Thursday, April 30, 2009

A couple more notes...

Tom Sczesniak (hopefully I spelled that correctly) accordionist extraordinaire, pianist and all around talented musician will be sitting in with the Canadian Jazz Quartet at their usual Friday haunt, Quotes on King Street West - across from Roy Thomson Hall from 5 - 8 p.m. This is a cozy venue with great staff and of course great music. Also, on Saturday May 2nd check out one of our pet projects - the Toronto Youth Big Band - under the direction of trombonist and former Edmontonian (so, yes he has a special spot in my heart) Jules Estrin. That's 2 trombone players in a row who have conducted the group...Kelsey Grant holding down the post previously. Which of course just means that trombone players rule...:) A talented ensemble of high school age students from around the city they will be peforming on Saturday May 2nd, 7:00PM – Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive - hosted by the always entertaining Afernoon Drive Host, Larry Green, the JAZZ.FM91 Toronto Youth Big Band will perform with the Etobicoke School of the Arts. For tickets contact 416-394-6910.

This and that

A goddess does need some pampering and that's what went on at Lush and Lavish salon on Ossington yesterday - marvelous facial from the soothing and assured hands of Carol using Eminence facial products - a wonderful organic Hungarian line that smells wonderful and works! Carol is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare and enthusiastic - such a relaxing experience.
Then a trim with the effervescent Veronica who enjoyed singing along to "Killing me Softly" - Lauren Hill's version while cutting. Veronica is not only charming but very quick and skilled.
I hung around for a special event afterward which included a seminar by stylist/educator Kevyn Martel on Kevin Murphy hair products - then another wash with a product called Maxi Wash which totally cleans the hair, Angel Wash for me and a treatment for volume (some people had the shine treatment) - later styled. The place was bustling and all the ladies looked amazing - they were even taking before and after shots...I felt great!
And now to jazz....
A few things you should know about - Kollage's Rhythm section is performing with singer Michael Danso tomorrow night (May 1)at a place called Pero's Lounge on Bloor - an Eritrean restaurant. Cover is $20 which includes a CD, $10 without CD. Showtime 8ish, jazz time...
- speaking of drummers, Max Sennitt is playing with Alex Cuba, a wonderful singer/songwriter/guitarist at the Mod Club tomorrow night as well start time 7:30 ish.
Justin Gray, one of my favourite Humber graduates, is back from his amazing sojourn in India and is presiding over the Tuesday jazz jams at the Rex - featuring such people as Larnell Lewis, Alex Goodman and Luis Deniz.
What promises to be a great show - Neal Caine's Quintet with Jason Marsalis at Chalkers Pub. The last time I caught Neal Caine he was here at a very sparsely attended showing at the Diesel Playhouse - smaller cabaret theatre - the band was really hot! Too bad if you missed is your chance for redemption....Contact for early bird tickets $ 15 in advance or $35 at the door. Chalkers is a cozy north Toronto pub which has been really supportive of live jazz thanks to Steve, the owner.
On Sunday, I am planning on going to the Rex, starting at 11 a.m. - yes, 11 because, well, maybe jazz people will be up by then or at the very least the parents of the band members. It's Humber College Community Music School recitals, a series of ensembles featuring promising young jazz musicians - a number of whom start when they are knee high to a grasshopper. As the afternoon progresses so does the performance experience of the musicians...catch some rising stars and good grub.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Da da da da da da dummmm

That's my lame attempt at a trumpet sound, hee, hee. Some exciting news for all you readers - I will soon be officially blogging for Jazz this space for more details and there will be a link to here from the Jazz FM website... I am so thrilled to be given this opportunity to talk even more about jazz... And again that's 1-800-811-2400 or to donate...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Caught in a Cyclone

It was a little "Wizard of Oz" on the way back from Kensington Market yesterday around 5 p.m. After grocery shopping and lovely early dinner at "King's Cafe" - newly renovated and beautifully serene and spare - yummy sushi, steamed barbecue bun and something called "Zen Bars" which were these amazing concoctions - like spring rolls with more of a long cylinder shape each end dipped in black sesame seeds and filled with TVP and veggies...yum! I also picked up some of their lovely black tea with rose essence.
I could see a storm was imminent as I approached Bathurst - very nasty looking clouds - and lo and behold just as I was approaching King from Tecumseh this huge wind came up and nearly swept me off my feet. Everyone was taken aback by the wind which was creating dust devils and swirling mini tornadoes of garbage/litter.
(Image from Wikipedia)
It was quite interesting to watch the wind and dust stirred up from my view on the 9th floor, and the beautiful scary cloud cover...then the rain came...I do like storms from the safety of the indoors.
This week I am trying a spring detox - so no food just water today until dinner - then fruit - then raw fruits/veggies for the week - no nuts etc. - which could be challenging - we shall see how it goes..
As of yet no jazz plans but I will report on what I hear about/go and see..fundraising is still going on remember or 1-800-811-2400 to keep jazz on the air!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fantastic Francois Mulder at Hugh's Room

