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Canada Day 2009

The big show at the Main Stage - Nathan Philips Square featured a performance that will go down as one of my favorite all time concerts. The opening to this memorable occasion started with the singing of "O-Canada" the full house was led through the national anthem by the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival artistic director, Jim Galloway. He played the melody on his soprano saxophone, a swinging version and the crowd sang with pride. The opening act featured Canadian award winning bassist Brandi Disterheft and her sextet. A band that included drummer Sly Juhas, Stacie McGregor on piano, Chris Gale playing saxophone, William Sperandi on trumpet and Tara Hazelton providing vocals. The band did an excellent job, performing six songs with wonderful features.

The Headliner: The Dave Brubeck Quartet Bobby Militello, alto sax and flute, Michael Moore on acoustic bass and Randy Jones playing drums. Brubeck was ushered on stage to a standing ovation, one of many he would receive this evening. Mr. Brubeck heads for the microphone to thank the audience, he says, "Ellington has always been one of my favorite composers. So I thought why don’t we play some Ellington."

In a trio of Ellington tunes that included Billy Strayhorn’s "Take The A Train", "These Foolish Things" and "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" the quartet put heart and soul into every riff. The locomotive force of the octogenarian - Dave Brubeck guides the band with resolute focus. Bobby Militello plays with bebop clarity in melodic Johnny Hodges proportions, always swinging from smooth as Scotch to machine gun rapid runs of dizzying intrigue. Michael Moore is the master of col-arco bass playing. His solos are picture perfect. He brings the sold out shows audience to a hush, so caught up in the majesty of this stellar performance, from a base of pure jazz classicism he bows the instrument, caressing the full chords and sending them off to float among the ambiance, embracing the crowd in comforting sonic resolution.

Dave Brubeck’s son Matt, an accomplished cellist was introduced and came on stage for the final three numbers. The senior Brubeck explains to the audience that his son has finally settled in Toronto and is teaching locally, he goes on to say, "Matt is first going to play "Sermon On The Mount" the way I taught him, on the next verse he plays it his way, I have set him free." Matt Brubeck played beautifully. His father leaned back - supported by a back rest, gazing, smiling, pride radiating in glowing rays, he took it all in and seemingly admired his good work.

The quartet, plus one, (Matt Brubeck) concluded the show with the Paul Desmond classic "Take Five". Militello played the song close to the original, adding his own style to the phrasing, he blew smooth and hard. The band also played another classic "Three To Get Ready" from Time Out (1959 Columbia Records) an album recorded on this same day, 50 years earlier.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dave Brubeck
  • Concert Date: 7/1/2009
  • Subtitle: The Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • Venue: Nathan Philips Square
  • City State Country: Toronto
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