Josh Grossman's blog

Getting an earful

Putting together a major jazz festival is a lot of work. As Artistic Director, it's my responsibility to listen to submissions; get out and hear live music; meet musicians; negotiate contracts; assemble lineups; and more, all while keeping the big picture in mind - balancing musical styles; balancing the local and Canadian talent with international artists; and ensuring that the festival will be accessible, interesting, and exciting for as many people as possible. And, along the way, a fair number of noses get out of joint. Why aren't more local artists booked?

Don't just do something, stand there!

Schmoozing is not my strong point. When not in front of a band with a microphone in hand (telling bad jokes, as my musician colleagues will suggest) I'm a bit of an introvert, so I'm not always the best at making small talk. It's been a pleasure, though, getting out and chatting to various people in the music business since I started as Artistic Director back in January. I've been reminded of one of the most important parts of being a member of the jazz community: the hang.

Open for business AND you call that jazz?!

Over the past few months, I've used this blog to chat about the festival and its activities; my adjustment to the position of Artistic Director; and the music I'm enjoying, locally and on disc. The one thing I haven't done is have a good old-fashioned rant.

Well, a couple of things have stuck in my craw recently and it's time. Let's...get...contentious!

Item #1 - The G20 Summit

Jam after work, jam at night

We've just announced two series of jam sessions - one verbal and one musical!

Four weeks to go!

In just four short weeks the 24th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival - and my first as Artistic Director - kicks off with Maceo Parker's mainstage performance. Where has the time gone?!

I'm frequently asked about which shows I'm looking forward to most...and it's nearly impossible to choose! I'll be getting out to as many shows as I can over the ten days, but here are some that have me particularly excited (in no particular order):

Swing, Swang, Swung

I had the good fortune to be in the audience for Peter Appleyard's May 13 show at the Old Mill. Although the term "jazz legend" may at times be used a bit liberally, it is entirely accurate here: Peter is a Canadian jazz treasure and it was a pleasure to hear him play.

Thank you Rob

I'm not really sure what else to say this week. Thank you, Rob, for your music and your inspiration.

Rob McConnell
February 14, 1935 – May 1, 2010

Just the FACTs

With the demise of the Canada Council's Grants for Specialized Music Sound Recording, artists in the jazz and contemporary classical music genres (among others) are looking for new sources of funding in support of recording projects. With that in mind, I attended a session presented by FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), to see if FACTOR might be a good alternative to the Canada Council's program.

Keeping up with Miss Jones

Ever since my first year as a student in the University of Toronto's Jazz Performance Program I've understood that New York City is a hotbed of jazz activity. I've not spent a lot of time there, though, so last weekend I made the first of what I hope to be semi-regular jaunts south of the border. I think it will be helpful to keep track of certain emerging trends, meet new musicians, venue owners and presenters, and help to keep Toronto on everyone's jazz radar.

Showtime...

Three months (since I started, anyway), hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls later, we're ready for our close-up. This Tuesday, April 13, we'll be live-to-air on JAZZ.FM91 to announce the highlights from the 2010 TD Toronto Jazz Festival lineup. Things get underway around 2 pm; make sure you tune in!

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