Two of the 2017 Juried Showcase Artists have been featured in "Best Of" lists. Battle of Santiago was named in The Guardian's "Hidden gems of 2017: great albums you may have missed," while The Westerlies took a spot in Slate's "Best Jazz Albums of 2017". Read more below.
Battle of Santiago: La Migra
(Made With Pencil Crayons)
There is no shortage of brass-heavy world fusion bands, but on their third album this Toronto collective conjure up a distinctive hybrid of Afrobeat, salsa and funk. The Santería-style chants of Aguanileo and Barasu-Ayo attest to Toronto’s large Cuban community, while elsewhere the band explore dub on the clattering Cimarron, show off skilful hard bop sax and African balafon, and squeeze in electronica and stratospheric guitar on Rumba Libre. The album title refers to the feared border cops whom the band clearly hope to vanquish if they play hard enough.
Dave Douglas & the Westerlies, Little Giant Still Life
The trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas teams up with the Westerlies, a versatile brass quartet (accompanied by drummer Anwar Marshall) to make music inspired by the American painter Stuart Davis, who was inspired by equal parts Cubism and swing jazz (“I like the explosive nature of Davis’ work,” Douglas says, “bright colors, big shapes, images bouncing off each other”), and somehow it works. The five horn parts (three trumpets, two trombones) bring out Douglas’ flair for harmonic hues. It’s almost like chamber jazz, but lively and brash.