Our guide to the Toronto Jazz Festival

 

Are you ready to get into the groove of the Toronto Jazz Festival? The Toronto Jazz Festival returns from June 22nd to July 1st, 2018. Summertime in Toronto seems tailor made for jazz. The heat of the season, coupled with the multicultural roots of the city, are the perfect backdrop for a world-class jazz festival. Make your plans early so that you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the music.

 

About the Toronto Jazz Festival

 

Since its debut back in 1987, it has become well known as one of the premier jazz festivals in North America. It is produced each year by Toronto Downtown Jazz, a registered Canadian charity (No. 12969 0269 RR0001). The festival attracts over 500,000 loyal visitors, and more than 1,500 musicians every year over it’s 10 day run at free and ticketed shows all across the city. There is far too much music to cover here, but hopefully these festival highlights will put you in the mood.

 

TICKETED SHOWS

 

Herbie Hancock

Credit: Douglas Kirkland

 

See the legendary Herbie Hancock, live at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, June 29th at 8pm. Herbie Hancock continues to be at the forefront of the music scene, as he has been for six decades and counting. The pianist and composer began as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960’s. He later pioneered the electronic dance sound with the hits “Rockit” and “Future Shock”. Mr. Hancock received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. He is currently recording a new album. Get your tickets, today!

 

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones

Credit: Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Toronto Jazz Festival

 

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones return to Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall on Wednesday, June 27th, at 7pm. These are The Original Flecktones (Victor Wooten, Futureman and Howard Levy). Bela has received 11 Grammy Awards and 27 nominations since his first win back in 1998. He has been nominated in more categories than anyone else in Grammy history! Come hear a piece of the magic. Get your tickets, now.

 

Seal

Credit: seal.com

 

London-born, Los Angeles based legend Seal takes the stage at the Sony Centre on Saturday, June 23rd. He will be performing classic standards from his new 14 track album titled ‘Standards’, as well as some of his greatest hits. The soulful, signature sound of Seal is unmistakable. Don’t miss the four-time Grammy Award-winner. Rennie Adams will perform an opening set. Tickets are available now.

 

FREE SHOWS

 

What could be better than a warm summer day in Toronto, filled with free jazz? How about 10 days of it?! The Bloor-Yorkville area becomes the hub of the free show scene for the run of the Toronto Jazz Festival (June 22nd – July 1st). With over 150 free concerts to choose from, there is something for everyone to love. Here are just a few highlights to get you hooked;

 

Shirantha Beddage Quartet

Credit: shiranthabeddage.com

 

Catch the sound of the Shirantha Beddage Quartet on Saturday, June 30th, as they take to the OLG Stage on Cumberland St. for a 12:30pm show. Shirantha Beddage is a two-time JUNO nominated musician, composer, educator and baritone saxophonist from right here, in Toronto. Hear the sophisticated yet accessible sound, a synthesis of modern jazz and hard bop, live and free of charge!

 

John MacLeod and the Rex Hotel Orchestra

Credit: John MacLeod and the Rex Hotel Orchestra, Toronto Jazz Festival

 

Hear and feel the “The Toronto Sound” of John MacLeod and the Rex Hotel Orchestra at the

Isabel Bader Theatre on Monday, June 25th, at 7:00pm. Their original music has been performed monthly at the Rex Jazz and Blues Bar since their formation. They have been nominated twice for JUNO Awards, winning for their debut album, OUR FIRST SET, in 2011.

 

Escola de Samba

Credit: sambatoronto.ca

 

Celebrate Canada Day with a free show from Escola de Samba at the Village of Yorkville Park on Sunday, July 1st, at 7:15 pm. Lead by percussionist Alan “Canadense” Hetherington. Hetherington has been dedicated to the Samba Enredo tradition of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for almost 15 years. Come and celebrate the sound, the tradition and the nation’s birthday!

 

There is so much music to take in during the 10 days of the 31st annual Toronto Jazz Festival. We hope this post helps you make the most of it!

 

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