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I got my haircut this morning:
Which can only mean one thing: the jazz festival is almost here! We kick things off in just over a week - 5 pm next Friday, June 22. I'm starting to get excited, and I thought I would revisit a post I did last year on how best to navigate the festival - how to figure out what's when and where, and what you might like to see. Here are some tips:
- Visit torontojazz.com. From our home page you can search the festival's listings by artist, date, venue, genre and instrument; you can view the calendar to get a run-down of all of the jazz activity happening during the festival, whether on official festival stages or in the forty local clubs booking their own acts; and you can find information on how to get to the festival, hotel and ticket packages, local attractions and dining options.
- Pick up a brochure. Our brochure is jam-packed with listings for every show happening over the festival's ten days: official festival shows, club shows, free workshops and events - it's like having the entire festival in your pocket. You should be able to find brochures at HMV, Bay Bloor Radio, TD Canada Trust branches across the GTA and all festival venues.
- Visit the hub. We're back at Nathan Phillips Square this year and, after opening night, activity starts each day at 12:30 pm with the Ken Page Memorial Trust Inside Track. The Outdoor Stage hosts a free concert every day at 5:00 pm, and the Toronto Star Stage comes to life each night at 8 pm for our Mainstage Concerts Series. You'll also find: vendors, JAZZ.FM91, an HMV Store and a variety of sponsor activations - it will be quite the hive of activity! Drop by anytime to take in the festival atmosphere and speak with one of our 200 volunteers - they'll be able to answer any of your jazz festival-related questions, including who to see, where to buy tickets, where to eat, and more.
- The Artistic Director's Guide to Jazz. The Artistic Director's Guide to Jazz is a great way to go "beyond the bio" and learn more about some of the artists performing during the festival. With each entry, I provide background information, video clips, and my personal take on why each artist is worth seeing. Head over to torontojazz.com/guide to search the Guide by artist, instrument and genre. This year we also presented two sessions of the Artistic Director's Guide to Jazz - Live! You can watch the video from the May 6 session - during which I chat with Chris Donnelly about playing solo - here; video from the May 13 session will be up soon.
As for what excites me? Well, as I said in one of my recent interviews, the ten days of the festival are like getting to play in the most awesome playground - I'll be having fun the whole time. I'm especially looking forward to my four days of hosting the KPMT Inside Track - I have the good fortune of interviewing Gretchen Parlato, David Braid, Gord Sheard and Norman Marshall Villeneuve, June 28 to July 1, 12:30 pm on the Outdoor Stage (free admission, all welcome; Jim Galloway will handle the hosting duties in fine fashion June 23 to 27). And our educational programming is always a highlight: Jazz for the Teach, the Big Band Slam, the Youth Jazz Showcase and Groove & Graffiti all shed some light on what the next generation of great musicians will do with their jazz.
I look forward to seeing you soon!