This is the cover (resting on one of the many glassworks in my place) of Francois Mulder's first CD. It's called "The Love Led Acoustic Sessions" - great concept.
Francois is a soulful South African born singer and composer, Humber grad and yes, you guessed it..."Jazzology" guest...
With a revolving array of musicians he performed a variety of selections from his album (which is acoustic) - there was violin and cello and bass and electric bass and vibes and backup singers...whew!
The Band: Chris Virtue/Bass, Shannon Quinn/violin, Mariel Gonzales/Cello, Greg Matthews/Vibes & Percussion, Kristjan Bergey/Saxophone and on Back Up Vocals Marla Walters, Andre Reid & Janee Olivia
Francois accompanied himself on a number of tunes on keyboards.
Highlights included a duet "Get Off Your Couch" with an amazing guitarist, Heather Crawford, and a vocal duet with Marla.... and an ode to his homeland "Potchefstroom" sung in Afrikaan.
Opening act was the compelling singer/songwriter Amy Pitt.
I am so proud of you Francois! Congratulations!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Up jumped Spring...

Well at least it feels like to today. Feeling energized after a Reiki treatment - balancing my energies and whatnot...check out to check out my wonderful practioner who also offers courses... 1-800-811-2400 OR Yes, it's the spring fundraising campaign for Jazz FM 91.1 - please donate generously and keep jazz on the air!! Plus, you can win fabulous prizes AND get great gifts for donating. Of course, if you are feeling really altruistic you can just request all the funds go to the station, no gift necessary. Call or donate online. Thank you!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Garden registration - it must be spring!

Today is registration for the Garrison Creek Community Garden - and a potluck - I am bringing a raw "fudge" made with cocoa, various nuts and agave syrup. How exciting to be thinking about what to plant and wondering what came back...hopefully the Sorrel from last year and likely the groundhog (s)...:) Great recitals for Heather Segger and Ben Dietschi on Thursday evening. Congratulations you Masters of Music you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday flowers

While there weren't any April showers there were flowers at my birthday this Sunday. How great is it to have a birthday that coincides with a holiday - it's especially nice since I love spring.
The flower arrangment was from F and the two hyacinth pots were from each of my brothers - without consultation...ha!
Easter dinner went really well - I made Chickpea Cutlets, Lemony Roasted Potatoes, a Spinach Salad with Spicy Sweet Pecans and Balsamic Dressing, Asparagus, Broccoli and as appetizers Mediterannean Dolmas with Coconut Lemon Cake for Dessert - all recipes from "Veganomicon" except for the Dolmas and Spicy Sweet Pecans - those were from Ani's Raw Kitchen...
The weather seems to be warming up...very windy today and yesterday...
More jazz reporting to come....and a reminder fundraising starts next week at Jazz FM -

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ben Dietschi's Final Recital

I thought this was really cute - I stole it from Ben's Facebook page.
Ben is a very talented saxophonist who is doing his final recital for his Masters in Music at U of T.
It's at Walter Hall U of T on Thursday April 16 at 7:30 - you can check it out on Facebook if you like - there are a few other jazz rodent images there too...
First Set: Convergence Quartet
Ben Dietschi - saxophonesAlex Goodman - guitarDamian Dobrowolski - bassFabio Ragnelli - drums
Second Set: Chamber Jazz Ensembles
Takayo NoGuchi - violin;Emilia Bartellas - violinMarie-Cristine St-Jacques - celloGraham Smith - bass, Ben Dietschi - soprano saxophoneBrent Pym - tenor saxophoneAnthony Rinaldi - bass clarinetAshley Urquhart - pianoRichard Piasetski - drums

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kollage at the Rex

Isn't he cute? Photo by Katherine Gruender - Flickr/Creative Commons. Tonight is Kollage at 9:30 always great with Archie Alleyne and the guys, Kelsey Grant is sitting in on trombone (standing in?) tonight..always sizzling hard bop with the fabulous Robi Botos at the keys... Preparing for Easter dinner at my house with the sibs and my dad - PLUS it's my birthday and I think I should finally open the bottle of champagne in the fridge that's been there forever...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Make a wish.... Hey, it can't hurt...mine has not come true...yet....

