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As I was wondering what is there to do over the long weekend, I found out there is this Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. Going thru the names of performers, I was surprised that I actually recognize a few of the names; maybe it’s a indication that I actually know something about jazz, thanks to the songs introduced by QuietFM.

I ended up going to one concert by McCoy Tyner Septet. I recognized the name, but I didn’t know much about him, so I wasn’t so keen on going. But then I realized Wallace Roney, a really good trumpet player, was part of the Septet, so I thought two famous musicians in one concert is worth the admission. At the concert, I was kinda relieved that I was not the only there going by myself; plenty of people were there solo.

Some of the songs played that night:

In a Mellow Tone


Stolen Moments

Happy Days

Not that I can recognized any of those tunes, in fact I’m not sure if I have heard of any of them before. But for sure I’ll remember “Happy Days”, such a easy tune to like and remember. It was the last song of the night for encore.

McCoy Tyner is the last surviving member of the famous John Coltrane Quartet (another important jazz name) Reading his biography, it is clear that McCoy Tyner is one of the best pianist/compser in jazz history.




I guess I was more drawn by Wallace Roney than McCoy Tyner, but then I have only heard one song from him, his version of Misterios, which I can never get tired of. In a way I was hoping I can hear that song, but then it was really McCoy Tyner’s concert, no such luck. But Roney was quite good that night; I don’t think I have heard trumpet sound as nice and clear.

Rest of the group are actually some of the best musicians around; bassist Charnett Moffett, drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt, Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Donald Harrison on alto sax, and Steve Turre on trombone. All except the drummer have their own albums.

If I’m not mistaken, the type of Jazz they play is called Bebop; to me the obvious characteristics is that:

In the playing, a theme would be presented in unison at the beginning and the end of each piece, with improvisational solos making up the body of the work. (wikipedia on Bebop)
Before the concert starts, I was wondering, with all those horns, will they actually sound good when they were all played together. But I was realy worrying over nothing, these guys are great musicians, and they sounded great together.

And of course each of the solos were great. I always like bass solo, but the way Charnett Moffett plays bass is simply amazing. Trombonist Steve Turre had some interesting solos, not only with trombone, but with his slightly modified conch shells. At the concert, many people there like me did not know about his special instrument of conch shells, and were pleasantly surprised to hear those equally nice sound.

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