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Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival Summer Treats

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival, a Welcome Summer Treat.

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival in July 2016.

Eddie Bullen’s reggae smooth jazz stylings at Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival (BIJF).
Photo by Joyce Wilson.

Hats off to Lido Chilelli, founder and executive director of the Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival, who led the fine team of professionals and volunteers who delivered the first Beaches Jazz Salsa Festival over the July 2-3 weekend in Woodbine Park. Well-planned and entertaining, one couldn’t help but have a good time.

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival performer Chantel Collado.

Chantel Collado.

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival salsa dance teacher Miko Sobreira

Miko Sobreira.

First there was the music, nine bands ranging from the energizing drumbeats of T. Dot Batu’s Afro-Brazilian samba reggae sounds to the up-tempo dance rhythms of La Gran Columbia’s 14-piece orchestra and the lively Dominican Bachata singing of  Canadian Chantel Collado, who closed the show.

Then there was the mid-afternoon dancing. Well-known Salsa dance instructor Miko Sobreira invited Festival attendees to join him on a platform in front of the stage to learn some dances Venezuelan-style. “Dancing is a conversation,” he said, and, after the first 30 minutes, encouraged participants to change partners to start new conversations.

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival with Summer Treats.

Everyone appeared to have fun. One couple danced brilliantly. I thought they were professionals, but they said they were not. Their performance was a highlight of the dancing.

Food included such tasty fare as samosas, pineapple and mango smoothies, poutine, roasted corn cobs and yams, chicken shish kabobs, and barbecue.

For those who may have found the weather too warm, there was lots of ice-cold beer. Attendees came from all over the Americas. This was multicultural Toronto at its best.

The following July 8-10 weekend, Chilelli delivered another first – the Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside – at Jimmie Simpson Park. Though smaller than the Salsa Festival, its musical line-up of nine bands plus the JK Pan Vibrations steel band that played at the opposite end of the park was equally entertaining.

Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival Tor All-star Big Band.

Toe-tapping sounds of Toronto All-Star Big Band.

From the toe-tapping sounds of the Toronto All-Star Big Band, which featured an Andrews Sisters-like act, and the catchy grooves of Toronto Street Funk to Kim and Company’s must-dance renditions of classic ‘70s and ‘80s hits and Eddie Bullen’s reggae smooth jazz stylings, listeners were given musical treats daily until dusk.

While there were no food vendors in the park, hungry attendees could choose from the many café’s along Queen Street. The Beaches International Jazz Festival continues this weekend at Woodbine Park with another don’t-miss line-up of artists. Visit www.beachesjazz.com.

W&H | Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival Summer Treats.

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