GUELPH POLITICAST #93 – Scott Thomson, Guelph Jazz Festival Artistic Director

September is coming, and everything will get back to normal. Then again September starts with one of the biggest cultural events of the year: the Guelph Jazz Festival. Now in its 23rd year, the Jazz Fest is getting ready again to fill the downtown core with the finest improvised and creative music from across Canada and around the globe, but this year, things might sound a little bit different.

This week on the Guelph Politicast, I’m joined by Scott Thomson, the new artistic director of the Jazz Festival. 2017 is his first time programming the five-day line-up, following in the footsteps of Ajay Heble who was the founding artistic director of the festival. Those are some big shoes to fill considering the Jazz Fest’s reputation locally and globally as a stage for the best, most eclectic jazz you can hear in any one place.

Thomson is a musician by trade. He plays the trombone, and that brass has put him in contact with a lot of great Canadian and international musicians over the years including Lori Freedman, William Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, Han Bennink and Anthony Braxton. He’s one of the founders of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, or AIM, which was formed to support performance opportunities, education, and outreach within the creative and improvised music scene, and he was the founder and director of Somewhere There, an influential venue for innovative jazz. So he’s got the right background, and on top of that, he’s a proud Gryphon from the class of ’94.

So on this week’s podcast, Thomson and I talk about how he got from his days at CFRU and the U of G to becoming the artistic head of the Guelph Jazz Festival. We also talk about his musical experience, what the job of artistic director means, and how he plans to set himself, and the festival, apart from what’s come before under Heble. We also talk about how to get into the Jazz Festival as a jazz novice, and what he’s looking forward to with this year’s festival.

So let’s see what the jazz is all about with this week’s Guelph Politicast!

The Guelph Jazz Festival takes place from September 13 to 17. You can find schedules, artist information, and Thomson’s podcast about the festival over at the Jazz Fest website by clicking here.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

Photo Credit: Frank Rubolino 

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