Mike DeiCont's blog

Cookin’ at The Winchester Kitchen with The Worst Pop Band Ever

The Worst Pop Band Ever is the total package - great compositions, unique covers and standup-worthy comedic banter. Deserving of better attendance, the group’s two-set night at The Winchester Kitchen was a highlight of the festival. With Tim Shia on drums, Chris Gale on tenor sax, Adrean Farrugia on keys, and Drew Birston on electric and upright bass, the band showcased the players’ unique ability to jump from jazz to hip-hop flavoured rock with minimal effort.

Tedeschi Trucks Band bring the blues to the jazz fest

The Nathan Phillips Square mainstage tent seemed to be packed beyond capacity as husband-and-wife blues duo, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, hit the stage. Accompanied by trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, organ, bass, two drummers and two backing vocalists, the Grammy-winning pair had no trouble connecting with the enthusiastic audience at the June 29th concert.

Toronto's Brass Band Connection

By Mike DeiCont
It was with much excitement that Toronto welcomed two world-renowned brass bands from New Orleans last week, despite having a vibrant traditional jazz sector of its own.  

Toronto’s rich history of such ensembles has lately been pulled to the forefront of the local music scene due the ascendance of The Heavyweights Brass Band which released a well-received debut album and scored several high-profile gigs, including opening twice for hip-hop stars The Roots, since they launched in 2009.

Spalding was great, but Parlato was better

Esperanza Spalding's sold-out Nathan Phillips Square show was the most anticipated event of the 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

Spalding, 27, has managed to break into mainstream territory unimaginable to most jazz musicians. As the first jazz artist to win a Grammy Award for "Best New Artist," beating out Justin Bieber in the process, and with late night talk show appearances and Banana Republic ads, the Oregon native is flirting with pop icon ranking.

Robert Glasper at Wrongbar - Jazz is cool, again

Robert Glasper Experiment, Wrongbar, June 25th

34 year-old jazz pianist Robert Glasper stopped by the TD Toronto Jazz Festival for two shows in support of his recently released crossover record entitled Black Radio. Straying away from his jazz roots, the pianist’s fifth record features many top drawer hip-hop and neo-soul artists.

Mike Stern, Horseshoe Tavern, June 24th

On Sunday night musicians and non-musicians alike piled into the Horseshoe Tavern knowing exactly what to expect from their legendary guitar hero. Mike Stern and his band took to the stage just seconds after a small group in the crowd began to summon them with chants of “Stern! Stern! Stern!” His band was made up of Bob Franceschini on tenor saxophone, Lionel Cordew on drums, and Janek Gwizdala who gave a standout performance on electric bass. Stern is only on the road with this band for three short nights until he head heads over to Europe with a much more familiar band.

Chatting with Sophia Perlman and Adrean Farrugia

Sophia Perlman and Adrean Farrugia have two of the most distinct musical voices on the Toronto scene - a bold statement given a scene so packed with talent. Sophia and Adrean were kind enough to share their thoughts, stories and inspirations with me as I began to get a feel for the interviewing process.

Kurt Rosenwinkel, Church of the Holy Trinity, June 22

No one knew what they were in for on Friday evening when Kurt Rosenwinkel took to the pulpit at the Church of the Holy Trinity alone with his guitar, surrounded by vintage amps and a mess of guitar pedals. The slight hum from the amps became much more prominent, nearing the end of the shy applause. Reflecting back, a few twangs of Rosenwinkel tuning somewhat symbolized the calm before the storm.

Lorne Lofsky Interview

Listening to veteran guitar player Lorne Lofsky is very much an adventure worth taking, especially when bass player Kieran Overs and drummer Barry Romberg are along for the ride. Lofsky likens it to “getting in a car and driving down a road that you haven’t been down before . . . checking out all the sights and just seeing what’s there." Catch Lorne Lofsky with Kieran Overs on June 22nd at Mezzetta Restaurant & Tapas Bar and at Chalkers Pub on the 23rd with the Lorne Lofsky Trio, featuring Overs and Romberg.

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