Are you in withdrawal after last month’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival? Are you craving more music? Well you’re in luck: From July 19th to the 28th you can head down to the Beaches International Jazz Festival. Now in its 24th year, this free festival has dozens of acts spread over four outdoor venues, plus great food and drinks. Read on for some of the best acts and experiences at this year’s event.
Bryan Lee and the Power Blues Band
Based out of New Orleans, Bryan Lee is a Grammy-nominated singer and guitarist who brings the low-down nasty blues to every show. Blind from a young age, Bryan goes by the nickname “Braille Blues Daddy.” He plays the guitar and belts out his powerful vocals with serious fire. See him headline at the Woodbine Park stage on Saturday the 20th at 9pm.
Saidah Baba Talibah
If you’ve never heard her name, you’ve definitely heard her music. Her song “Revolution” is featured in a widely played Chevrolet Volt commercial. She combines rock and roll with soul to deliver an unforgettable performance. Between her voice, her attitude, and her stellar backing band, she looks to be destined for greatness. Catch her at 3:30pm on Sunday the 21st at the Woodbine Park stage.
Taste of Jazz
July 23rd and 24th at Woodbine Park is a foodie’s delight. From 5pm to 10pm, you can groove to live music and feast at a veritable fleet of food trucks. The Taste of Jazz features Fidel Gastro’s, Gorilla Cheese, Bacon Nation, Hank Daddy’s Barbecue and many more. Want to get your drink on? No worries, there’s a licensed beer and wine garden for your imbibing pleasure.
The Shuffle Demons
The word “eclectic” gets thrown around a lot when talking about music, but these guys are definitely eclectic. Well known for their crazy suits, onstage hijinks, and quirky lyrics, the Shuffle Demons also have jazz chops to spare. If you’ve been around Toronto for a while, you may remember their quasi-hits “Spadina Bus” and “Get Out Of My House, Roach.” Equal parts entertainment and musical virtuosity, the Shuffle Demons are on the Kew Gardens Main Stage at 2pm on Saturday the 27th.
This is where you can see why Canada’s homegrown music scene is one of the best in the world. From July 25th to 27th, a two-kilometre stretch of Queen (starting at Woodbine and heading east) is closing down and will feature dozens of Canadian musicians at various venues along the way. The festival atmosphere alone is worth checking out, but there are also amazing bands; from 7pm to 11pm nightly, check out groups like Dr. Draw, God Made Me Funky, Brownman Electryc Trio, KC Roberts, and many others.