Monday, June 29, 2009

Laissez les bon temps roule - Beausoleil

J'aime ca, moi. Last night it was great to hear this Cajun powerhouse in the tent at Nathan Phillips Square. It took a while but people finally got up and danced in the open area to the right of the stage.
It's been too long since I've heard zydeco, and I really enjoyed it...the rain was pouring down outside but inside it was all Louisiana sunshine. I loved some of the titles of tunes too..."Les Onions" and "Alligator Purse" all delivered with joie de vivre.
It has been a long time since they have been to T.O. and it was long overdue. Unfortunately I had to leave before Buckwheat Zydeco as I'm sure that would have kept things cooking. I also noted quite a few empty seats...people scared off from the rain, or perhaps not familiar with the music?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Busy day tomorrow Melody Gardot then Gary Burton

All of that on top of my regular duties at the festival...I'm going to be one tired puppy late tomorrow night... The plan is to rush down to Melody Gardot, back to the Four Seasons Centre for Gary Burton (possibly missing the Botos Brothers opening) - then even try to catch some of Kool and the Gang. The following night sees the same frantic mayhem - Mose Allison then Jamie Cullum at NPS...but that shouldn't be quite as rushed.... Relaxing today and making gazpacho, cabbage slaw and double chocolate cookies, reading and resting up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Toronto Jazz Fest - Day One

First shift as Assistant Volunteer Co-ord/Merchandise this morning....hope to catch some Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings later... What do I plan on seeing? I'm going to Melody Gardot and Mose Allison (can't wait for that one), Jamie Cullum - long awaited, some zydeco music from Beausoleil and Buckwheat Zydeco on Sunday, maybe some r and b with Kool and the Gang and Ray Anderson on July 5th at the Pilot. I am still hoping some Tony Bennett tickets manifest as well....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jazz is in the air and even in Windows...

I noticed the window display at Brown's - an upscale store for men 5' 8" and under on Queen. I was just leaving my Pilates reformer class....there were photos of singers, saxophones, actual trumpets and horns in the window...either they like the visual or they're jazz fans... By the way, the store has some really gorgeous stuff....

Above is the fab image for the Edmonton Jazz Festival! Very hip...

Day 3 of the garbage strike and it's HOT! Hmmm....starting to emit a certain fragrance, reminiscent of the slaughterhouse down the block. The good news is the garden is exploding...supports will need to be installed for the tomatoes soon. A posting about singers on the Jazz FM blog shortly.... Stay cool, man!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rediscovery : Madredeus

As I came home from the Pink Martini concert on Friday night, I was thinking how wonderful it is to go into a concert without expectations as to what the music is like and to be pleasantly surprised.
The last time this happened to me in a big way was in 1996 and seeing the Portuguese group "Madredeus". I had been to Portugal a couple of years before and after reading a glowing review of their latest recording "O Spiritu do Paz" noticed they were also coming to town to perform at Roy Thomson Hall in fact. Now, understand I have only a few words of Portuguese to my credit - mostly having to do with food so to go to a concert pretty much entirely in Portuguese...well, an adventure - since most of the audience was speaking the language!
How to describe how mesmerizing this group is? It's absolutely hypnotizing - traditional folk music but going beyond. When I listen to the recording which was in pretty steady rotation and I am now listening to, I am transported. I visualize sitting in a seaside cafe in Sagres in the Algarve as the sun sets and watching fishing boats come in, touching the mighty cork trees in the Alentejo, surveying the landscape from the remains of Moorish castles, being gently kissed by misty rain as we drive along the winding roads of the Minho and Douro. I remember the kindess of the people, batatas fritas with everything, oranges and grapes at farmer's markets, delicious pastries, vinho verde...
Check out this haunting music - videos are even available on You Tube. Unfortunately some of the original members including Teresa Salgueiro, their singer have left.
Obrigado, Madredeus.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I went to synagogue this morning to honour my dear friend Judy celebrating or I think sometimes dreading her 7th decade...I aspire to have her energy, style and enthusiasm when I arrive at ---. (Can't print it). She commissioned a choral piece that was performed in the service. A cute young man was also having his Bar Mitvah today - Isaac - Mazel Tov! Although I didn't understand much of anything (being both brought up as a Protestant and not knowing Hebrew) I found everything incredibly moving....there was a lot of music. And afterwards of course, a little nosh..including cake for the birthday girl... I was enveloped in the hypnotic chanting and felt grateful to be part of the experience. It brings home to me more than ever how we need to only be aware of those around us, accept and love.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pink Martini

Checking out this group from Portland Oregon at Roy Thomson Hall tonight - should be fun...I will be blogging about it next week on the Jazz FM website and hopefully a few missives from the Toronto Jazz Festival - if I have energy after working during the day that is. What am I saying? I am an Aries girl - there's always energy for jazz... I am Assistant Volunteer/Merchandise Co ordinator in case you were wondering and will be staff, which means paid, always good. I hope to check out Whitney Barris at Gate 403 from 5 - 8 on Sunday as I hear she is a wonderful vocalist... Rain is the forecast again for later today, possibly thunderstorms - but it also means I don't need to water the garden and I did purchase a new cheap umbrella - pale purple with purple bubbles or raindrops on it at Smart Wear in Kensington...kind of like the Army and Navy I used to frequent in Edmonton - everything from clothes and shoes to housewares.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A not so dangerous new snack addiction...

