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"The Doc" Award is a competition for young jazz students
in a bonafide scholastic program.
The second annual "Doc Award" will run again
as part of "the Taste of the Kingsway" street festival,
running on Bloor St W. from Prince Edward Dr to Montgomery Road.

Friday Sept 8th / Saturday Sept 9th - 5:00 - 9:00pm
Sunday Sept 10th - 2 - 4:00pm.

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Finalist groups will play off at the Etobicoke Jazz Festival main venue, The Crooked Cue, on
Sunday, October 1st from 5 to 9 PM.

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For more info, contact Curtis Smith, curtis@jazzweststudios.ca


Ale Nunez

Ale Nuñez is a 22 year old Canadian vocalist, songwriter and band-leader based in Toronto. She has exploded onto the Jazz scene, where you can see her perform regularly at places like The Jazz Bistro, Drom Taberna and The Emmet Ray in Toronto as well as Manhattans in Guelph, to name a few. Ale loves to share her passion for Jazz and all genres of music in every performance, drawing her audience in, having them hanging on to every note. Her voice is uniquely her own yet reminiscent of artists such as Carmen McRae, Etta Jones, Sarah Vaughan and Julie London. When she is not gigging, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Music Degree at Humber College. She recently won first-place in the 2022 “Doc Awards” as part of the Etobicoke Jazz Festival and recently performed at Humber College’s 50th Anniversary. Ale is excited to be recording original music this year. She is the opening performer at this year's Etobicoke Jazz Festival, on Friday, Sept 29th at 7:30 PM

Laila Biali

Multi award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter, pianist and CBC Music national radio host, Laila Biali has headlined festivals and venues spanning five continents from New York City’s Carnegie Hall to Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, and supported international icon, Sting. Her 2020 album release, Out of Dust, received rave reviews and was nominated for a 2021 JUNO Award. Laila was also honoured by SOCAN Music with the Hagood Hardy Award for Excellence in Songwriting. In 2019, Laila’s eponymous release won her a JUNO Award for "Vocal Jazz Album of the Year". Her latest release, Your Requests showcases her arrangements of jazz classics requested by her social media community and features guest vocalists Kurt Elling, Emilie-Claire Barlow, and Caity Gyorgy as well as instrumentalists Anat Cohen, Grégoire Maret, Kelly Jefferson, Michael Davidson, George Koller, Larnell Lewis, Ben Wittman, and Maninho Costa. We are thrilled to have her at this year's Etobicoke Jazz Festival, where she will take the stage on Friday, Sept 29th at 9:00 PM

Queen Pepper (a.k.a. Mary Vanden Enden)

Queen Pepper (a.k.a. Mary Vanden Enden) is the complete package. She is a vocal powerhouse, accomplished song writer and she graces the stage with a spellbinding magnetic pull. Starting to sing at a young age and influenced by the church and gospel music she developed her multi-genre style with the help of studying in the jazz vocal program at Mohawk College and by paying her dues with years of appearances at local Toronto clubs. Prior to Covid she wrote her first original album with the collaboration of musician/writer Dave Antonacci and released a special single, “One Step Closer to Home” with many more to come in the near future. She can often be found playing at the Reservoir Lounge in downtown Toronto. Check her out at QueenPepper.com

This year she plays for us on Friday, Sept 29th, at 10:30 pm, featuring Alison Young on sax.

Lorne Lofsky

Lorne Lofsky is an internationally recognized jazz guitarist. Born and raised in Toronto, he has been playing professionally for the last 42 years. He has played/toured or recorded with a who’s who of the jazz world, including Oscar Peterson, Ed Bickert, Rob McConnell, Chet Baker, Joey DeFrancesco, Pepper Adams, Ray Brown, Neils Henning Orsted Pederson, Rosemary Clooney, Kirk MacDonald, Dave Holland, and many other respected members of the international jazz community.

In addition, he has been a faculty member at York University’s Fine Arts/Music Program since 1978 and also teaches at the Humber College Community Music Program. Lorne is a mainstay of the Toronto jazz scene and performs extensively in the Greater Toronto Area. He has also given clinics/concerts at St. FX University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal. Mr. Lofsky will be appearing at this years' Etobicoke Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 30th at 7:30 PM

Hilario Duran

Hilario Durán has been based in Toronto for the last two decades but his musical heart and soul remain near to the land of his birth. Hilario was born and raised in Havana, Cuba in a musical family surrounded by a variety of musical influences. Before arriving in Canada he established himself as an international latin jazz pianist working with such giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Michel Legrand and Arturo Sandoval. He is also an acclaimed music writer and recently established a large orchestra that features many other inspired originals. As a result of all his experiences and endeavours he is a multi-JUNO winner and nominee, a Grammy nominee and a winner of countless other accolades.

