Josh Grossman's blog

What a day!

To say that yesterday was an "eventful" day in Toronto is a bit of an understatement. Happily, though, we were unscathed at Nathan Phillips Square, and none of the music suffered. Here's a run-down:

And we're off!

Day one is done...and it was a great way to kick off the festival.

Here we go...

After ten months of preparation, hundreds of phone calls, countless emails, and logistics more complicated than early space vehicles, we're ready to go: tonight we launch the 24th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. I'm looking forward to ten outstanding days of jazz, and am excited to experience the festival for the first time as Artistic Director. I'll be keeping up with my blogging each day during the festival, recounting highlights, challenges, and all-round shenanigans.

Getting an earful

Putting together a major jazz festival is a lot of work. As Artistic Director, it's my responsibility to listen to submissions; get out and hear live music; meet musicians; negotiate contracts; assemble lineups; and more, all while keeping the big picture in mind - balancing musical styles; balancing the local and Canadian talent with international artists; and ensuring that the festival will be accessible, interesting, and exciting for as many people as possible. And, along the way, a fair number of noses get out of joint. Why aren't more local artists booked?

Don't just do something, stand there!

Schmoozing is not my strong point. When not in front of a band with a microphone in hand (telling bad jokes, as my musician colleagues will suggest) I'm a bit of an introvert, so I'm not always the best at making small talk. It's been a pleasure, though, getting out and chatting to various people in the music business since I started as Artistic Director back in January. I've been reminded of one of the most important parts of being a member of the jazz community: the hang.

Open for business AND you call that jazz?!

Over the past few months, I've used this blog to chat about the festival and its activities; my adjustment to the position of Artistic Director; and the music I'm enjoying, locally and on disc. The one thing I haven't done is have a good old-fashioned rant.

Well, a couple of things have stuck in my craw recently and it's time. Let's...get...contentious!

Item #1 - The G20 Summit

Jam after work, jam at night

We've just announced two series of jam sessions - one verbal and one musical!

Four weeks to go!

In just four short weeks the 24th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival - and my first as Artistic Director - kicks off with Maceo Parker's mainstage performance. Where has the time gone?!

I'm frequently asked about which shows I'm looking forward to most...and it's nearly impossible to choose! I'll be getting out to as many shows as I can over the ten days, but here are some that have me particularly excited (in no particular order):

Swing, Swang, Swung

I had the good fortune to be in the audience for Peter Appleyard's May 13 show at the Old Mill. Although the term "jazz legend" may at times be used a bit liberally, it is entirely accurate here: Peter is a Canadian jazz treasure and it was a pleasure to hear him play.

Thank you Rob

I'm not really sure what else to say this week. Thank you, Rob, for your music and your inspiration.

Rob McConnell
February 14, 1935 – May 1, 2010

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