The 21st Annual Beaches International Jazz Festival held a press conference today to announce their line-up of events for July 17–26. The street festival and mainstage concerts in Kew Gardens are their usual robust selves with an eclectic roster of mostly local talent such as Rich Brown with his fusion group Rinse the Algorithm, blues belter Shakura S’aida, and the added international draw of Southern Rocker Jimmy Hall and Barbadian R&B singer Hal Linton.

Newer additions to the festival are the Woodbine Park events July 17–19 and the Workshop and Lecture Series sponsored by those patrons of jazz, TD Canada Trust. Running from July 20–25, the workshops will be led by a who’s who of Toronto educators and performers like vocalist Heather Bambrick, trumpeter Chase Sanborn and guitar guru Michael Occhipinti. The full lowdown is at

The TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival starts this week and runs until July 5, with the big top at Nathan Phillips Square once again at the hub. Despite the strike by city workers, it is business as usual for the festival as they promise that none of the 350 performances will be affected. The celebration starts with a big dose of Soul, Gospel and R&B on Friday June 29, as Soul Stew gives a free concert at 5 p.m., then Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings take over at 8 p.m. Get out your neck braces for this one.

- DSCN0527Cathy Riches

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