John Devenish fills the dinner hour with sweet, sweet jazz

ABOVE:’s Dinner Jazz host John Devenish. (Photo:Fred Rutherford Photography)

If you’re a jazz lover, then you’ve got to tune your browser to, Canada’s only 24/7 station dedicated to that most marvellous of musical genres. And, if a serving of excellent programming that suits a fine evening suits you, then Dinner Jazz hosted by John Devenish should be on your nightly menu.

John Devenish is a musician and actor with professional experience on stage, in film, on television and on the radio. He was an Ottawa resident during his student years at Canterbury High School, where he was valedictorian of his graduating class in 1981. John pursued four years on scholarship at the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec in Hull and also obtained a degree in musicology from Carleton University. Add to those music certificates from Trinity Laban and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and JD is one DJ who knows his stuff!

It’s not every accomplished musician who can take to the airwaves. John attended acting workshops under George Luscombe at Toronto Workshop Productions and has plenty of experience doing voice work for podcasts, films and other media. No wonder his full-bodied baritone and friendly style make him a knowledgeable and entertaining guest at your dinner table. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear the clinking of glasses between the lovely tunes he spins.

Even if you’re not currently a jazz aficionado, Dinner Jazz is an excellent accompaniment to an evening at home, and a great introduction to a living musical art rich in repertoire and possibilities. I recently had the great pleasure of attending some events emceed by John at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

TO Jazz is situated smack-dab in the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood. Whether it’s under a shady oak on Charles West, the big boulevard venue at the ROM, or virtuosically wafting across patios on Cumberland, this is a festival that’s urban resonant. Photographer Fred Rutherford captures what John Coltrane called “the tension of the experience, that electricity, that kind of feeling that is a lift sort of feeling” that great musicians convey to an audience.

ABOVE: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Toronto Mass Choir; Jully Black, and Braxton Cook. (Photos: Fred Rutherford Photography)

Thanks to the Chelsea Hotel Toronto on Gerrard Street West for its hospitality. The Chelsea offers bright, spacious accommodations, plenty of dining, fitness, and family-fun options, tons of secure underground parking, and its ‘Show Your Key and Save’ program provides discounts to many of Toronto’s top attractions.

Photos: Fred Rutherford Photography