Beaches Jazz vignettes;
three guys wield corn-cobs in impromptu funky dance routine, ‘come buy’ . . .
salseros so tuned to each other that they almost dance as one . . .magic harp, now vividly blue, now pink – the coloured light cuts through the falling night . . . a watery halo behind darkly silhouetted trees as the moon clambers through the clouds . . . young couple dance close – in what the singer aptly describes as a ‘jazz love-in’ – but one hand rocks the stroller, connecting with their wide-eyed infant.
It wasn’t perfect weather for a festival – although Toronto avoided the brunt of the summer storms, we balked at a mid-afternoon drenching. But by Saturday evening the skies became progressively clearer. Nothing, though, dampens the exuberance of this magical few days, when Queen Street becomes one big free party zone (no cars) and the air is filled with what is loosely called ‘jazz’, though in reality a much more eclectic mix than this suggests.
The sizzling scents of burgers (Rowe Farm organic meat on a Brick Street Bakery bun went down well!), curry, corn, churros (Mexican sweet pastries), Poutine (the menu just goes on!) season every step. Bubble guns are all the rage (age is irrelevant!) – we’ve seen them everywhere this summer, adding to the festive feel.
The crowds pulse (there are a couple of places where cars are allowed to cross the street, controlled by police), relaxedly flowing up and down the 1.5km strip. There must be 50 bands or so, but spaced so well that only occasionally do they confuse the ears – we linger a while then move on, take in by turns gypsy jazz, Mississippi Blues, Big Band, Trad, Soul and more as well as fusions of all kinds.
This is how live music should be, a pulsing part of everyday life, shared and accessible to all!