Canadian Musician


Hal Rodriguez

Concert Review: Mike Stern Trio at The Horseshoe Tavern

TD Jazz Fest 2015 Mike Stern Kim Thompson at Horseshoe TavernJazz Fusion’s long-standing guitar hero, Mike Stern, returned to Toronto last night with bass wizard, Janek Gwizdala, and esteemed drummer, Kim Thompson on the fifth night of the TD Jazz Festival. The trio delivered a sensational performance at The Horseshoe Tavern playing a set of originals ranging from funky tunes, like “Coupe De Ville”, that showcased their virtuosity to delicate ballads like, “You Never Know”, that enamored the crowd.

TD Jazz Fest 2015 Janek Gwizdala at Horseshoe TavernStern’s compositions were a captivating mix of head bopping vamps, dexterous bebop lines, and world music tinged melodies. Ever the dynamic improviser, he often built his rousing solos from whisper quiet chromatic passages to screaming, overdriven blues climaxes. Threatening to steal the show, was premier bass virtuoso, Gwizdala. The L. A. based musician’s thunderous tone, infallible groove, and wondrous ability to improvise ethereal chord melodies and dazzling phrases left the audience stunned.

TD Jazz Fest 2015 Kim Thompson at The Horseshoe TavernDrummer Kim Thompson also delivered burning solos on her kit, often switching seamlessly from intricate swing rhythms to wall shaking hard rock beats with tireless ferocity at breakneck speeds. For more on these musicians visit,,, and, and visit TD Jazz Festival. (Photos by Hal Rodriguez)

Hal Rodriguez is a Toronto based musician, published writer, and music transcriber who has done work for premier guitarists like Oz Noy and Derryl Gabel. For Skype lessons and transcription services, he can be contacted at You can also follow him on Twitter @halwit, on, and at

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