TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Days 4-10: June 27-July 3, 2011
The Mainstage was ready for some heavy and groovy bass action once Bootsy Collins and his 14-piece band started the big show. From working in James Brown's band to collaborations with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (P-Funk), Collins has been bringing the funk to audiences all over the world. This was a show where earplugs were a good thing while still having fun in the standing-room only section of the tent. The loud opening bass lines paved the way to a funky journey that had most people on their feet all night, even those who had secured a seat.
To keep the enthusiastic crowd going, and while Collins was changing into another crazy outfit, the vocalists kept the momentum alive and led the crowd into an organized dance routine. They also were urged to raise their cellphones in the air to mimic torch lights. Yes, cellphones were ubiquitous. The band did quiet things down, for just a brief moment, with "Yummy, I Got The Munchies" featuring duets between vocalists. The act had the structure of a revival gathering, as Collins talked to the crowd with the music in the background. At one point, he asked that the crowd divide itself into two sections, like the opening of the sea. This was just preparation for the bassist to walk into the crowd and connect with everyone in his path before returning back on stage.
The evening ended anticlimactically, as people were expecting an encore. Nevertheless Collins and his crew delivered a fun show for fans. Even a JazzFM (local jazz radio station) volunteer, who attended a quieter show earlier in the day was genuinely pleased by what she just witnessed.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Canadian artists headlined the last day of the festival. Hungarian-born Robi Botos has really established himself in Toronto, and was proud to finally showcase pieces from his just-released debut, Place To Be (A440, 2011).
Since her appearance onto the scene when she was 12, Nikki Yanofsky drew great attention with her ability to imitate Ella Fitzgerald at such a tender age. She closed the festival with a collection of songs ranging from jazz to R&B. It will be interesting to see how her career evolves, as this was but a snapshot of a youngster pursuing her dreams