Legendary supergroup, KC and The Sunshine Band will kickoff the festivities with a free concert when the TD Toronto Jazz Festival launches its 30th edition on Friday, June 24 at Nathan Phillips Square. With official DJ and hosting duties by Canada’s hip-hop ambassador Kardinal Offishall, opening night will also feature the Heavyweights Brass Band and a special performance that will have a Swing vs. Street dance-off like Toronto has never seen before!
With a string of feel-good hits including “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” “Get Down Tonight” and “Boogie Shoes,” KC and The Sunshine Band helped define the dance music era during the 70s. Remaining wildly popular for the last 40 years, they have sold over 100 million records worldwide, won three Grammy Awards and have had their music featured in over 200 major motion picture soundtracks.
Passionately repping Toronto and bringing it to the mainstream masses since the late 1990s and early 2000s, Kardinal Offishall has been dubbed by Billboard Magazine as “the best-kept secret in Canadian hip-hop.” The performer turned producer, entertainer, and businessman, adds a new title to his repertoire – dropping sick beats as a DJ that will continue to crown himself as one of Canada’s top musical tastemakers to trek the international market.
The evening gets underway with the Heavyweights Brass Band, one of Toronto’s finest brass ensembles. Inspired by the New Orleans brass band traditions, they keep one foot firmly planted in the rich legacy of jazz while one foot steps forward into the future. Packing a one-two punch of crossover appeal and respect from music’s elite, the Heavyweights “put the fun in funky to connect with fans” (Errol Nazareth, Toronto Sun). Joining the Heavyweights will be Jay Douglas – a key component of the Jamaica-to-Toronto musical movement – for an infusion of Caribbean soul.
Contemporary street dancers pop, lock and break it down and vintage swing dancers, lindy, charleston and jitterbug in a friendly dance battle. Curated by Judi Lopez, founder of Toronto b-girl initiative, Keep Rockin’ You, We came to get down: Swing vs. Street is a unique dance-off, the likes of which Toronto has never seen! With live music provided by Tim Shia and the Worst Pop Band Ever, dancers from the Street and Swing communities showcase their respective styles and then trade-off, mixing up their choreography to match the other’s genre of music, highlighting the similarities but differences of dance styles that uniquely glorify creativity, culture and era.
** Please Note **
Wristbands will be distributed at 4 p.m. on the east side of Nathan Phillips Square for entry into the KC and The Sunshine Band show on the Toronto Star Stage inside the tent. One wristband per person.
Heavyweights Brass Band and Swing vs. Street will be performed on the Outdoor Stage – no wristbands are required for those performances.