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article imageChaka Khan, The Roots at Toronto's downtown jazz fest

By Lenny Stoute     Jun 28, 2010 in Entertainment
These are some of the biggest acts to grace the stage at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, running until July 4 at various venues across the city.
Mavis Staples & Allen Toussaint Band
JUNE 30, TORONTO STAR STAGE, NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE
Got Mavis Staples weaving the 'spel' in Gospel, got Allen Toussaint with the blood of all the N'Orleans musics throbbing in his veins and what y'all got is on one kickass, hair-raising soulful roots throwdown. Word is Staples is working material from the
We’ll Never Turn Back album, celebrating the spirit of N'Orleans Africa-American community post-Katrina. community in the wake of Katrina.
Allen Toussaint be likely just dishing up righteous soul food from a deep menu that shouts the history of American roots music
Chaka Khan/Macy Gray
JULY 3, YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE
This the jazzfest Saturday night date gig for sure. A pair of superstar divas, warm summer night and two generations of sweet soul music for getting all up close. Performance word here is that Gray will be working out tunes from her upcoming album The Sellout. Chaka can just do 'greatest hits' all set but as she's buzzed to be working on new material, something fresh could come up. Of special interest would be 'Soul Survivor' which she sings on UK soul star Beverley Knight's current album, 100%.
The Roots
JUNE 29, TORONTO STAR STAGE, NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE
The Roots represent a great choice in crossover groups. Reaching out isn't the easiest thing for the jazz community and while The Roots represent a stretch, there's cred to be had from the layered and intricate work of drummer ?uestlove. 'Tis said there's nary an NY jazz drummer who doesn't drop ?uestlove-style beats into their own work. Other folk say the entire concept of live-instrumentation hip-hop derives from the more visionary work of Miles David and Ornette Coleman.
Add serious hipster cred as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to the deep grooves and edgy keyboard work on the funkified How I Got Over album , and there's a riot going on.
Next Wave Series
JUNE 27 – JULY 3, MUSIC GALLERY, 197 JOHN.
This last one is a whole series of concerts spotlighting the more avant garde and experimental acts, mostly from round our way
Post-guitar icon Fred Frith brings his idiosyncratic style for a solo gig on July 2 (see Interview, right), while voice teacher and gifted performer Christine Duncan’s astounding collection of improvising vocalists The Element Choir pairs up with freewheeling improv of local trio The Swyves on June 29.
Long-serving Toronto drummer Barry Romberg unplugs his award-winning electric band Random Access to hook up with Nilan Perera’s large-scale free improvisation ensemble rEDwIREaRCHaNGEL on June 28.
Rounding out the series are Erika Stucky, Christy Doran, Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Fredy Studer, who’ll be jamming on the musical legacy of Jimi Hendrix (July 3), and both the Eric Boeren and Kyle Brenders Quartets will perform new original compositions on June 27. All shows start at 8pm.
Have a great jazz fest and smile at a stranger.
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