Toronto Jazz Festival 2011

The Players

Performance images for 2011 Toronto Jazz Festival. With an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, urban, and world music the Toronto Jazz Festival has taken a decidedly broader perspective of what fits under the banner of jazz festival. Much has to do with economics and dwindling list of veteran draws. It`s about survival and competition for a weak dollar. Past the bottom line the fact remains - there is no shortage of talent out there.

Each season I photograph a series of jazz festivals. The past five years I've been staff photographer for the Toronto Jazz Festival. This is a collection of images of live performances from 2011. Both Kristine King and I are following in the foot steps of our mentor - the late Paul Hoeffler. For years Paul captured the best of jazz festivals dating back to Newport in 1959. 200 of Paul`s images were displayed in Ken Burn`s `Jazz`. I spent many hours studying Paul`s unreal volume of classic images at his house. Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington all stared back at us in deep rich blacks and subtle greys. Paul was a master printer who spent hours in a tiny basement room absent ventilation.The toxic chemicals are what is speculated took his life to soon. Paul knew music and every player and generously shared his deep knowledge of photography with us. He was also a performer who preferred sharing stage with an artist. This is a no - no today but when Paul lifted his camera everyone held their breath expecting another memorable moment would be forever stilled in time.

Kristine and I are working with the situation at hand. Access is better than ever and the number of lens jockeys on hand - within reason. Count Basie Band offered me a glimpse into Paul's past. Guys with multiple horns in suits and fine hats all having the good hang before downbeat - casual and friendly. Forty year veteran of Basie band - John Williams asked me 'Whatever happened to that guy who would hang around with his camera and talk jazz with me everytime I came to Toronto." That would be Paul!

Bill King

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Bill King