Toronto Raptors coach and noted jazz aficionado Nick Nurse will make a special guest appearance on stage at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.
Nurse will be performing alongside The New Power Generation — Prince’s backing band from 1990 to 2013 — on the TD Main Stage on Sunday, June 26, during the festival’s opening weekend.
Nurse has been the head coach of the Raptors since 2018, leading the team to its first NBA Championship the following year.
Meanwhile, he runs the Nick Nurse Foundation, which supports programs dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults through music, sports and literacy.
He’s also known to be a dedicated music fan and an aspiring musician who has previously performed in Toronto with the rock group Arkells. Nurse is a huge fan of Norah Jones and Thelonious Monk, and the latter’s music has even made its way into his game strategy.
“It made sense to me to look at my offense as a little bit like a jazz man,” he told Tom Power in an interview on CBC’s Q. “I certainly have some structure and a group of players trying to perform the common, you know, song or common goal, ‘Let’s get a basket,’ right. But in the middle of that, I want to see some spectacular improvisation.”
Nurse has made his admiration of Prince well-known; in his book published in 2020, he mentions that Purple Rain was the first song he learned how to play on the piano, and it’s still the song he plays most frequently.
Celebrating its 35th year, the TD Toronto Jazz Fest will present 10 days of free outdoor programming from June 24 to July 3.
This year’s lineup features international performers including Smokey Robinson, Gregory Porter, GoGo Penguin, Amber Mark and Kamaal Williams. The other headlining acts include Michael Kaeshammer, TOBi, DijahSB, Savannah Ré and the Cory Henry Trio.
The New Power Generation‘s performances of the music of Prince include some of the most iconic chart-topping hits from all eras of the artist’s illustrious four-decade career.
The New Power Generation featuring special guest Nick Nurse will take the stage on Sunday, June 26, at 8:45 p.m. at the TD Main Stage at the corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road. The performance is free to attend.