At last night's annual player's party at The Rex Hotel (thanks to Bob, Tom and the whole crew for hosting a great event), a number of people asked me - "how can you look so calm two days before the festival?" There are two main answers. First, I'm lucky to have a fantastic group of colleagues who run a very tight ship - I can truly concentrate on my job (Artistic Direction) knowing that the festival will run as smoothly as it does every year (regardless of torrential downpours, such as the one currently taking place outside my window...). It's a great team. And second, let's face it: this is a good deal. For the next ten days, I get to hear incredible music, meet outstanding jazz musicians and supporters, and immerse myself in the music I love. Blessed, spoiled, lucky - whatever you want to call me, it's the reason for seeming calm last night.

(Speaking of Noah's Ark, please permit me a couple of words to whomever is in charge of the weather: the breeze is lovely, the temperature is nearly perfect. But maybe if the taps could be turned off tomorrow by about 4 pm...?)

Tomorrow night we kick things off with a free street party and a special performance by Aretha Franklin, and from there it's nine days of musical feasting, all day and every day, whether at our official festival venues or in the local clubs. There truly is something for everyone, at every price point, so I hope you'll join in the celebration. Read last week's blog post for some tips on how to create a memorable jazz festival experience, and check our website each day for updates. For a complete list of programming pick up a brochure at Metro Square, a TD Bank branch or any jazz festival venue, or go to our online calendar.

I know what I'm most excited to hear, but I'm also looking forward to being surprised, and making a new discovery or two. The jam sessions are always unpredictable (in the best possible way) and I never know who I'll meet even when walking from one place to another.

So - come out and get your jazz on. If you'd like to say hi, I'll be at the beginning of each Lunchtime and Afterwork concert (they're free!), and then running from place to place after that. I'll also be leading four of the Ken Page Memorial Trust Workshops in the HMV Store at Metro Square - June 28 with Cathy Mitro, June 30 with Darcy James Argue, July 1 with Jay Cleary, and July 3 with Nicole Rampersaud.

I'm pumped - my tolerances for sleep deprivation and libation have been appropriately set, and I'm raring to go. I look forward to seeing you over the next ten days, and can't wait to do it all again...


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