Josh Grossman's blog

Will pop music save jazz?

For a few minutes, let's talk in extremes. Let's pretend that jazz is in dire straits, and something drastic needs to happen to save it from disappearing into the history books. Whether this is actually true or not has already been discussed at length (and maybe it's the discussion over the state of jazz that should be relegated to the history books, since in my opinion the music is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon), so I'm not going to examine that idea today.

New perk for TDJ Special Projects

Feedback has been positive for our new initiative, TDJ Special Projects, and now we've got another reason you should apply: photographer Tracey Nolan is offering a headshot photo session to each of the successful Special Projects applicants. Here are the details:

Announcing TDJ Special Projects

I'm excited to announce the launch of TDJ Special Projects, a new initiative offering support to local musicians for their upcoming special events. Through a juried process, successful applicants will obtain marketing and public relations support from Toronto Downtown Jazz, accessing a wealth of resources and contacts typically reserved for Festival-related concerts only. From the Festival’s monthly electronic newsletter, to our website to a dedicated media release and more, TDJ Special Projects will provide valuable marketing and publicity support for your event.

A musical few weeks and don't judge a book by its cover

Every once in a while I have a particularly busy concert-going itinerary and, after last night's amazing show (more on that later) I realized that over the past few weeks I've seen an interesting and stimulating array of performances. Here's a brief run-down...

September 30 - Oliver Jones Trio at the Old Mill

The value of art

This could be a long one. I'm going to attempt to tie together a variety of thoughts that are rattling around in my brain and which have been inspired by, to a varying degree:

  • Wednesday night's mayoral arts debate
  • An interview I did with a third-year Ryerson journalism student
  • A venue in crisis

Now, for those of you out there who (like me) don't always get through long blog posts/articles, let's see if I can summarize what this will be all about:

  • The arts are important

Mayoral arts debate time change

For anyone who was planning to attend the Toronto Mayoral Arts Debate on Wednesday, September 29, please note the new times:

Doors open at 5:00 pm
Debate runs 6:00-7:30 pm

Bailie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West

Toronto's mayoral election

I learned the hard way, about seven years ago, that performing artists and political messages do not always mix. It was a Saturday afternoon gig at The Rex, before the start of the war in Iraq, and I decided to use the microphone to express my personal opinion. Some people cheered, some people booed, some people walked out...and I don't think the management was particularly happy with me. I understand that if people are looking for an afternoon of great entertainment, they are probably also not looking for a strong dose of political statement.

An aptly named event

Since starting as Artistic Director back in January, I've been practicing that oft-heard celebrity line, "Do you know who I am?" Always at home, always in jest, and always within earshot of my loving wife, who typically shakes her head, rolls her eyes, and walks into the next room. I've not actually ever used the line in public (and those who know me personally recognize that I could never really pull it off), and, frankly, the answer would most likely be "no" anyway (i.e. "No I don't know who you are").

Where do we go from here?

I hope everyone had a good Labour Day weekend. I know I did - I spent two nights and three days at the Detroit Jazz Festival, taking in all kinds of music and experiencing what is considered to be North America's largest free jazz festival. I had a great time, checking out musicians like Take 6, Mulgrew Miller, Tower of Power, Tia Fuller, Danilo Perez, Terence Blanchard, the Yellowjackets, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Freddy Cole, Kenny Barron, Trio M, and Ledisi. Not all of the music worked for me, but most of it did.

Oh not this again...

An interesting article caught my eye today in The Toronto Star. In an interview with Ashante Infantry, saxophonist and Dap-Kings member Ian Hendrickson-Smith talks about his dream - soon to become reality - of opening up a jazz club in Brooklyn (see the article here).

Yes, it's time to once again talk jazz clubs.

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