[JPL] Toronto's Mr. Jazz

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 27 08:40:57 EDT 2007


Toronto's Mr. Jazz

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 11:30 AM
By: Patricia D'Cunha

Jim Galloway, festival director of the Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival

It's 1964; the British invasion is in its infancy - the Beatles make their
first visit to the U.S., greeted by thousands of screaming teenagers. The
Rolling Stones release their debut album, Motown's Supremes hit the
Billboard chart with their first of five consecutive number one singles,
Simon and Garfunkel bring folk music to the mainstream and Bob Dylan is on
the verge of going electric. On the jazz circuit, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian
jazz are starting to become more popular, arriving on the heels of Be-Bop.

This was a musically ripe year for Jim Galloway, festival director of the
Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival, as well. Upon immigrating to Canada from
Scotland, during the summer, he was strolling along Yonge Street and
ventured into Colonial Tavern - now a historic jazz landmark in Toronto.
³Some of my heroes were on the bandstand,² said Galloway. ³That very first
day I arrived I got into the jazz scene.² He initially played the clarinet,
but three years later, moved onto the tenor saxophone, followed by the
baritone and alto saxophones.

Although Galloway, 70, stirred up the jazz circuit in Scotland; Toronto was
where he left a lasting impression. Without him, there wouldn't be such a
vast and influential jazz festival in the city. He has been running the
festival as its artistic director since its infancy in 1987. Known as Mr.
Jazz in Toronto, Galloway has guided the festival's music vision for 20
years, bringing all types of jazz music to the city. He also contributes to
Wholenote magazine, a music publication in Toronto.

His passion for music, jazz in particular, drives his dedication to bring
jazz to the people. ³Over the years we managed to have every great name in
jazzŠMiles Davies, Stan Getz, Sarah VaughnŠit's been a really interesting
journey,² he said. Other names that graced the festival included Cab
Calloway, Dizzie Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and Dave Brubeck, to name a few.

Although he has a treasure chest filled with fond memories, Galloway
encourages people to see things in which they are not full-heartedly

³One of the nice things is seeing the reaction of an audience to someone who
they don't know,² he said. ³You get a chance to create an awareness among
people who don't know they like this music and realize that it's great fun,²
he added.

As with the improvisational spirit of jazz, Galloway understands that the
music has to evolve, while embracing its roots at the same time, which is
the festival has encompassed every form of the music.

³The early days of jazz, it was relatively simple. Some like traditional
jazz, others Be-Bop, while some liked both. It was like a little parasol,
under which you had all these styles of jazz,² he reflects. ³But now, that
parasol has become a huge golf umbrella because the music has spread so
much. It's become very difficult to define what jazz is now.²

Galloway lives and breathes jazz - from his years on the touring circuit,
musical collaborations, albums, radio show and articles to Wholenote
magazine. To him it's not just a career. ³If you want to be in jazz there
has to be a fire in your belly, something you really want to do,² he

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