Thursday, January 29, 2009

Easy as pie?

I made an apple pie today...because I'm going to visit my dad tomorrow and he loves them. I used the "Joy of Vegan Baking" recipe...which is great and very detailed so, if you have never baked a pie before, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau walks you through everything.
Most important...chilling the ingredients for the crust and not overworking the pastry.
Needless to say it smells heavenly in here!
Tonight on "Jazzology" is Alan Zemaitis a charming pianist from York University at 9 p.m. on 91.1..."always a learning experience".
The taping today was with another York student, bassist Andrew Pacheco who happens to be a good friend of Alan. Andrew is also very cute, if I can say that...:) Andrew's taping will air on February 5th.
Not sure if I will fit in any jazz over the next few days - remains to be seen. I will keep you posted. I had a workout walking through the snow walking on the beach minus the ocean. When I'm walking through the snow mixed with sand/salt I always think it looks like brown I food obsessed.
Confession: haven't been completely raw this week...a few days of vegan lasagna as dinner..I will make a more valiant attempt to get back on track...:)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hey Fat Choy...I hope I'm phonetically pronouncing that correctly...

Happy Year of the Ox....

I myself am a Tiger hoping for a roaring year...:)

Photo courtesy of

So many amazing images on there!

Still cold in Toronto...hopefully the temperature is going up this week.

Today Pilates and laundry...ah the glamourous life of a jazz goddess!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reading and enjoying the sun

Yes, it's really cold today...however with the sun streaming in the's feels like summer..:) I made some Mediterranean Dolmas last night from Ani Phyo's books....I had to restrain myself from eating I am going off the wagon slightly (the raw wagon) and making a Vegan Lasagna recipe I found intriguing. From my RawFoodTalk website (through Alissa Cohen) I picked up a couple more recipes - a "Rich Cheddar Sauce" and a very decadent sounding "Warm Fudge"...mmmm...fudge.... I am reading "Positive Energy" by Judith Orloff so let's hope it rubs off... Still putting the word out that I need a job/ everyone and the universe in general. I may go over to the Rex tomorrow night for "John McLeod's Rex Hotel Orchestra" and their monthly gig and to see my brother. Later in the week, going to hear Mike Murley at same venue...I haven't seen him perform for a while, so it's time. Mike is in charge of the "Jazzology" students from York U...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Richard Underhill Trio at Ten Feet Tall.

Such a treat to hear Richard Underhill with Reg Schwager on guitar and Artie Roth on bass at this cozy Danforth venue...also, the place was packed which was nice to see.
Having only been there in daylight hours it was good to take in the place at night...I liked the pink ladies room complete with feather boas!
Mr. Underhill played a number of selections from his latest "Kensington Suite" which pleased the crowd a lot...I didn't ask if he cycled over since he is often spotted in Kensington (his neighbourhood) and points around town on his trusty steed.
Tonight there is a little TVA party in the yummy food, like minded people and NOT having to go out in the deep freeze again today..
Speaking of Kensington..just did the bi-weekly shopping trip. Kensington is my supermarket - love all the vendors there - it's so great having a personal connection. Especially love 4 Life - the place is known for best music in the market, jovial owner, great produce selection and one of his assistants has the most wonderful smile, not to mention he is really cute...I have a little crush on I'm sure do many female patrons.
They are going to have raw vegan chocolate available for Valentine's!
The couple who owns Sugar and Spice are great as is the older lady (who name I must get) - I think she may be Portuguese - she has a bulk store on the same block as Tom's Place..she is really sweet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Farewell to David "Fathead" Newman

I had the opportunity once of meeting Mr. Newman and his lovely wife at the station. He will be sorely missed...most people will know of him from the movie "Ray" (which many feel didn't accurately portray his relationship with the late Mr. Charles). He recorded a very successful album called "I Remember Brother Ray". Of course aside from his collaborations with Ray Charles, he worked as a studio musician with many greats including Aretha Franklin as well as his own recording career with Atlantic and leading a number of quartets. He visited Toronto on numerous occasions, where I was privileged to hear him. I am sure Brother Ray is saving a spot in his heavenly band... And now a book recommendation..why should movies get all the credit? I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri's latest collection of short stories "Unaccustomed Earth"...fabulous. A gorgeous tapestry of the Bengali experience in old world and new, of how family unites and divides, love unrequited and love rediscovered...poignant and powerful. Check out her first collection "Interpreter of Maladies"...also great.

