A Visual Recap of the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival
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A Visual Recap of the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival

Some photos from the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival.

Steve Martin took the stage at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday night and told the crowd that it’s been a long-time dream of his to play the Toronto Jazz Festival. “Tonight,” he said, “I feel I am one step closer to that goal.” Before ripping into a program of kick-ass bluegrass music with The Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell, he joked that Chick Corea (the famed jazz pianist) was playing at Little Jimmy’s Lizard Link in North Dakota and they were here, at a jazz festival. Funny, yes, but also an insight that’s not lost on jazz fans. Can you really still call an event a jazz festival when the headliners are almost all non-jazz artists? Have jazz festivals the world over evolved into “grown folks music” festivals? If that’s the case—and evidence has been mounting in favour of this theory every year—then the Toronto Jazz Festival does a nice job bringing a balance of genres to the table while still providing lots of great jazz and lots of opportunities for local artists to strut their stuff.

This year, there were fantastic big-band concerts from the likes of Hilario Durán. Also excellent was Jazz Fest Artistic Director Josh Grossman, who, with the Toronto Jazz Orchestra, paid tribute to the great Phil Nimmons. Fred Hersch’s evening of solo piano at the Enwave Theatre was a revelation, and Dr. Lonnie Smith practically blew the roof off the Horseshoe Tavern.

Here, in pictures, are some highlights from the fest, which ended on Monday. Click through the image gallery for a look.

Below, a few of our takeaways from this year’s festivities.

Best new artist: The Slocan Ramblers, who opened for Steve Martin on Saturday night.

Most disappointing headliner: Smokey Robinson, for failure to be heard outside the tent at Nathan Phillips Square.

Biggest recommendation for next year: Jazz Fest organizers: if you’re going to throw an awesome free concert with a big name like Smokey Robinson, it would be great if the thousands of people not lucky enough to fit in the tent could hear the music as well.

Photos by Tracey Nolan/Torontoist.