We are excited to present the Hilario Duran Sextet and its outstanding vocalist, Joanna Tendai Majoko at this year's Etobicoke Jazz Festival. They will be appearing on Saturday, September 30th at 9:00 PM

Pretzel Logic

This inspired musical ensemble was founded by saxophonist/singer, Peter Graham, in 1994. In his own words, "At the nexus of jazz, blues and rock lies Steely Dan, the musician's band. Pretzel Logic is a ten piece band dedicated to the exploration and rendition of the music of Steely Dan. We began as a labour of love and continue as such". This results in the listener getting the complete spectrum of Steely Dan's book. You will say it sounds amazingly like the records but with their own flair. The musicianship is top notch and features not only Peter, but Michael Shotton on vocals, Marco Luciani on keyboards and the famed drummer Paul DeLong, to mention only a few. Closing out the festival on Saturday night, September 30th at 10:30 pm, we are sure that they will rock you. Get ready to sing along!

Highlights from the 2022 Etobicoke Jazz Festival
Sept 30-Oct 2, 2022


Message from the Founder - 2023

A brief history (quoting from the past)

As a musician over the years I have played numerous jazz festivals in and around Toronto and often wondered why we, the great jazz lovers of Etobicoke, did not have a festival of our own. With this inspiration I became and remain committed to bringing the best jazz festival to our community, not only by presenting top notch talent but also by giving the opportunity to younger musicians as well as their educators. They work tirelessly and deserve to perform and display all the talent that our neighbourhood develops. After all we are fortunate to boast the best music programs in the country as well as a massive pool of world class players.

Since our inception in 2015 we have and continue to fulfill all the intentions mentioned above in spite of making it through some difficult times, in particular, the Covid year of 2020 where all live events were shelved. However, we were lucky enough to be able to present a brief showcase in early November 2021, not as complete but at least it was a live event, rather than just virtual.

Last fall, 2022, we ran our first annual “Doc” Award Student Band competition, named after famed pianist, organist and composer, the late Doug Riley, who was affectionately referred to as “Doc”. The competition was held as part of “The Taste of the Kingsway” street festival on Bloor St W in Etobicoke. We had seven different entries who played over the weekend, and the three final groups played off on the Sunday, Oct 2. The prizes were substantial and we would like to thank Elavoe.ca for their financial support. Our new supporters, Footloose Dance Wear and the Sean Boutlilier School of Dance allowed us to use their staging and sound which was a perfect setting for this event. We are very grateful for their help.

This year, we have been contacted by quite a few interested students and we expect an even larger turnout with more competitors and, of course, some great jazz music. Our winning group from last year, Ale Nunez and her Quintet, will open on Friday, September 29th. She will also be featured on our VIP night, Thursday September 28, where she will participate with our Etobicoke Jazz Youth Orchestra, a 17-piece big band led by saxophonist and arranger, Dennis Kwok.

As always I would like to thank the people who continue to make all things happen, starting with my partner Jeff Robbs who heads up Big Story Entertainment along with John Sheridan and Matt Smallwood of Flying Colours. Other important participants include Colleen Noble, Eric Boucher, Miriam Clarke, Marco Riquero, Marshall Boyce, Alessandro Spadini and the many musician friends that are always willing to give of their time and help the cause.

As a PS I would also like to thank a great friend of mine, Judy Johnson who inspired me to start this Festival in the first place and due to health reasons has had to step down. Her spirit is always present.

Thanks to all, and we hope to see many new faces this year!

Curtis Smith, Founder and Artistic Director


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q - If I purchase a ticket online for Friday night or Saturday night General Admission, where do I sit?

A - An Etobicoke Jazz Festival Host will guide you to the General Admission Seating area.

Q - I would like to go to the Friday show only, are there tickets available for one night only?

A – Tickets may be available at the door for the night you want to attend, check availability at the door.

Q - Are the tickets applicable for all 3 performances Friday night.

A – Yes, the general admission tickets includes all performances Friday evening.

Q - Can you order dinner?

A – Yes, The Crooked Cue Full Menu will be available

Q – Is there a merch table where we can by T–shirts or CD’s?

A – Yes, a merch table will be available

Q - Are ticket holders going to be seated at a table?

A – There are tables available as well as seating at the bar. Seating in general will be on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Q - If multiple tickets are purchased under the same name, are we guaranteed to be seated together?

A – There are a limited number of tables available, seating will be on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Any other questions please email Jeff Robbs at jeff.robbs@bigstoryentertainment.ca