Last week, Toronto got a taste of Grammy-winning gold with Esperanza Spalding taking the Toronto Star stage at TD Toronto Jazz Fest. The tent was packed with a sold-out show crowd.
The special guest and opener for the night was Gretchen Parlato, who amazed us! We fell in love with her contemporary, soulful jazz. Her voice can only be described as velvet; smooth, sensual, and captivating. We are her newest fans.
Parlato was the perfect opening for Esperanza Spalding, who gave a passionate performance. As much as we enjoyed Esperanza’s bass-playing skills, we couldn’t’ get over the members of her band! Saxophonist Tia Fuller gained MUCH applause as she played through many groove driven solos. In all honesty, you kept your eyes on her, and maybe, you almost forgot about Esperanza who was almost overshadowed by Fuller’s talent. Another stand-out performer was Chris Turner, a back-up vocalist who could take the seat of The King Of R&B! What a voice! The only thing we didn’t enjoy was Esperanza’s monologue/ story telling in between songs. We understand this is a trait of jazz performance, but like us, many audience members just wanted to hear the music and interpret the music in their own way. Overall, Esperanza proved why she deserved that Grammy win! Her talent is sure. Her songwriting and composition talent is solid, and Toronto loves her for it.
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