McGill band shows its chops at Toronto jazzfest

Published: 1 February 2003

McGill University's Jazz Orchestra I was in fine form at the International Association for Jazz Educators Conference (IAJE) in Toronto in January of 2003. The conference, held outside the United States for the first time in its 30-year history, featured performances by 150 artists from around the world. It has been described as "the equivalent of a major jazz festival."

Jazz Orchestra I performed as part of "Fridays at the ROM" at the Royal Ontario Museum. The Orchestra, directed by Gordon Foote, performed a mix of standards and originals that had Toronto Star music critic Geoff Chapman raving about their "vigorous rhythm section" and "hard-nosed swing." Chapman declared them clearly superior to their University of Toronto rivals, who played in the same session.

McGill alumni came out in force to support the band; spaces for graduates at the ROM performance had to be capped at 200 after an overwhelming response. Interest among the general public was also high; 200 people were already in their seats when the McGill alumni contingent showed up.

With the help of McGill's Ontario Regional Office, the Faculty of Music also treated alumni to a post-performance reception.

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