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May 10, 2006

Toronto Launches new Jazz Festival

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian jazz news

Art of Jazz Celebrates the finest in jazz with a series of duo concerts

Toronto launches its new Art of Jazz Celebration May 17 – 21st in a weekend that showcases the finest in jazz with a series of duo concerts featuring some of the top names in jazz.

Founded last year by Canadian jazz musicians Jane Bunnett, Larry Cramer, Bonnie Lester and Howard Rees, the not for profit charitable foundation is dedicated to promoting and presenting jazz performances and education.

Kicking off the event is the opening night gala on Wednesday, May 17th, where legendary musicians Barry Harris and Don Thompson will be honoured with the 2006 Art of Jazz Tribute Award. Harris, winner of the 2006 Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, and Thompson, winner of a 2006 Juno Award, will perform live at the event.

Hosted by jazz vocalist Ranee Lee, the evening includes tributes to the two legends with Barry Harris honoured with a performance by Hank Jones, Jimmy Slyde, Charles McPherson, Earl May and Leroy Williams; and Don Thompson with a performance by Jim Hall, John Handy, Dave Holland, Terry Clarke and Phil Dwyer.

The weekend will showcase jazz music luminaries in the Duo Series, who will perform concerts on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21st. The list of performances includes:

Sonny Fortune and Rashied Ali – Saturday, May 20
The spirits are summoned to the bandstand when this duo takes the stage. Rashied Ali, innovative drummer known for rhythmic freedom (he was John Coltrane’s partner on his final album, ”Interstellar Space”), and Sonny Fortune, who according to the great jazz writer, Nat Hentoff, is “the greatest underrated saxophonist in jazz” team up as the rich sound of Sonny Fortune improvises to Ali’s drumming.

Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown – Saturday, May 20

The legendary bebop vocalist is a favourite of Toronto audiences. For this performance, she’s back to a classic voice and bass format that shows her to be one of the most original singers in jazz. With the great Cameron Brown on bass, this duo is the epitome of warmth, humor, and grace. Both Jordan and Brown will also join the Art of Jazz Orchestra on Sunday evening for a world premier presentation of a George Russell arrangement. An historic event not to be missed

Kenny Barron and Eddie Henderson – Sunday, May 21

Pianist Kenny Barron and trumpeter Eddie Henderson have been playing together for many years, especially in the Kenny Barron quintet. Very rarely do we get to hear them in this very intimate duo context. This is a great opportunity to hear two masters at the top of their form.

Ravi Coltrane and Luis Perdomo – Sunday May 21

The son of the legendary John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane has been carving out his own path in jazz as well as extending the legacy of the Coltrane name. In this rare duo performance, Ravi is joined by the masterful Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo.


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