William Sperandei in Toronto Downtown Jazz Fest Series

It always happens when a good thing becomes so great, that we forget about the excitement of watching it burst forth. But when heights of creativity are reached and appreciated we then search for the next big bang of excitement. It's here in Toronto in the form of the Quintet Sperandei Ensemble to perform three intimate concerts at some of the Toronto's favourite gathering spots. Is it the humility of William Sperandei that restrains his high profile? One must recognize that we often judge an artist dangerously and cryptically. But when what evolves is a collected mutual admiration and respect amongst a quickly growing list of performers and peers… it is in those moments transcendent that good art evolves into something decidedly Great.

The blessedly trained William Sperandei under the tutelage of one of the most renowned persons in the Jazz World, Ellis Marsalis, leaped to engage two of Harry Connick Jr.'s sidemen alongside Canada's 2005 Mainstream Jazz Juno winner, pianist David Braid.

This soon led to the subtle contrivance of a series of performances organized, produced and funded by their loyal and most dedicated friend, Keita Hopkinson, (brother of Warner published Canadian Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction author, Nalo Hopkinson).

Next thing, as with all great art the dates, times and locations fell into place. Meanwhile this is all taking place at the timely Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival. So there's the peripheral small, rapidly sell out gigs, that add a certain je ne sais qua to the competitive jazz festival, with these smaller gigs honing into the diehard fans who are guaranteed that their lucky impromptu concerts will hold memorably in their hearts.

This is being touted as private underground performances, and like its larger purveyor and with no less spectacular talent, will be the Jazz event not to be missed. It's not often that something of this caliber of talent gets organized sporadically, but due to the mutual passion and love of these Great musicians this will be an everlasting Jazz moment.

It took the respect of internationally acclaimed Jazz greats to make us wake up and listen. The height of flattery is that not only did Harry Connick Jr's sidemen request to perform with the inimitable, Sperandei – they have also turned down potentially lucrative and established New York dates, and absorbed their own travel and accommodation expenses to do so. Now that's truly in the spirit of the culture of Jazz. The early vestiges of experimental musicianship where the artist must perform or be found out! The enthusiasm alone gets one excited to attend these performances.

These Lords of the beat bring a party atmosphere because they are playing in a yard where their childhood innocent fearlessness is unleashed onto the ears of the listening audience.

As with any superior artist these royal men of Jazz perpetuated a self discipline that in its wake, brought universal status and acclaim.

William Sperandei spent years battling pain, the cure of which was extensive, drastic jaw surgery that almost rendered him incapable of tooting his precious instrument. But passion, grit and unearthly love would deliver him once again to that lofty status of Lead Trumpeter, Band Leader, Composer and Arranger. Joining him for the honorable position in the Quintet Sperandei Ensemble will be the incomparable Ned Goold, Harry Connick Jr. saxophonist, featured on Connick’s release “Other Hours” to be found on Branford Marsalis', Marsalis Music label. Having heard an audio clip of Sperandei in performance Goold said that he would willingly drive from New York to Toronto to work with Sperandei.

William and Connick bassist, Neal Caine used to hang together, back in their mischievous "schoolboy days" in New Orleans, where they studied under Marsalis family patriarch, world-renowned pianist Ellis Marsalis. Caine stated recently that Sperandei still is his favorite trumpeter. Vancouver enfant terrible drummer, Morgan Childs has performed gloriously with William on a couple of occasions, and stated that he'd walk the girth of several Provinces to do so again. William and outstanding pianist David Braid have a longstanding admiration of each others profound work, and revel in every rare chance to share stage with each other. This event – the birthing of Quintet Sperandei Ensemble - is not to be missed.

Friday July 1st – Trane Studios – 964 Bathurst St… Toronto (2 blks north of Bathurst Subway). Doors open at 8pm – performance at 9:30pm.

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