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Jazz Fest promises mix of fresh and established performers

Starting this Friday the roof is likely to be blown off a few downtown venues… in a good way.

Starting this Friday the roof is likely to be blown off a few downtown venues… in a good way.

Edging in on the G20’s media attention, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival runs today until July 4 with stellar headliners such as Herbie Hancock, Maceo Parker, Harry Connick Jr., Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett and Taj Mahal.

Legendary powerhouse vocalist Chaka Khan electrifies the stage at Yonge-Dundas Square with a free show on the final Saturday along with Grammy Award winner Macy Gray. “I’ll be there with my band and we’ll be doin’ the hell out of it. I love what I do and it’ll be great,” said Khan over the phone from Amsterdam.

“There’s a ton of choice this year. Something for everyone,” notes Josh Grossman, the festival’s artistic director.

The lineup includes a mix of fresh and established performers, from emotive songstress Martha Wainwright who performs the music of Edith Piaf at the Great Hall, to teen phenom Nikki Yanovsky at Koerner Hall, to R&B icon Mavis Staples plus the Allen Toussaint Band at the Toronto Star Stage in Nathan Philips Square. Roy Hargrove, David Sanborn, Maceo Parker, Stanley Clarke, Angelique Kidjo and John Scofield are a few other big name crowd-pleasers.

Daily free shows at noon and 5 p.m. at Nathan Philips Square include talents such as Jim Galloway, Barry Elmes and Buck 65.

Edgy avant-garde music is represented as well. “We’ve brought back the Next Wave series due to a strong demand from the local jazz community,” Grossman explains. The series is at the Music Gallery and includes trumpeter Eric Boeren’s quartet.

Hot Shows
• Harry Connick Jr., Canon Theatre, June 27, 8 p.m. $50-$150

• Grace Kelly Quintet, Trane Studio, June 29, 8 &10 p.m. $15

• Mavis Staples plus the Allen Toussaint Band, Toronto Star Stage, June 30, 8 p.m. $45

• Chaka Khan, Macy Gray, Yonge-Dundas Square, July 3, 6 p.m. Free

 
 
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