“For the fourth consecutive year, the Home Smith Bar’s ‘Festival Within The Festival’ was one of the runaway hits of the 10-day TD Toronto Jazz Festival annual extravaganza, with tickets for all four concerts in the Home Smith Series sold out well ahead of the first performance.

Once again produced by veteran Toronto event manager Fay Olson who has held responsibility for jazz project development and performer booking at the Old Mill Toronto for nearly a decade, the 2015 Home Smith Bar ‘Festival Within The Festival’ fielded another four-night spectacular, offering music lovers the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with vocal royalty Heather Bambrick and Jackie Richardson, trombone giant and music director Russ Little’s all-star Quartet (Tom Szczesniak on piano, Scott Alexander on bass, Brian Barlow on drums), and guesting music luminaries who joined the stellar troupe in an all-new show nightly.

Ultimate entertainer Heather Bambrick — multiple award-winning vocalist, highly-rated JAZZ.FM91 on-air host, and one-third of the smash hit ‘Broadsway’ ensemble — got things off to a sizzling start June 19 with musical BFF Amy Cervini in from New York to add her vocal superiority to the series launch.  Juno-nominated songstress Amy McConnell joined the featured guest line-up for another unforgettable performance June 20. 

 

Canada’s reigning queen of jazz, blues, and gospel Jackie Richardson‘s spellbinding musical talent, her dynamic personality, and, of course, some of her own multi-talented musical compatriots climaxed the closing weekend of the ‘Festival Within The Festival’. Affectionately known as ‘The Girls’ over decades at the forefront of the Toronto studio and broadcast scene, Colina Phillips and Sharon Lee Williams tore it up June 26.   Former member of ‘The Nylons’ and award-winning recording artist/composer Micah Barnes wrapped it all up in memorable style June 27. 

While the ‘Festival Within The Festival’ may be over for another year, the ‘Year ‘Round Jazz Festival’ at the Home Smith Bar continues non-stop, 52 weeks a year, presenting the best of the best jazz singers and instrumentalists on today’s jazz scene in the charming intimacy of the Home Smith Bar.  And in the meantime, stay tuned for the Toronto Downtown Jazz Society’s announcement of plans for the 30th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival in June of 2016.  You can be sure planning for the Home Smith Bar’s role in this important international jazz showpiece won’t be far behind.

Photo Credit Don Vickery