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Jazz Festivals Move the Music Forward

Holly Cole - 2007 Toronto Jazz Festival Holly Cole - 2007 Toronto Jazz Festival Photo by Morrice Blackwell


Whether you are attending a locally-based concert or a large national production, festivals play an important role in our jazz community. Although often not as intimate as a jazz club, they provide a place for both musician and the listener to come together as one.

When she plays at festivals, jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato feels “a great sense of community,” as there are “so many artists performing together, and so many listeners who all want to have a positive, moving, enjoyable experience with the music.”

Unification of the community is a common thread that weaves our rich musical tapestry.  "Jazz festivals are a great place for people to come together in celebration of the music we love. Festivals are often the only stop on a tour where musicians get to see other touring bands, which can be a great change of pace from the lonely road life. I think the audiences really enjoy being part of the celebration as well. It's a chance for entire communities to get together and enjoy themselves. That much good energy can be palpable...,” said pianist Gerald Clayton.

Live music is important in moving the music forward. “Playing live music reminds people that music is an artistic form of human expression. Without live concerts, people might be convinced that music comes from a box,” said Clayton.

What can you as a fan do to help keep jazz alive?  It’s simple … just simply share your time by attending live music. Your participation is an important ingredient in keeping the jazz festival tradition around for generations to come.

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