Toronto Jazz Festival Day One: SOUL STEW


The first free outdoor show of the 2009 Festival (there was no lunch time show on the first Friday this year) featured Canadian band Soul Stew, anchored by the powerful vocals of Michael Dunston. Soul Stew brings the party with by the book renditions of soul, R&B and funk tunes. By the book, with the exception of special guest Robi Botos on keys. If there is a funkier man in the city of Toronto, I don't know who it is.

The Toronto Jazz Festival has always been better about programming actual jazz music then a lot of other popular and well attended fests like Beaches Festival and the world famous Montreal Festival. While nobody would argue that what Soul Stew does is jazz, if there is a place for this kind of alternate programming it is at the after work series when people are ready to soak up the sun, enjoy a beer and dance their troubles away.

Of particular note was a fun medley of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" and "Sex Machine". Dunston tore the (non existent) roof off the dump and the crowd couldn't get enough. It was a joyful, raucous party to kick off what promises to be a great festival.

For more information on Soul Stew visit their website:

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