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Jazz Fest Picks—July 3

Branford Marsalis

Branford Marsalis on the soprano saxophone (photo by Funkman).

There’s no doubt what about the top ticket for tonight’s Toronto Jazz Festival lineup, as the mainstage at Nathan Phillips Square is occupied by some of the top players in jazz today: Branford Marsalis and the Dave Holland Quintet (8 p.m.). Soprano- and tenor-sax phenom Marsalis (older brother to Wynton) is one of the most respected improvisers of jazz’s post-bop era, and comes to Toronto riding a decade-long wave of must-hear recordings, including this year’s Metamorphosen. Marsalis is joined on stage by British bass player Dave Holland, whose career spans four decades and innumerable styles—he’s played everything from the fusion of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew to free jazz in a ’70s group with Chick Corea and Anthony Braxton to his own contemporary compositions in large and small ensembles. His current quintet features top talents Robin Eubanks (trombone), Chris Potter (saxophone), Steve Nelson (vibes) and Nate Smith (drums). Expect an evening of unforgettable modern music from these powerhouse performers.

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