City of Culture featuring the Worst Pop Band Ever

Date: 
Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 7:00pm
Ticket Price: 
Free

With the City of Culture initiative, Toronto Downtown Jazz celebrates Toronto as a cultural destination generally, and a must-see destination for jazz lovers in particular. This series of eight concerts, each featuring a different artist in a different venue, performing an outstanding cross-section of jazz and jazz-related music, highlights some of the incredible musicians whose talent is on display here in Toronto every day throughout the year – and on our stages at the annual TD Toronto Jazz Festival, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2022.

With influences ranging from Wayne Shorter to Levon Helm to J Dilla, the Worst Pop Band Ever aims to combine a love of jazz and indie pop. Whether it be blending acoustic bass with turntables or synths with the saxophone, they set out to twist and bend originals and covers, straddling genres and butting heads with expectation. Recorded at The El Mocambo, one of this city’s most iconic live music venues, housed in Toronto’s vibrant and multicultural Chinatown - a neighbourhood of diverse restaurants, food shops, retail and live music spanning several blocks of the bustling Spadina Road, and adjacent to the famed Kensington Market.

The City of Culture initiative has been made possible by the generous support of Reconnect Ontario, from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. We’re grateful for the continued support of our title sponsor, TD, and we’d like to thank our media partners JAZZ.FM91 and The Toronto Star.

Click here for the complete list of City of Culture concerts and mini-documentaries.

Worst Pop Band Ever
Chris Gale - tenor saxophone
Adrean Farrugia - keys
Dafydd Hughes - keys
Drew Birston - bass
Tim Shia - drums
With special guest Rebecca Hennessy - trumpet

With influences ranging from Miles Davis to the Carpenters to J Dilla, The Worst Pop Band Ever is a Toronto based group that combines their love of improvisational jazz with modern pop influences. And despite the name, the WPBE's mish-mash of sounds has received critical acclaim, reached the top of College Radio Charts and been used for film, television and podcasts, (everything from the NFB, CBC, the Toronto Public Library and even a Disney Pilot). In fact, since 2006, the WPBE has been entertaining audiences at festivals and packed clubs throughout North America and Asia: from St. John’s to Seattle; New York to Vancouver; Montreal to Taipei. At the same time, the band has run educational clinics and master classes for elementary to post secondary institutions across the country. Individually, the members of the band - Chris Gale (sax), Adrean Farrugia (keys), Dafydd Hughes (keys), LEO37 (turntables, MC), Drew Birston (bass) and Tim Shia (drums) - have actually had the good fortune of playing with a host of Juno, Grammy, Polaris, Trille Or, and Golden Melody winners (and losers) in a multitude of genres. Their latest offering is an odd radioplay - cobbled together during the pandemic -
about the last days of a department store portrait studio (available exclusively on bandcamp and youtube) and they are working on a new release for 2022.

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