Enchanting Benjamin Button

I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" this afternoon to kind of get me out of the doldrums...I have been feeling really stuck all around of late - looking for work/more money, unhappy in a relationship, thinking about my mom...
What a wonderful story..I found the time passed as if in a dream. Brad Pitt does a fantastic job and Cate Blanchett is her usual luminous and transcendent self. It's like a fairytale or fantasy about someone who is born old and ages backwards (or is it de-ages?). Great supporting cast too, including Julia Ormond .
Right now I absolutely COVET the sexy red dress Cate wears in the 40's era of the film...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration of hope and travel update from India

Well, like everyone else in the world I am anticipating the investiture of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama...very very exciting...I hope to catch some of it before I head down to the station. Speaking of hope, I have been getting updates from those marvellous musicians of Monsoon - Justin Gray, Andrew and Jonathan Kay. They are on an excursion to India to both learn Indian music and to see how their fundraising efforts are benefiting some music students. Inspiring stuff - sounds amazing and the Indian people sound lovely - especially being feted with flower petals and sweets! I am so proud of them! Check it out:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Post from the Freezer, er Toronto

Or, as Russ Little put it last night... TGIF now stands for "The Ground is Frozen"...:) Russ joined the CJQ (Canadian Jazz Quartet) for a number of lovely standards and a full house...good music and musicians still managed to draw people out.
For those who don't know "Quotes" has jazz every Friday from 5 - 8 p.m. The Canadian Jazz Quartet is : Don Vickery drums, Frank Wright - vibes, Gary Benson - guitar and Duncan Hopking on bass. The usual suspects were out - including noted jazz broadcaster and enthusiast Ted O'Reilly and singer David Clayton Thomas.
Today after a 5 a.m. fire drill I am just chilling or not chilling - staying warm and hoping to catch Keira Knightley in "The Duchess" downstairs in the condo's movie theatre.
Again, I enjoy seeing new hits on my blog all the time so "Ciao" to the visitor from Italy. And hello to St. Vincent/the Grenadines...where I WISH I was right now!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ori Dagan at Dazzling

Once again, the opportunity to hear the fabulous Ori Dagan sing and this time accompanied by Bernie Senensky. It was a great way to forget about frigid temperatures for a couple of hours.
Ori always asks for requests and remembered one of mine from a previous visit - this time he had the sheet music. He did a lovely job with "The Very Thought of You". Ori and Bernie cycled through a number of wonderful standards including "Fly Me to the Moon", "Nature Boy", and a gorgeous version of "Someone to Watch Over Me".
Ori is one to watch!
This is a photo of my friend Christina - jazz babe extraordinaire..:)
It's gratifying to see more hits all the time on my little jazz blog...Hola to all those in Espana and South America!
Don't forget "Jazzology" tonight features Steve Ward from U of T a trombone player, composer, booker for Tequila Bookworm on Queen, an all around interesting guy - 9 p.m. on Jazz FM 91.1.
Today's taping is with Nathan Hiltz a wonderful guitarist and graduate student at U of T as well.

