Jazz In The City II

This past weekend was the Port Credit Jazz and Blues Festival which has also come to be known as the Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle. Interesting but not surprising, since Tim Horton’s is one of, if not the largest, sponsor of the festival.

Unfortunately for me I slept through the Trinity Street Shuffle which took place from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Yes, I was tired so I took an afternoon nap and slept well past my intended wake up time; so no Street Shuffle for me. Apparently this has come become a most anticipated event over the years. Lakeshore Boulevard is shut down for a few blocks to allow bands to play and people to dance to the sweet sounds of jazz in the streets.

Luckily for me the festivities continued on well into the night at Memorial Park so I decided to take myself out to listen to some jazz for a bit. I went with a purpose. By the time I dragged myself down there it was about 8:30pm. I was surprised and pleased to see the amount of people that were still in the park supporting jazz, and couldn’t help thinking, “How awesome it would be if at least one, just one of these stages was dedicated to the anointed sounds of gospel jazz.” I can just see the Dave Boyer band on one of these stages. Can you?

I sauntered past the Catfish and Seafood Shack and made my way down to the Find Your True South Mississippi stage and bumped into a couple of sistas standing proudly and sporting their soft curly afros like crowns. I felt a sense of pride as my own afro crown joined theirs representing … We smiled, said hello and continued on our way like ships passing in the night. I found the stage but didn’t stick around long enough to find my true south in Mississippi.

The gentleman on stage who calls himself The Sauce Boss had me a little edgy. He was creatively dressed as a chef, and for props, had a big pot of gumbo soup cooking on stage. It’s just not the South without the Gumbo, is it? But how’s that for unique? I will hand it to him though – he knows how to play guitar, that’s what peaked my interest so I stayed and listened to him for a few minutes. I would definitely like to learn to play guitar like him one day – minus the crazy. I want to play under the anointing. A few short minutes later I took my throbbing temples and got outta there to seek solace at another stage which was hopefully playing real jazz. Or I should say something more to my taste.

The soothing sound of smooth jazz drew me to the Heath and Sherwood stage where David Vest was playing one of the loveliest contemporary jazz tunes I ever heard. Unfortunately I heard it when it was almost done but he followed that with some cool St. Louis blues that had singles and couples alike swaying to the rhythm. During his performance he paid homage to our recently deceased home-grown jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson. How’s that for class? He acknowledged dear Oscar as one of the best musicians from one of the best cities in the world. Ahem…I concur. He wouldn’t be a proper Canadian Artiste if he didn’t throw in a little Bluegrass music into his performance. His selection for this had me amused and pleased simultaneously.

“Satan your kingdom must come down (Repeat)
I hear the voice of Jesus say
Satan your kingdom must come down
Can’t have no haters in my world (Repeat)
I read my bible and it says
Can’t have no haters in my world.
Satan your kingdom must come down….”

I was pleased because of the gospel element but amused that he was singing it. My last thought before leaving that stage was “I sure hope you got the Holy Ghost to protect you, singing a song like that.” But I think we know the answer to that.

As I left the park the Afro crowns converged again. By this time mine was slinking away from the humidity in the air and the added moisture coming off the lake, and clinging very tightly to my scalp. The other sistas’ crowns were still looking upright and chic – I realize then that they were wearing wigs. I silently cried foul, but still I smiled at them again (no haters…) said goodnight and went our separate ways.

Mission accomplished, I got in my car and drove home thinking,” I have a dream…”

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