Josh Grossman's blog

Festival math

A couple of weeks back, we had the following posted to our Facebook wall:

"Why are your concerts catered to younger folks so damn expensive? Who are you really catering to? Are you trying to alienate the younger jazz lovers in Toronto?"

Which is sort of a funny post - of course we're not trying to alienate anybody. But the point is valid. How much is too much when it comes to setting prices for concerts at the festival?

I thought I would address the issue in a couple of ways. First, a quick look at some other concert listings reveals that:

    Over to you...

    Back in the fall, we put out a request for your jazz festival "wish list" - the artists you most wanted to see on a festival mainstage. With the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival now less than a month away, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at some of the names on the list.

    First, here are the artists you requested who are coming this year:

    I Like Music

    I mean, I guess that's an obvious enough statement, given what I do every day. It's just that I've been reminded why exactly I like music so much on several occasions in the past few weeks. It really clicked about half-way through the first set of the In The Current show last Wednesday at Gallery 345. The concert was the culmination of months of work by bass player, composer and arranger Mike Downes.

    In the Current

    It's hard to believe, but the TDJ Special Projects are wrapping up this Wednesday at Gallery 345 with Mike Downes' In the Current.

    Pathetic fallacy

    That is, my mind currently is as blank as the weather is grey. I've been staring in various directions (at the computer screen, out the window, at the ceiling) and have been reading articles online seeking inspiration for today's blog entry but have come up empty. I may have exhausted my writing mojo for today.

    And so, with that in mind, here is a video of Matt Wilson playing a piece for drum kit, carrots and juicer. I guess it's possible that there's a metaphor in there somewhere - how my brain feels at the end of the day, maybe? - but I think I'll let the video speak for itself.

    The Thing Is...

    One of the perks of being Artistic Director for Toronto Downtown Jazz has been getting to know better the outstanding musicians who make up Toronto's local jazz scene. And with the TDJ Special Projects initiative, I get to find out about (and attend) some of the most interesting music being created by those local musicians. The first of three TDJ Special Projects was the April 4/5 presentation of Andrew Downing and John Southworth's Easterween; the next is coming up this Sunday, April 22, when Tova Kardonne's The Thing Is celebrates the release of its debut full-length recording.

    The countdown begins...

    We had a great time yesterday at JAZZ.FM91 with our media conference and festival announcement. With the booking nearly done (there are always a couple of pesky slots to fill) and most of the activity now officially revealed, the festival feels closer than ever - just over two months away.

    Watch this space!

    Well, not this space exactly. More like this space: www.torontojazz.com. Because - on Wednesday, April 11, we'll be going live-to-air on JAZZ.FM91 to announce a huge batch of shows for the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The announcement begins at 2 pm. Tune in to 91.1 on the FM dial and follow along at torontojazz.com as we reveal:

    • Some fantastic additions to our tent shows including an opening night that is sure to be a party
    • A couple of exciting club shows
    • Two more intimate shows at Church of the Holy Trinity

    The Special Projects are Here!

    It feels as though it was only last week that I was moderating a panel charged with selecting three TDJ Special Projects from a strong pool of applicants. It was in fact back in December...and with Spring now here, the first Special Project is only days away! And so - a bit about Easterween...

    "A 500-year-old magician. A ruthless, multinational egg corporation. A love story between a Hasidic girl and an Amish boy. A band of sauciers and dumpling bakers. An egg-hunt of cosmic proportions to save us all from eternal winter.

    Welcome to the world of Easterween."

    Music and politics

    As I continue to put together proposed lineups for our various stages, an infrequent - but difficult - question I find myself asking is whether a musician's political and ethical viewpoints should effect whether or not they get a festival play.

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