Get ready to groove

[attach]6119[/attach]If Chicago can samba, why not Toronto?

The first-ever Pan American Latin Jazz festival is bringing samba to North York this summer.

The festival, organized by the Hispanic Canadian Arts and Culture Association, will feature artists like Hilario Duran, a two-time Juno award winner; Laura Fernandez, who also hosts the CafĂ© Latino program on Jazz FM 91.1; and Rob Tardik, winner of 2010’s guitarist of the year award at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.

Festival artistic director Carlos Bastidas says he was inspired to create it after going to the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival in 2010.

“Other major cities in the world have similar festivals,” he said. “So if Chicago can do it, why can’t Toronto?

“Our main goal is to highlight Hispanic culture and music in the GTA,” said Bastidas, who will also be performing at the festival. “We would like to lead the pack for other Latin music festivals.”

The Pan American Latin Jazz Festival will take place on July 14 from 1 to 10 p.m. at Mel Lastman Square. Admission is free.