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Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland in Toronto

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Tuesday June 30, 2015

At a time when so many so-called blues and jazz festivals rarely feature artists in those genres, it’s been refreshing to see the Toronto Jazz Festival return somewhat to its genre roots this year. For local lovers of contemporary jazz, the grouping of Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland appealed as a potential TJF highlight. That it certainly was.

The fiercely talented foursome have yet to come up with a group moniker, and the songs they performed were not named either. Saxophonist Potter introduced the set by stating, “We are going to play some songs we have written together. We hope you enjoy them.”

In the 90-minute (pre-encore) set, just four anonymous compositions were played. Each one took the listener on a long but always fascinating journey. To these ears, a lyrical ballad (song number three) was the night’s highlight, as it featured a sweet and slightly Caribbean-accented lilt to the melody, a mite reminiscent of “Don’t Stop The Carnival.”

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