So - when do we start up again?'s been two weeks since we wrapped up the 2010 TD Toronto Jazz Festival...when do we get to start planning 2011?!

Beyond reflecting my own readiness to do it all again (though perhaps I should check in with my colleagues...), the above question has been asked of me frequently over the past ten days or so. Right now, we're in assessment mode - evaluating ticket sales, talking about what shows worked where and why (or why not), getting feedback from the various parties involved in the festival (from performers to audience to sponsors) and, frankly, taking a bit of a break. However, it will all start up again soon enough: we've already prepared the submission blurb to be posted on the website for next year's festival; and the conversation about where the festival will take place next year is underway. (With a garbage strike last year, this year's G20 and next year's Nathan Phillips Square construction, it's starting to feel like a long time since we've had a "normal" year...)

In the meantime, I'm using my time to make reports on the festival that was, re-establish key contacts, build new relationships within the jazz community, and do a lot of listening. Right now I'm checking out Gerald Clayton's album two-shade (which is an excellent mix of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz playing), and in the the past few days I've checked out the Keith Jarrett/Charlie Handen album Jasmine (beautiful); the Neil Cowley Trio's Radio Silence (interesting jazz from the UK); Toronto's own (and now New York-based) Mark McLean's Playground (at times swingy, at times funky, and always sounding good); Barry Romberg's Random Access album was, shall, why, because (some great long and short compositions featuring outstanding musicians); and 54, featuring John Scofield with the Metropole Orkest with arrangements by Vince Mendoza (that man can work magic with anyone's music!); among others.

I'll be heading out of town with Jeanette soon for a welcome holiday, but while I'm in the city I'll be checking out as much live music as I can...and at this time of the year, there's a lot to choose from in and around Toronto. The Rex Hotel continues to present several shows daily; the Beaches Jazz Festival gets underway this weekend; and a variety of festivals outside of the city are filling the province with great jazz over the next two months. It's tough to keep track of them all, but The Wholenote Magazine has done a pretty good job. Check their summer festival listings and jazz in the clubs listings. And, while you're there, check out the great cover story on Alex Pangman, one of Toronto's classic jazz gems.

So - keep cool, take in some live jazz, and enjoy the summer. Soon enough we'll be gearing up for the 25th TD Toronto Jazz Festival, and you can bet it's going to be a celebration!

What jazz will you be checking out this summer? Log in to comment or send me a note at [email protected].


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