David Cruz's blog

Music & Conversation with Avishai Cohen

The Avishai Cohen Trio’s music takes listeners on a moving, high energy roller coaster ride. The group took part in the TD Toronto Jazz Festival in a concert at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts on Thursday. They did not disappoint.

Artist to Watch: Kandace Springs

It is certainly an unusual circumstance for a singer to be invited to perform with Prince based off of an online video. But even more unusual? Being put on a world tour with Gregory Porter prior to the release of a full length album. Despite her track record, Kandace was not an overnight sensation. Listening to her full length debut Soul Eyes you are hearing years of practice and experimentation.

Review: Brian Barlow Big Band

The TD Toronto Jazz Festival has been noticeably hot this year, and it isn't just the weather. Much of the heat is coming from the Toronto Star Main Stage. The annual mecca of music features the familiar giant white tent, and on a sunny Monday afternoon it was almost full for a free lunchtime concert. Those who couldn't squeeze into the venue spilled into the open air.

Lorne Lofsky & Roddy Ellias at Mezzetta

​Watching Lorne Lofsky playing duo with Roddy Ellias is kind of like watching two master chess players going back and forth, equally matched in skill, completely different in style. The guitarists sat across from each other in a centre corner of Mezzetta, a cozy bar and tapas restaurant whose sangria and coffee come strongly recommend.

Fans were in abundance, and they reveled in one highlight after another. The guitarists were met with boisterous applause in between every number.

Jazz Educator Profile: Tara Davidson

Tara Davidson is a shining example of the best that music education has to offer. She first picked up the saxophone in her seventh grade music class; in high school she studied with Mike Murley and played in what is now known as The Toronto All Star Big Band. She went to the University of Toronto where she continued to learn from Murley and a roster of skilled musicians and teachers. Today Tara is a multi-Juno nominated saxophonist who teaches at York University and The Humber College Community Music Program.

Lorne Lofsky: Profile of an Artist

Lorne Lofsky is an artist in the truest sense of the word: unconcerned with fame or fortune, his goal has always been simple: to play and advance jazz music. His dynamic and smooth guitar sound can be heard on numerous recordings with Oscar Peterson, Ed Bickert and Kirk MacDonald among many others. You may also know him from his days backing the legendary Chet Baker on a recording titled Live At The Renaissance II. Lorne picked up the guitar as a teenager, starting out as a rock player, until he heard Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue.

Chelsea McBride: Profile of a Rising Star

The music business isn’t easy, but twenty-four year old saxophonist Chelsea McBride is driven enough to make it look like it is. A Vancouver native, Chelsea moved to Toronto when she was 18 to study music at Humber College. It was there that she met the friends and musicians who she still works with to this day. A prolific composer, Chelsea writes and arranges for her two groups: Chelsea & The Cityscape (a 6-piece pop group) as well as Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School (an 18-piece big band). Both bands focus on original music.

My interview with Mike Murley

Mike Murley is one of Toronto’s finest musicians, and he has the resume to prove it. He has played on eleven Juno award winning recordings, and has been named saxophonist of the year eight times by the Jazz Report Awards/National Jazz Awards. From 2008-2011 he served as Jazz Area Coordinator at York University and he is currently on faculty as a full time lecturer at The University of Toronto Faculty of Music. I had the chance recently to chat with Mike about music and education - here is the transcript from the full interview.

Jazz Educator Profile: Mike Murley

The First of a Two-Part Interview Series Profiling Some of The Best Jazz Educators in The City

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