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gary burton quartet

Jazz on the Mountain At Whistler

Greg Lowe, Kevin Eubanks and Oliver Jones are all expected to play

Jazz festivals have become a summer staple, and with all the competition to draw in music lovers, talent line ups need to entice. A nice setting doesn’t hurt either. Whistler is hoping that having both of these factors in their favour will draw crowds to their new Jazz on the Mountain At Whistler festival this Labour Day long weekend starting on September 2nd. The festival will feature international names like Spyro Gyra, Oliver Jones, The New Gary Burton Quartet and even that former late night sidekick Kevin Eubanks.

The concerts are spread out across the village, with the ticketed events taking place at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Tickets start at $65 per day, with family packages also on offer. For those who want something more intimate, there’s brunch at the luxe Bearfoot Bistro with Lorne Lofsky, the jazz guitarist ($49). And to capitalize on the setting, a Mountain Top BBQ is scheduled each evening at the top of Whistler with a rotating menu and performers Ali Milner, Chris Smith and The Night Crawlers.

Organizers hope to make the festival family friendly on this key holiday weekend—they’ve also included a street festival spread about the village geared to the kids, which will include jugglers, acrobats and acoustic musical sets.

Visit whistlerjazzfest.com for schedules and ticketing information. For the Mountain Top BBQ, visit whistlerblackcomb.com for ticketing pricing and information.

Jazz Fest Picks—June 29

Kool & the Gang: Still funky (photo by Silvia Mautner).

Kool & the Gang: The '70s stalwarts are still funky (photo by Silvia Mautner).

The Canadian talent quotient is high today at the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival. The music starts early with a free lunchtime concert at Nathan Phillips Square by the Dave Young Octet (noon), while T.O.-based saxophonist Mike Murley plays in a trio setting at Mezzetta (9 p.m.) and well-established trumpeter John MacLeod bring his Rex Hotel Orchestra to—where else?—The Rex (9.30 p.m.) .

A quartet of high-profile performances also play out this evening. Funky fan-favourite Kool & the Gang are sure to have everyone celebrating at the Nathan Phillips Square mainstage (8 p.m.). At the nearby Four Seasons Centre, aficionados will no doubt sit in awe of the Gary Burton Quartet Revisited (8 p.m.), which sees the renowned vibraphone player join forces with famed guitarist Pat Metheny, nimble bassist Steve Swallow and hard-driving drummer Antonio Sanchez. The festival’s “Jazz by the Lake” series continues at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre with a sure-to-be-riveting solo concert by Japanese piano prodigy Hiromi (7 p.m.), and at The Pilot, Chris Potter’s Underground (9 p.m.)—a ultra-tight yet supremely flexible quartet led by its namesake saxophone sophisticate, who has performed with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Paul Motian and Dave Douglas—plays its groovy, post-bop best.

Your Guide to the 2009 TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival

Ten music-filled days and nights have everyone dancing in the streets during the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival. —By Danielle Milley

Catch Kool & The Gang hit all the right notes on the mainstage at Nathan Phillips Square (photo by Silvia Mautner.)

Catch Kool & The Gang hit all the right notes at Nathan Phillips Square (photo by Silvia Mautner.)

The TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival is sure to have feet tapping and fingers snapping as it slides into town this summer with more than 350 concerts. This year’s event, which runs from June 26 to July 5, brings together more than 1,500 musicians at 40 venues as part of the city’s biggest musical showcase. There’s something for every hep cat and cool chick no matter their taste, with free daytime concerts, ticketed mainstage performances every evening and late-night jazz extending the musical euphoria at some of the hippest venues in the city.

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