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Jazz Fest Picks—July 2

Guitarist Al Di Meola (photo by JuanZappa).

Guitarist Al Di Meola (photo by JuanZappa).

Fleet-fingered guitar virtuoso Al Di Meola enlivens the Nathan Phillips Square mainstage tonight, as the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival rolls onward. The former member of Chick Corea’s pioneering ’70s band Return to Forever brings his World Sinfonia ensemble to the city, to perform its trademark fusion of jazz, classical, tango and Middle Eastern-inflected music (8 p.m). Toronto vocalist Amanda Martinez grabs the mic as a special guest.

An intriguing mix of Canadian talent rounds out this evening’s schedule: Saskatchewan-born bassist Chris Tarry (currently enjoying success on the New York scene) and his eponymous Chris Tarry Group groove at The Rex (8 p.m.); sought-after pianist and singer Laila Biali joins forces with Mark Kelso on drums and Brandi Disterheft on bass for a sultry set at the Old Mill (7 p.m.); local vocals are also on offer a west-end hot spot Gate 403 (403 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-588-2930), where Shannon Butcher scats over bass lines laid down by Ross McIntyre (5 p.m.).

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