The Further Adventures of Jazz Money

I could think of no better title for this post than what appears above - and what happens to be the title of the third in our series of four TD Discovery Series Special Projects presentations. This Wednesday, March 8 at The Rex Hotel, an expanded Jazz Money (usually a trio, they'll be a sextet on Wednesday) takes the stage with three of their favourite MCs for an exploration of jazz and hip-hop. If the three tracks submitted with their application are any indication, this is going to be awesome.

Jazz Money (Chris Weatherstone, alto sax; Malcolm Connor, bass; and Jared Goldman, drums) came together to do some busking in the summer of 2013. It was during a busking session at Queen and Spadina that they were discovered by "Dreamhouse Studios”, leading to their first EP and the beginning of a longstanding relationship with recording engineer David Plowman. Working together, Plowman and Jazz Money set out to create a jazz/hip-hop collaborative album with all original music. Drawing from their respective backgrounds (Plowman as a hip-hop artist and professional recording engineer, Jazz Money as improvising musicians), "The Further Adventures of Jazz Money" was born: a unique take on the fusion of jazz and hip-hop, featuring live musicians performing with some of Canada's most exciting young hip-hop talent.

Why this particular fusion? Here's how Jazz Money describes their approach:

"Jazz and hip-hop share a common heritage, and have been fused in the past and present to varying degrees of success. In old-school hip-hop this was usually been achieved by rappers and producers 'sampling' pre-existing recordings with the odd feature of a jazz musician. In the last few years, however, hip-hop has seen a surge in the use of original music, and collaborations like the one between jazz pianist Robert Glasper and west-coast rapper Kendrick Lamar...The creative vision was to make a unique jazz/hip-hop fusion with all original music, by real musicians with real instruments. In taking this project out of the studio and into the form of a live show, the group will be premiering new music and bridging the gap between jazz and hip-hop performers and audiences in Toronto. Both genres contain improvisation, groove, form, and rhythmic complexity. However, despite mutual respect and interest in each other’s music, there has been little crossover between jazz and hip-hop artists and audiences in Canada."

When I assemble the panel to evaluate Special Projects submissions, I do my best to bring together four people with substantial experience in a variety of music industry facets (this year we had agents, artistic directors, musicians and a radio station VP). Typically, we listen to the tracks submitted with each application, have some discussion, score, and move on. Some tracks stick out more than others, but typically, it's a fairly even-keeled process. I can tell you though - when the first Jazz Money track came on, we all sat up and took notice. What we heard was an exciting reflection of what is already happening in certain parts of the jazz world, as jazz artists explore more hip-hop, and vice versa. But it was not just the a propos nature of the music which struck us - the three tracks sounded fantastic. Original, groovy, well-played and well-produced. (And - if you know Malcolm Connor, you know he doesn't really play electric bass. The grooves he was laying down exclusively on acoustic bass were particularly impressive.)

Jazz Money and their collaborators have been working hard on this project for months now (they keep releasing sneak peeks videos of the rehearsal process) so I'm expecting the music on Wednesday night to be kicked up another few notches from what I've already heard...which means it's going to be a great show. Adding to the trio will be Tom Moffett on trumpet, Sly Why on Keys and Michael Perotti on guitar; handling MC duties will be Apt, DillanPonders, and the JUNO-nominated Ghettosocks.

Complete concert information is available here. And maybe I say this about all of these shows, but I don't think you'll want to miss this one...

Josh

P.S. - Congratulations go out to Spectrum Music who put on a very impressive concert this past Saturday night. I hope you were there; if not, you can read about their Special Project here.

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