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Chmstry Sugar Beach Jam Session

JUNE 21: Toronto musician The CHMST hosted a hip-hop jazz freestyle jam at Sugar Beach for his birthday. The free event brought out a considerable crowd, with parkgoers naturally herding towards the music. The CHMST is the founder of Chmstry, a grassroots performance platform and artist collective aimed at putting on the most memorable shows with the most talented musicians across the city. Friday night at Sugar Beach was a testament to this goal, creating some immaculate vibes on the waterfront. 

After two hours of heavy rain during a heatwave, it was a muggy night in the city. The tent where the band was supposed to set up remained empty as people stood around talking. In what seemed like a sudden fashion, the drum machine started playing, and a few seconds later, musicians swarmed the tent, filling the park with jazz. The crowd froze initially, mesmerized by the sounds penetrating through the heavy air, but quickly embraced the moment, directing all their attention to the performance. 

The CHMST played trumpet throughout the night, while other musicians rotated in and out of their respective spots. His duo with Aubrey McGhee on saxophone made for some spectacular two-piece horn sections. Being a jam session, there was no set tracklist for the musicians to play. However, every instrument had its own section to improvise, with the drums and keys standing out. 

MCs and singers took the mic at various moments throughout the night for a mixed bag of performances. Matt Somber was brave enough to go first, warming the crowd up with some simple bars and call-and-response chants. He spun back for a better performance later when the crowd was warm. As the last bits of light disappeared from the sky and nighttime officially set in, phenomenal R&B performances complemented the jazz vibe. Estella Joan turned heads with her stunning vocals and upbeat personality. Her performance featured other young artists whose vocals left the crowd in awe. Toronto-St. Paul MPP ’s powerful voice stirred souls when she took a short but memorable stand on the mic. More rappers closed the night, delivering noteworthy bars, jokes, and vocal inflections. One of these MCs (not sure about his name) used turntable sound effects and a mouth trumpet to have the crowd bumping, distinguishing his performance as the most unique of the show.

Since bylaw starts enforcing noise infractions after 11 PM, the performance stopped then with a heartfelt message for The CHMST. Marijuana smoke occupied the air where the music once had, and people said their goodbyes. Overall, it was a great night and a reminder that community building needs public art and artists to hold that power in their hands.



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The Mosaic:

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02/29/24: 2 Years Since Start of The War in Ukraine

01/25/24: 7 Years Since Quebec Mosque Shooting

01/04/24: Argentina’s New Anarcho-Capitalist President

12/07/23: Canadians in Battle of Hong Kong

11/09/23: NOIR Art Festival Gala

11/02/23: A Day Recognizing Violence Against Journalists 

10/19/23: ParaTranspo Needs

10/05/23: Host

09/14/23: OC Transpo Initiatives

08/17/23: Anti-Nuclear Advocacy and Oppenheimer

08/03/23: Deep-Sea Mining

07/27/23: Healthcare Privatization Panel