Monday, April 6, 2009

3 drummers no waiting..

Had a great time with the meetup group last night....dear Zhenya reserved a table for 9 (those who responded yes) at Joe Mama's - but only 3 of us made it...
Nathan Hiltz' Trio with Bernie Senensky on B3 and Marc Pizer sitting in on drums. Lovely bonuses : Ori Dagan and Julie McGregor sang - "Everytime we say Goodbye" and "Nature Boy" respectively.
Then, who should sit in on drums but Will Fisher - our most recent "Jazzology" guest - he was the way his "Jazzology" is on this Thursday at 9.
On to another drummer, resident of my building, Paul Fitterer over at the Rex - with another delightful surprise - the wonderful Richard Underhill subbing for Ernie Tollar on alto sax...Ernie got a gig with the Sicilian Project in tragic! The group was called "New and Used"..
There is snow here today...yes, it's still just April in the Great White North.
The TD Jazz Fest announcement was today and included in the lineup are such names as Tony Bennett AND.....Jamie Cullum!!! I must, must, must get my hands on a ticket for that!!!
Just thought I would throw in a last wintery image for a chuckle....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lunch at Karine's by Maggie on McCaul..

There is a little known spot in a food court for great vegetarian/vegan food. The Village on the Grange shops is across the street from the AGO,on Dundas and harbours a vast food court with numerous food options, including good ones for the veggies - I already had a yummy roti at the Island Foods kiosk - I also visit the one at King and Dufferin.
You are assured a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the proprietor herself. In fact, now I know why the food seems so delicious and familiar - she and her family operated Maggie's on College and I believe another location on Yonge and Eglinton for many years and perfected the Mediterranean breakfast and one of my favourites - the Vegan French Toast. Maggie assured us since we were "first timers" at her new location she would select a variety of things for our veg platter - delicious marinated mushrooms, a wonderful tomato eggplant dish, a veggie burger, pesto crusted tofu, a green salad and sliced fruit.
She rushed over to clear off the tables - in a food court mind you!! When our "first course" arrived it was presented on china plates - no styrofoam - they are working towards being completely green by Earth Day she explained. How amazing to be so royally treated and cascaded with endearments - ( some critic on Trip Advisor - said the experience was "creepy" - I mean I ask you what kind of curmudgeon do you have to be?).
Next "course" - the french toast, again presented with fruit, sprinklings of syrup and cocoa...and then we were stuffed - but in a good way - full of good vibes and food.
By the way, speaking of good vibes, had a great time working for Jalanna of Soul Symbols jewellery at the Yoga Show yesterday- many beautiful pieces and she is a lovely person in spirit and form. I got to "display" on my person a lovely chakra necklace which represented all the appropriate healing stones for each of the 7 chakras and a crystal pendant.
There was even a veg food area..nice!
Her site is, but it hasn't been updated in a while and doesn't feature any of the other beautiful necklaces and earrings she has made with rose quartz, laboradoriate, lapis lazuli, citrine among others....
I met many people including visitors from the U.S. who came up for the You Can Do It show...unfortunately not Wayne Dyer...but maybe next time. A couple of ladies said they were volunteers - so that's something to look they got all the CD's and DVDs from the scheduled speakers...
Om and Namaste.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Delightful Diana

I was very pleased to be invited to sit in on Ms. Krall's interview with Jazz FM's Ross Porter - well, me and 30 some odd other people. She looked great in a dark grey, satiny fitted dress and killer heels...which she remarked at the end she had to take off because they were "killing her" She was discussing her latest album " Quiet Nights" , Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Jimmy Rowles and even working as a co-producer on an album for the the biggest diva of them all - Barbara Streisand - sounds like "Babs" is doing an album of standards which includes such luminaries as Bill Charlap... She was warm and very funny, saying she divides her time between their (Mr. Elvis Costello and twins Dexter and Frank) home in New York City and in Vancouver...where her heart feels most at home, even after travelling to so many beautiful cities and continents. One example of her great sense of humour was talking about getting Jimmy and Ray to write a recommendation on her Canadian Council Grant Application to study with them...and being a little horrified that Jimmy wrote one line and scribbled a cartoon doodle...:) Obviously it worked for the Council people... We got to listen to a couple of lovely cuts - the quintessential bossa nova "Girl from Impanema" or rather "Boy" in this case and "Quiet Nights". It felt really special to be a part of that...

Photo from carlosjtj - flickr/creative commons.