Gate 403 with Chris Butcher

Chris Butcher and his Lower Etobicoke Sound band :) Chris is the trombone player along with Jim Sexton on bass and a wonderful guitarist whose name I didn't catch..bad, bad!! Jesse Markowitz sat in with his sax for a couple of numbers.. A few brave souls including my friend Christina and myself caught their 5 - 8's freezing here in Toronto this week - reminds me of my years in always warms the soul of course...and red wine.. At left is Ori Dagan, looking like the hipster he is...Ori provided vocals on "Sweet Georgia Brown" and a couple of other tunes..this is what happens when you start drinking the wine to warm up...details... I'm going to check out one of Ori's last gigs at "Dazzling" Restaurant on King in a couple of hours...and will have more photos. I also enjoyed a few tunes by the next act, Julian Fauth. Julian was down at Jazz FM that very afternoon to tape a segment of Danny Mark's show "Bluz FM" which airs on Saturday nights. Julian had a marvelous guitarist with him - Marc Roy. Another post tomorrow....I just made some raw "brownies" which are really tasty from Rose Vasile's book "Cooking with Raw Rose"...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rawlicious and Rachel Getting Married

I forgot to blog about my delicious meal at "Rawlicious" a wonderfully warm and welcoming spot here in the Junction area of Toronto. It really is a family affair as it seems the whole family is involved in running the restaurant..including the kids. One of the boys was our very sweet and accomodating server. The owners lived above the restaurant and initially thought it would be a quiet little place to serve a few things and for one of them - to recover from a cancer diagnosis....guess again. There seeems to be a real interest and hunger for raw foods these days! They also have monthly screenings of films..this month it's "Crazy, Sexy Cancer" - one young woman's journey to wellness after being diagnosed with incurable cancer - she's still going 5 years later. There is a cozy space in the back room filled with colourful cushions for the movie nights (which include food). Most of the dishes were prepared using the "I Am Grateful" cookbook - a mini chain of raw food places in California, which sound like a lot of fun. You apparently have to order dishes with names like "I am Loved"...etc. and the staff presents it to you with "You Are Loved..." Nice! The veg pizza, "unstirfry" and Choco Monkey smoothie for dessert were yummy - the smoothie was particularly rich - using banana, date, cacao, nut milk etc. Then off to the Revue for the movie...pretty intense....Anne Hathaway does a great job as the recovering junkie. All of the wedding preparations are pretty fun and amazing...lots of great music and love - a true communal event.

Food for the skin and soul

I read about this charming young man in the "Toronto Star" this morning. He is apparently based in Portland and has help from mom and dad. Still, it's amazing that he knows more about ingredients and his way around a kitchen than many grown men!

He is adorable - enjoying tasting everything he is making and using words like "yummified"...

I had trouble uploading the video but here's a link which might work so you can see him in action... He apparently also composed the "theme" music...:)

It's interesting how you find new things in your neighbourhood, even shops that have been there for 5 months...I blame it on Canadians keeping their heads down during the winter months. Well, I found the delightful skincare shop TVAL ( - their head office or at least the Canadian head office is located in St. John's Newfoundland. They have a variety of lovely creams, bath products, facial skincare, handmade soaps and even mineral makeup. Most of the products are made right in the store - the ingredient list is simple and you know the products are fresh without a lot of nasty preservatives. I bought a Cleansing Milk with Geranium and a Lilac Blossom soap...which reminds me of spring when I smell it. Lilacs in May are one of my favourite scents...

Later tonight I'm going to the Rex to see Dave McMurdo's Jazz Orchestra and tomorrow visiting Gate 403 to see Chris Butcher and the Lower Etobicoke sound (Chris is a wonderful young trombone player who hails from Winnipeg, studies at Humber and was a guest on "Jazzology") Promise to take photos this time!

