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TORONTO FESTIVAL TAKES ITS LEAD FROM JAZZ CLUBS

Sara

SOME YEARS AGO, few could conceive of jazz festivals as centers for the music's activity. Born with blatantly commercial ambition, the first festivals may have brought together the best performers in the music, but not always under the best circumstances.

The musicians rarely played at their highest level (a notable exception was the Ellington band at Newport in 1956). Instead, the after-hours jam sessions -- and, to a lesser extent, recording sessions -- were tide pools for the music's creativity. Festivals, on the other hand, suffered from the simple logistics necessary to bring so many performers (and don't forget the audience) together in such a concentrated space and time.…