Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jazz in the basement of U of T

Where it belongs....or words to that effect, joked Andrew Downing, bass player extraordinaire, organizer, master of ceremonies and videographer for the Jazz Composition Graduate Students concert last night. The room was reminiscent of a 60's era recording studio complete with fluorescent overhead lighting and soundproof walls...I almost expected Miles to come in and ignore people or be rude to them...whichever came first. I was very impressed with all the pieces which were presented last night by several "Jazzology" um, "graduates". Ben Dietschi rounded up some strings for his composition - 2 violins and a cellist. Heather Segger was very comfortable in the conducting role of her fellow students and her husband Mark Segger not only ably provided drum/percussion support for most performances he also presented 2 lovely trio outings himself. Other composers included trombonists Robin Jessome ( an admitted Carla Bley fan) and Steve Ward who has a regular Saturday night gig with his Pocket Quintet at Tequila Bookworm as well as programming acts there. Finally, Tom Van Seters, who is a future guest had 2 short pieces, as he described them one of which was a beautiful, untitled "lament" which reminded me of the constant flow of waves crashing on the shore. Congratulations everyone. Andrew says there will be another such concert in the spring... Please listen to Jazz FM at 9 p.m. tonight for Ben McConchie's "Jazzology". Ben is a charming young trumpet player from B.C. who gives a great much so he helped out Larry Green live during our recent (and very successful) fundraising.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Working on my abundance affirmations....

I am having to think more carefully about what I will go and hear these days...decisions, decisions and of course calling on the universe for funds for jazz and other activities. I am going to try and go to Somewhere There on Dufferin south of Queen tomorrow night at 8 for "Miami Rice" ...Steve Ward (trombone), Andrew Downing (bass) and Dan Gaucher on drums.. Wednesday I am torn between the Graduate Jazz Composition Concert at U of T (former and upcoming "Jazzology" guests) in Geiger Torel Room, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the Humber Student showcase at Humber on Lakeshore...same deal. Thursday TVA AGM...with food enticement (that's Toronto Vegetarian Association). Friday....TBA... Weekend - Daniel Jamieson back in town from NYC at the Pilot in Yorkville at 3:30 and at Trane on Sunday night... Will report later...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, I am a wimp in winter...

This lovely image of balloons is from last night's "newmindspace" event at U of T - Night Lights higher than the CN tower...these balloons were being inflated around 7 p.m.

Unfortunately, other than receiving a glowstick and milling about watching other people do things an hour was about all I was interested in as it was -8 degrees C (or possibly -13 with windchill). Needless to say I will have to update you as to what transpired up to 3 hours later when LED lights were attached and the balloons were aloft...I did give it the old college try..

It makes me feel unCanadian though especially since I spent many times outdoors in -30 or more in Alberta!! (Yes, but at least it's a dry cold, as we say on the Prairies :))

A tiny spider outside the condo window this afternoon put me to shame...still alive and moving, albeit sluggish....power to the arachnids!

I am reading Barbara Walter's "Audition" which is fascinating...hard to believe arguably the most famous interviewer on the planet is a self confessed introvert. Comforting...

HopefullyI will be out jazzing this week or I may have to change the name of this blog...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lights higher than the CN tower....

Will try and go help out with this art installation at U of T campus tonight...with LED lights....should be fun...I'll let you know. Love the concepts they come up with: pillow fights, bubble blowing etc. After I may pop by Tequila Bookworm to hear the Pocket Quintet (and warm up after all that outdoorsy stuff).... check out the website and make a donation to keep these fun, free events going...we need more spontaniety, creativity and joy in all our lives!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Have an off tempo day

Hello all, Today is a day I would appreciate some love or positive feedback about the blog as I am feeling taken for granted otherwise in my life. Feel free to comment on any posting you see here. Thanks! Joy, peace and happiness to you all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Magical Evening at the Old Mill

Truthfully, I wasn't certain what an entire evening with Welsh vocalist/pianist on the basis of two numbers he performed at this year's Jazz Lives, even though said numbers were very compelling...points for a Joni Mitchell tune and one of my favourites "A Case of You". How can you not love a man who records an entire album of Joni Mitchell tunes?
Although he does come highly recommended as Jazz Vocalist of the the Year at the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards in Britain and by Larry Green (and my boss knows his stuff)...
I had listened to a couple of tracks from his latest album "Lifejacket" and was not completely won over, but knowing some people are a much better live experience than recorded I gave it a go. My doubts were quickly dispelled when he took the stage and won over the audience with his great rapport and quick wit. He commented about the Christmasy feel with 2 large decorated trees on either side and quoted "It's coming on Christmas and they're cutting down trees ("River" for those non Joni fans) . He weaved that tune together with "A Case of You" asking if there was anyone in the audience who had ever loved someone inappropriate :)
Imagine an audience chiming in to "Makin Whopee" and Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" da doo doo doo doo... There were great anecdotes about not getting cast in "Guys and Dolls" but doing "Jerry Springer- the musical".
At one point he provided delightful impersonations of Sarah Vaughn and Johnny Matthis as well as performing some of his own wonderful compositions "42" (and what a great age it is/was) and "I Want to Live in Paris".....ah, don't we all!
The biggest highlights for me were a heartwrenching verions of Shirley Horn's "Here's to Life" and a song by our own Stephen Fearing I don't hear nearly enough "You Have the Most Beguiling Eyes" of the best yearning tunes I've ever heard.
Mr. Shaw pours all his heart and soul into his performance,(his stagecraft is superb) and that's what connects to the audience. He graciously thanked Ross and Denise Porter of Jazz FM, Jaymz Bee, Brad Barker and everyone at the station.
I will be there to hear him when he returns!
P.S. My friend Richard who always seems ahead of the curve musically recommended someone to me Greg Laswell and I have his tune "I Like How the Day Sounds" going through my brain..check it out...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blessings to those in Santa Barbara County