Friday, January 9, 2009

In the Raw

For about 3 days now I have been trying to follow a raw diet. Reading a couple of books including Ani Phyo's "Ani's Raw Food Kitchen" and "Uncooking with Raw Rose" by Rose Vasile.
Made a Mediterannean "Cheeze" from Ani's book with Brazil nuts, garlic, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes...
I have also joined a raw blog through Alissa Cohen's to get moral support and be enthused. I can't believe the before and after photos...they look like completely different and more beautiful people..healthy,!
So far so good, feeling pretty good except for a little nauseous after a wheatgrass shot this afternoon...which apparently can be a side effect..something about detoxing your system.
I am going to Rawlicious which is a new raw restaurant in the Junction so I will take pictures of the meal...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Wake Up Call

So, my doctor is concerned now about my high blood pressure...I AM not repeat, not going on medication since I think that causes more problems than it helps...I have been dealing with a fair amount of stress this year - financial worries, relationship and oh yes, my mom passed away...think that might have something to do with it? Not to mention your doctor looking worried and then asking you if it's stressful to take b.p....duh!! Instead, I am vowing to make diet and lifestyle changes - more raw food or trying raw completely for a while...watching sodium, exercise meditation and consultation with my naturopath...whom, let's face it I trust more since they treat the whole person and not just the disease...I have recently been trying to do some more yoga as well to de-stress. I was feeling a little depressed about the health thing...but instead see it now as a challenge to be healthier..must be my Aries..:0 Perhaps more jazz is the answer as well? Looking forward to the first taping of the new year next Thursday with Nathan Hiltz, a wonderful young guitarist and U of T student. Also, Max Senitt has a group at Gate 403 this Friday at 9 and I may pop by Chalkers on Sunday for Fern Lindzon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fun at Jane and Larry's

I love impromptu invitations...especially when they are extended by fun jazz people...that phrase is actually redundant since I know few unfun (nonfun?) jazz people.. A lovely evening at Jane Bunnett and Larry Cramer's place in Parkdale with great food, conversation and of course music. Larry and Jane are artistic directors of that fabulous jazz festival - Art of Jazz - which displays their impeccable taste and is very intimate..a great little festival that needs more sponsorship and patrons. They brought in the delightful Hermeto Pascoal from Brazil last year - a 5 year old's enthusiasm in a 70 something body... Can't wait to see what's up for this year... Many of their Parkdale neighbours were there including the fabulous Reiner Schwarz....whom I haven't seen in FAR too long - ever since he departed from Jazz FM. Miss him and his wonderfully electic musical selections! I just found out about a delightful blog I think you should check out The images are great and it's fun reading about her dog Monty...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Travelling back in time for New Years...

Lake Ontario this morning..
and yesterday...I time travelled...circa 1938 to be exact or so it would seem at Roy Thomson Hall . I enjoyed the matinee show of Bob DeAngelis and his Champagne Symphony - Coronation of a King - a Tribute to Benny Goodman.
Lots of Mr. Goodman's treasures came out of the vault including his theme song "Let's Dance", "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Stompin at the Savoy".
It was again a pleasure to hear Melissa Stylianou providing the vocals on "It Had to be You", "Bei Mir Bist du Schon", "You Turned the Tables on Me" and of oourse Peggy Lee's big hit "Why Don't You Do Right?".
Amongst the orchestra works were a few jazz combo pieces which were a treat including "Tiger Rag" featuring Bob, John McLeod on trumpet, Laurie Bower on trombone, Scott Irvine on tuba, and the wonderful Frank Wright on vibes.
As a nice addition the Humber College Studio Jazz Band played some original band charts to open the second set.
My brother Colin added the extra oomph to the brass section on bass trombone.
After a drink at "Quotes" where it seemed the after concert reception was taking place. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Dhaba, a great Indian restaurant on King West.
By the by...."Quotes" is back in action on January 16th with Russ Little as a featured guest with the Canadian Jazz Quartet. Russ is always a reason to leave your house! (As told to me by its' organizer, Fay Olson...Fay and Don Vickery were enjoying a drink after the show too and visiting with all the musicians).
Here is evidence of other visitors to the lake...a squirrel or squirrels I believe - obviously not celebrating until the wee hours as our neighbours were..
There were also large congregations of ducks of all kinds where there was open water...
Here's to a great 2009!