8 pm, $25
With her big voice and enigmatic stage presence, Bettye LaVette's latest albums, including 2007's The Scene of the Crime, have solidified her cult following. On Saturday, don't miss The Big Sound, a Motown band featuring a 20+ orchestra.

HIROMI: The Trio Project/ The Bad Plus, with special guest Joshua Redman, Sunday, Jun 24. Toronto Start Stage at Nathan Phillips Square, 8 pm, $50
Pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara has found her voice. Her 9-track album explores a dynamic range of emotions without a single word sung. The Bad Plus will also be at the show, and they are jazz fest mainstays with their provocative playing, emotive music, and wildly entertaining presence.

Robert Glasper Experiment, Monday, June 25. Wrongbar, 12 am, free
Tradtionally, the best jazz sets happen after midnight, fueled by late night cocktails and a sense of wild abandon. Robert Glasper Experiment offers a free impromptu show, and with their masterful blend of musical genres, they're sure to inspire listeners into the wee hours of the morning.

George Benson, opening Treasa Levasseur & The Daily Special, Tuesday, June 26. Toronto Star Stage at Nathan Phillips Square, 8 pm, $72.50
With 10 Grammy Award's to his name, George Benson came of age as a child prodigy, and has dedicated his life to music. Benson's a sonic chameleon, performing everything from jazz, to pop, scat, and R&B. His rest-stroke picking guitar work is akin to Django Reinhardt.

Joan Osborne and Matt Anderson, acoustic duo, Saturday, June 30. Toronto Star Stage at Nathan Philips Square, 8 pm, $42.50
Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum musician Joan Osborne asked us, "what if God was one of us?" Her latest album Bring It On Home, pays homage to vintage blues, R&B, and soul. New Brunswick's Matt Anderson is a blues legend in the making with his unparalleled musicianship and buttery rich voice.

OTHER PERFORMANCES TO CHECK OUT

FREE PERFORMANCES

  • Brian Barlow Big Band, Friday, June 22, Nathan Phillips Square, 5:00 p.m.
  • Shuffle Demons, Friday, June 22, Shops at Don Mills, 8:00 p.m.
  • Fern Lindzon Quartet, Saturday, June 23, Shops at Don Mills, 2:00 p.m.
  • Clayton Doley Quartet, Saturday, June 23, Shops at Don Mills, 5:00 p.m.
  • Madagascar Slim, Saturday, June 23, Shops at Don Mills, 8:00 p.m.
  • Alex Pangman and Her Alleycats, Sunday, June 24, Shops at Don Mills, 3:00 p.m.
  • Jaffa Road, Monday, June 25, Shops at Don Mills, 7:00 p.m.
  • Raoul and the Big Time, Wednesday, June 27, Shops at Don Mills, 7:00 p.m.
  • Club Django, Wednesday, June 27, Shops at Don Mills, 7:00 p.m.
  • Bill King Trio, Thursday, June 28, Shops at Don Mills, 7:00 p.m.
  • The Vipers, Friday, June 29, Shops at Don Mills, 8:00 p.m.
  • Lester McLean Quartet, Saturday, June 30, Shops at Don Mills, 2:00 p.m.
  • Crusader Rabbit, Saturday, June 30, Shops at Don Mills, 5:00 p.m.
  • Planet Earth, Saturday, June 30, Shops at Don Mills, 8:00 p.m.
  • Mike Francis Trio, Saturday June 30, Pure Spirits Patio at the Distillery District, 12 p.m.
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Sunday, July 1, Shops at Don Mills, 3:00 p.m.
  • Mike Francis Trio, Saturday June 30, Pure Spirits Patio at the Distillery District, 12 p.m.
  • DJ Agile with the Tone William Project youth dance troupe, Sunday, July 1, Nathan Phillips Square, 4 p.m

For complete listings, check out the calendar on the TD Toronto Jazz Festival website.

Writing by Shannon Webb-Campbell / Photo by Sara Collaton


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