TD Toronto Jazz Festival-Measha Brueggergosman@KoernerHall/Prism+John Scofield Uberjam Band–Thurs.,June 26th,2014 Bobby McFerrin-June27th 2014@Nathan Phillips Square
By Bill Kwan, Photography by A.J.Lam and Bill Kwan
Iconic Canadian Soprano Measha Brueggergosman http://www.measha.com/ thrilled the appreciative audience at Koerner Hall on Thurs., June 26th, 2014. Her surname is a combination of her maiden name, Gosman, and her husband Markus’ surname, Bruegger. It doesn’t look like this multi-talented musician is going to slow down any time soon. The Soprano was in fine form and the audience was in awe of her great voice. She crossed over into jazz in this latest project, performing a selection of jazz standards. Youthful for classical music that breaks the stereotype of an opera singer in every way imaginable. With an innate musicianship and an amazing voice, the opera star performed with some of Toronto’s “A” lister musicians:
John Johnson, Winds
Aaron Davis, Piano
Rob Piltch, Electric Guitar
Scott Alexander, Electric Bass
Davide Di Renzo, Drums
I remember seeing her act in one of my favorite T.V. shows “Murder Mysteries,” coincidentally playing an opera singer caught up in a murder. She played Madamae Rosa Hamailton in a season five episode. On Aug 15th, the Grammy nominated and Juno award-winning opera star will be singing songs from the “I’ve Got a Crush On You” tour. This will be her very first contemporary album interpeting the songs of Feist, Joni Mitchell, Cole Porter, The Gerswhins and more. A big fan of Lou Reed, I was amazed to find out that Measha is also a Lou Reed fan. There is a tribute to the late great artist with Measha playing with the Lou Reed Band.
Next it was off to see Prism and John Scolfield
It was hard to determine who was the opening act and who was the headliner for the performance at Nathan Phillips Square. PRISM went on the stage without a peep! Featuring: legendary Bassist Dave Holland, Kevin Eubanks of Tonight Show fame on Guitar, Craig Taborn pianist and Eric Harland on drums. They started with the song “New Day.” Dave Holland bass line had the crowd tapping their toes. Eubanks sat on a stool and was in deep concentration playing his guitar. Drummer Eric Harland got the crowd in the mood with his slow drumming skills to set up the ambience. The song progressed into a 15-minute jam, during which everyone had a chance to solo, including Holland with his skillful bass lines.The band went into songs such as: “Evolution”, “The True Meaning Of Determination” and closed off their set with “Empty Chair” and “The Watcher”The songs were creative as a progressive rock band. The band definitely had the crowd’s attention with the band members tapping their toes and jamming in rhythm. There was not alot of movement or interaction with the audience and the only thing that basically broke the ice was a dropped beer bottle, the reaction to which brought a funny moment to a serious group of band members and then they returned to playing their instruments. This was one supergroup of amazing musicians who didn’t miss a beat.
John Scofield’s Überjam—which includes Andy Hess on bass, Avi Bortnick on rhythm guitar and Tony Mason on drums—hit the stage as the co-headliner. This unique band has each member with their unique style, The group started with opener “Snake Dance” which was an electronic funky latin blues. “Cracked Ice,” a funk song right out of the 70’s with a disco beat showed the bands versatility. Scofield gave credit to Brtnick for his writing skills and his guitar skills were shown during the night. A lot of “props” were given out to his band members during the night as this guitarist worked well with this group of amazing musicians. We went on a great journey of Funk,Jazz, Disco,Blues, Soul and some Reggae. Again who was the opening act and who was the headliner?
Bobby McFerrin’s fun improvisational style, rooted in folk, rock and blues, was thoroughly enjoyed by an enthusiastic overflowing crowd under the tent of the Toronto Star Stage on the penultimate night of the Toronto Jazz Festival. Best known for his 1988 global hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” the American vocalist and conductor, and ten-time Grammy Award winner, with back-up singing from his daughter, Madison, started his set with a vocal performance accompanied by a unique percussion instrument, his chest. A few songs later, Madison displayed her beautiful voice with her father acting as the back-up vocalist. With his new album, spirityouall, Bobby McFerrin features popular familiar songs like “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and
“Every Time I Feel The Spirit” alongside joyful original songs.