After having just been through this area, I really feel for the residents. Yet another reminder to be thankful for what we've got...and appreciate everything, our experiences and everyone every single day!

One of the beautiful beaches north of Santa Monica en route to Santa Barbara....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sizzling evening at the Rex

First up Nathan Hiltz on guitar, Johnny Griffiths on sax and bass clarinet and Adam Teixiera (again!) :) on drums (he was subbing for Sly Juhas.
A different incarnation than my last sighting of Nathan - original compositions rather than standards, one of which was entitled "Untitled Composition No. 2" and I should have thought to write down the others!
Next up, Roberto Occhipinti's group - it was a record release for his new CD "A Bend in the River" and the place quickly filled up for the 9:30 show.
That's David Vireilles on piano on the left, Roberto introducing the group, Luis Deniz on sax and Dafnis Prieto in from NY on drums.
There were a number of drummers there to hear him...I spied Daniel Barnes, Mark Kelso, Lorie Adi Wolf (a former "Jazzology" guest) and Max Senitt, that's Max's lovely curly hair in front of Luis...
Tunes from the new release included "Umbria" which Robert dedicated to the photographers in the audience, jokingly ( a reference to Keith Jarrett's tantrum at their jazz festival) and "Chamacos" which is a hybrid Spanish/Cuban word meaning "young cats" i.e. his fellow musicians. Great stuff and top notch performances and like everyone else, I found myself being mesmerized by Dafnis Prieto

Monday, November 10, 2008

Justin Gray Project...continued...

All I can say is "Wow"! They get better each time I hear them (Justin and Adam)...
This is a picture of the whole group: Adrean Farrugia on keyboard, Justin on bass, Quinsin Nachoff on sax, Jon Challoner on trumpet and Adam Teixeira on drums (in hiding in this shot)...still figuring out the camera...I guess I should read the instruction booklet?

Here is Adam, with Justin....

Justin with Adrean....

They played a number of originals of Justin's : "Disclaimer" which he wrote after his Humber recital...:) "For Grandma" in honour of his grandmother helping him finance the purchase of his lovely new bass and "Through the Pane"....not about a girlfriend as he joking said but looking out the window at the beauty of the mountains when he was at the Banff Centre.

I am so thrilled to hear these musicians every time, it gives me such joy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Justin Gray Project at Trane tonight...

Will try, try, try to remember to bring my camera so I can have visuals! The sweet and talented Justin Gray (bass) is joined by special guest Quinsin Nachoff, Adrean Farrugia, Adam Teixiera and a cast of thousands...okay maybe 2 or 3 others. The fun starts around 9 at Trane Studio on Bathurst... I may try and catch Mr. Max Sennitt at Gate 403 before as well... Feeling a little bummed today as a temp job opportunity didn't come through...better days....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes to Hope

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that Barack Obama is President Elect. Incredible that so many people chose optimism and positive outlook as the bellweather for these trying times. Congratulations Mr. Obama you deserve it for having a great message and for your integrity, Now, if only we had such hope and pizzazz in our elections! Perhaps if Justin Trudeau follows in his illustrious father's footsteps....? Had tea at the Windsor Arms this afternoon with my dear friend Lorraine. We were both "high" on the U.S. election result. What a lovely civilized experience with our our teapots, light as air scones with cream and jam, lovely little asparagus rolls and cheese tarts as well as petit fours... It almost makes me feel grown up! But as you can see by my profile picture...I do believe in fairies...:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mad about "Mad Men"

Yes, this is a "Mad Men" like outfit which I got a lot of compliments on....there is also a black pencil skirt which is even more "period"...of course, now I am in withdrawal after the last episode of the season aired on Sunday.
I owe the fabulous Lisa Taub for helping me select it at the first sale of hers I went to....I have been thrilled with every purchase!
Feeling much better after my reflexology treatment...which is why I put my faith in so called alternative up...acupuncture and all around wellness...thanks Dr. Woo and Dr. Cindy Lim...
Excited to see the results of the U.S. election..Go Barack!!
On a jazzy note, fall fundraising drive is on at Jazz FM 91...please donate online or keep jazz on the air!! You can also win fabulous prizes and get great thank you gifts...