Sunday, July 19, 2009

Motown and Beaches Jazz Festival

So what does Motown have to do with the Jazz Fest?

Not too much except I will hear R&B at the Jazz Fest. The last half of the post talks about the Beaches Jazz Festival so I will say more about it later in this blog - but suffice for now to say it is not a purists Jazz Festival.

What did prompt me to include the word Motown in the title was that I got to listen to Randy Bachman's CBC Radio program on Saturday night. In it he focused on Motown Records and the unique sound of the R&B musicians who recorded for this recording studio in the 60s and 70s. I had forgotten how much I liked these tunes and of course the drive down memory lane brought many smiles as I relived my teenage and early 20s years, which was in the haydays of Motown.

I am not sure which of the Motown songs are my favourites as there are just so many good ones. Here are three of the better known ones which top the charts in my book.

Let's Get it on!

The first video is a great recording of Marvin Gaye singing one of the all time classics "Let's Get It On". It was originally released in 1973 and the explicit sexual content earned Marvin a sex icon status - well deserved as you view his performance, I dare say! This video was recorded live in Montreux in 1980.

As I recall this song was a slow dance favourite of mine when dancing with the heart throb of the moment in my late teens/early 20s. At this point, my "Hippy years" were done with and I was moving into R&B, Soul and Funk and this one is a classic. Having chopped my long blond hair short and paying big bucks to turn my hair into a stylish afro, I transistioned from the 60s and sailed through the 70's. While I danced the decade away, little did I know that the 80s would sheppard me into my decade of childbirth. LOL

My Gal

I like the next song a lot and go back to humming it year after year when I am in a good mood - it is another one of my Summer Good times songs from the oldies but goodies list. While originally written for the Temptations to record, it was actually written by Smokey Robinson and Robin White of the Miracles, another Motown favourite.

When the Temptations first came out with this song in 1964, I was just 10 years old, so I suspect I must be remembering the Stevie Wonder cover of the original which was probably more the right time frame. Of course "My Girl" has been covered by all sorts of artists and is a Motown classic.

This version has been digitally enhanced and so is really great to watch. The choreographed synchronized dance movements, classic of 60s R&B is so fun to watch. I have recollections of watching The Temptations on the Ed Sullivan show when I was a young girl.

My Guy

Lastly, I feel obliged to include the answer song, "My Guy", also released in 1964 by Mary Wells. It too was composed by Smokey Robinson and has been covered by many R&B greats, including the Supremes.

This is a great song for gals of any age who are in love to have in heart and hum when skipping down the street with music in their hearts, if not actually enabled with an iPod plugged into your ears. I say this because I often find myself when walking down the street listening to music actually skipping along (and heaven forbid) actually singing along to the music if it matches my mood.

The 2009 Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival

Listening to all these Motown tunes is getting me into mood for the 21st Annual Beaches Jazz Festival which runs from this weekend through next. This weekend there were several free concerts in the park, but the feature attraction in my mind is next week when they close a length of Queen Street for a few kilometers for Streetfest, which runs Thursday through Saturday. In each of those nights there will be 50 or so Jazz/Blues and other some such styles of music in this 2 kilometer stretch. It will be a musical smorgasbord and I try and get out on the Thursday of the 3 nights. On Friday and Saturday nights the crowds are usually so tightly packed you have to really elbow to get in close enough to see any of the bands.

I did catch one of the concerts at Woodbine Park this weekend, but I must admit the weather was not so great this weekend here in Toronto, so I did not hang for long. I hope the weather is hot and dry on Thursday night for (IMO) the real treat of the festival. Go here to learn more about the Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival. and go here to see the impressive line up of bands. This snap shows the StreetFest in a previous year. As you can see there is quite a crowd!

From the website:
StreetFest is a Beaches International Jazz Festival original event showcasing the finest in Big Band, Swing, Dixieland, Smooth, Post-Bop, Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Funk, R&B and Soul sounds that Canada has to offer.
I am not really into big band and the other older styles of jazz but am quite into all the others and anything with jazz roots. I love blues in all its forms - and they seem to sneak in a bit of blues in this so called Jazz Fest. The nice thing about the Beaches Street Festival is that just about every musical genre in the jazz, blues and anything even remotely reminiscent of these genres is represented at one point or another along the street of bands.

The best thing about this Jazz Festival is that it is all free!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails