All that non-jazz
The 19th annual Downtown Jazz Festival is set to take over Toronto beginning Wednesday (June 22) and running to July 3, and true to form, many of the most interesting programming choices have only a tenuous relationship with the jazz genre.
The sprawling two-week extravaganza gets off to a promising start at the Phoenix with hiphop beat scientist RJD2 on June 22, followed the next night by the return of Brooklyn Afrobeat bangers Antibalas at the same venue.
The Nathan Philips Square mainstage also features a number of intriguing non-jazz performers, namely fragile French chanteuse Keren Ann June 25 and jam-happy fusionists Medeski, Martin & Wood June 27.
Then the funk side projects of new suit jazzers Roy Hargrove and Joshua Redman do battle for groove supremacy, with Hargrove's RH Factor thowing down June 28 and Redman's Elastic Band bouncing back June 30.
If that's not funky enough for you, New Orleans piano mystic Dr. John brings the hoodoo down July 3.
Three Gut no more
Lovers of eclectic indie music and all things related to Guelph shed buckets of tears this past week when Three Gut Records head honcho Lisa Moran announced that the beloved Toronto indie label will be shutting down after the release of the Constantines ' much-anticipated upcoming Tournament Of Hearts disc.
Moran posted the news in a beautifully sentimental statement on the Three Gut website ( www.threegutrecords.com) after returning from a European tour with Oneida , but she says she made the decision quite a while ago.
"I'd already told the artists on the label, but I feel like I've been struggling to find the words to articulate it properly in public," she says, adding that there was no definitive reason to call it quits.
"It just feels like the book is done. We've accomplished what we set out to do. More than anything, it feels like the right time. All the artists are taken care of, and I love the Cons' new record, so I can't think of a better way to cap it off."
Three Gut, which was brought to life by mad artistic scientist Tyler Clark Burke with Moran and a loose collective of pals (including Jim Guthrie ) about half a decade ago in Guelph, helped launch some of the country's finest independent artists, paving the way for the current "Canadian indie music is the shit" buzz currently clogging music rags worldwide.
Moran plans to take it easy for a while, but she'll also be maintaining the Three Gut back catalogue and taking on more tour managing duties, including a stint working with Danielson Famile affiliate and indie folk sweetheart Sufjan Stevens , who'll be touring his fab new Illinois disc come July.
The artists on the label's roster will all find new homes - although several, including Sea Snakes and Royal City , may be quietly taking an extended hiatus - but Moran says it hasn't quite hit her that she's saying goodbye.
"I feel kinda naive, like it all still exists. The relationships between people are still so tight, and it will live on somehow."