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Full Toronto Jazz Festival announced: More rhythm, less jazz

Mavis Staples will play the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival with Dr. John.

Chris Strong

Having already announced a "marquee concert" line-up heavy on R&B and pop jazz, the rest of the Toronto Jazz Festival schedule for 2013 was revealed Wednesday, and the overall drift is: More rhythm, less jazz than in years past.

In addition to the likes of Mavis Stapes with Dr. John, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings with James Hunter, and Boz Scaggs at the Nathan Phillips Square main stage, the festival will also host the jazz/rap duo the Herbaliser (at the Great Hall); James Cotton, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and the Robert Glasper Experiment (all at the Horseshoe Tavern).

There will be a bit of country, courtesy of festival opener Willie Nelson, and bluegrass from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and also a dash of international flavour, thanks to Italian singer/songwriter Pino Daniele, Cape Verdean singer Carmen Souza, and Japanese trumpeter Chihiro Yamazaki.

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Or course, there will still be jazz, with a strong emphasis on singers and pianists. Among the former are such festival veterans as Nikki Yanofsky, Roberta Gambarini and Ranee Lee; the list of pianists includes Fred Hersch, Gregory Porter (both at the Enwave Theatre), Bill Charlap and Geoffrey Keezer (both at the Jazz Bistro), and Jason Moran doing a Fats Waller tribute at the Horseshoe. Eliane Elias, a standout pianist and singer, will be at the Old Mill.

Although the festival is not continuing the avant-garde heavy "incubator" series, it will be expanding its lineup of free shows. In fact, all the concerts on Friday, June 21 are free. This includes the Martha Reeves/Smokey Robinson show at Nathan Phillips Square, Mary Margaret O'Hara at the Musideum, Molly Johnson at the Jazz Bistro, and Don Byron with Michael Occhipinti at the Rex.

The festival opens on June 20, and runs through June 30.

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