I attended the Beaches Jazz StreetFest on Friday night with a friend. We started off at Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East. The first group of musicians we saw was the Samba Squad, a drumming group lead by award winning percussionist, Rick Shadrach Lazar. This group is very skilled. They had quite the coordination! I wanted to stay to see more but we had to move on and check out some more music.
We stopped and listened to the Dirty B-Sides, a Hip Hop group. I was taking a picture of Branko Scekic when he stopped and freestyled about me and my camera. It was a pretty cool experience. All of the guys were very talented. It amazed me how they could come up with things on the spot like that. I loved how they included classic instruments with the ‘newer’ genre of music. (Tuba, Saxophone, trumpet and of course drums).
It was close to 9pm and the streets were getting busier. There were lots of food trucks along the street with other vendors set up along the sidewalks. It was hard to see a lot of the bands due to the crowds but we were patient and found some decent vantage points to see and shoot pictures from. I won’t list all the groups we were able to see but I’ll continue to write a bit about the ones that were particularly noteworthy.
The Seagull All-Stars played some great jazz instrumentals. I wish I could find out who was on the saxophone as he was terrific. (Lead Picture). 20 Flight Rockers had a large group gathered around them and people were dancing. Including some young kids - it was cute. They were playing
Dr. Draw drew in a large crowd. He’s known as the first violinist to venture from rock and classical into electronic music culture. He was very high-energy and everyone was loving it. It was definitely something different to see. I enjoyed it.
The Johnny Max Band was excellent. Johnny is such a great entertainer. He gets his audience into the music with ease. Loved his voice. I could have stayed and watched longer but it was getting late and the StreetFest was only until 11pm.
Bone Yard, a rock tribute band was up there as one of my favourites. They went from ‘Tainted Love’ straight into the ‘100th Meridian.’ Jeremy Smith can sing and the band can rock!
The Metro Big Band was the last act we got to see before heading back towards Woodbine Avenue. Rick Levine croons out the old songs beautifully and Bernard Wexler
Sets lasted 30 minutes long and bands along the street were alternating turns. Bands were packing up just after 10pm. 7-11pm just didn’t seem long enough. All in all, the event was well organised with a large variety of talented musicians to listen to. Looking forward to next year!
More pictures below….