Oh. My. God.
I noticed the Essence of Life health food store in Kensington is now carrying "Live" products - which in case you don't know is a great almost completely raw restaurant here in Toronto (Live Organic Food Bar) and now it appears they have a product line.
I have been thinking about trying their kale "chips" which I noticed in the store last week - the "cheezy" flavour. Today I purchased both the "chips" and the "Super Hero" Granola - except they were out of "cheezey" and I bought "Sour Cream" and Hemp instead....
I have included a photo because I am not sure how long the bag will last...

Luminato Finale

Well,almost made it to the end. Apparently there were LOTS of communication issues with the Cirque du Soleil presentation this closing weekend. People being misdirected about where performances were, the time of performances etc. etc. The finale was delayed for about an hour last night due to concerns about weather - i.e. rain or thunderstorms. So after waiting an hour and trying to crane my neck to see around people AND having people who were taller decide to stand in front of back and legs were protesting. I could kind of see what was going on from people's camera screens - thank goodness for digitial cameras! It all seemed very colourful, and there was someone performing amazing bicycle tricks, a performer on a tightrope and two ladies performing incredible feats from a pyramid shaped, suspended apparatus - such strength and grace. I did not make it to the bitter end and I was not alone in the streams of people walking away... I have seen Cirque in a paid performance and it was certainly worth every penny - vibrant, exciting and in some cases death defying. It certainly is exciting to have this festival on the roster, though. Here's to next year...

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Thanks to the sharp eyes of my brother Colin - Rick Wilkins was credited with a chart that was actually John McLeod's.
Also Sarah McLachlan not McLachlin. I would fire those fact checkers except this is a one person operation.
Went to Liberty Village farmer's market this morning and enjoyed the first of summer produce - asparagus, peas fresh out of the pod, lettuce, spinach and of course STRAWBERRIES!
I will post shortly on Jazz FM about my adventures on the Jazz Safari....
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New 'do

Thanks to the wonderful Sarah at Lush and Lavish, pride of PEI. Still a "bob" shape but removed the hair at the neck for a cooler feel as we move into the humid summer months. Getting ready for the Safari tonight and hopefully some jazz on Sunday or even Saturday at Chalkers - Andrew Scott - if I make it back in time... Thanks to the wonderful ladies at Meg on Queen West for helping with a dress purchase too. There are always wonderful designs at that store. I love my neighbourhood!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I am deeply grateful

Just thought I would share this lovely image of water lilies with you, my readers. I am truly grateful that you stop by to visit my little corner of the blogosphere. Namaste! As always, more to come....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going on Safari Friday...

But don't be concerned about animals - I will be hunting jazz along with that master of fun and frolic - Jazz FM's Jaymz Bee and a busload of jazzophiles. We'll be tracking down 4 or 5 clubs and elusive bands therein armed only with our wits and wallets. Hopefully this will be a blog... In the meantime...making vegan lasagna...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I am currently obsessed with a reality TV show. I was channel surfing one night and came upon this show by accident.

It's on TLC and features the artful creations, trials and tribulations of one Buddy Valastro owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken N.J. (birthplace of one Francis Albert Sinatra).

In between his amazing cake masterpieces are plenty of drama - deadlines, family (who also work in the bakery) disagreements, potential mishaps and Italians..who could want anything more?

Photo from TLC

Thanks to Sandra at "Lush and Lavish" for my beautiful pedicure - the best foot massage I have ever had. The colour is a great purple shade called "Disco Inferno" by SpaRitual...a vegan nail polish.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Art of Jazz wrap up

This is one of the best jazz vocalists on the planet -the lovely Roberta Gambarini. I am very happy to report she is as beautiful and gracious as you would expect from her stage presence.
Even after the many well wishers she hugged and chatted with after her show at A of J and a drive back to her hotel she was always pleasant, poised and the epitome of class. No diva here.
Let's talk about her her singing - the woman has perfect control, I'm pretty sure she has been compared to the great Sarah Vaughn. Scatting saxophone and trumpet solos and even doing a great trumpet impersonation on "Estate" she can soar to heavenly high notes with ease but also be so intimate you feel you are the only person she sharing her stories "Crazy". Neil Swainson provided the perfect partner on this bass and vocal combo. They had fun with "The Sunny Side of the Street", "That Old Black Magic" and "Don't be that Way". I always know I'm having a good time at an event when my attention is focused and doesn't wander off to things like...what am I going to blog about next.
There was a little confusion about one or two sets with Miss G thinking there were two....after a 30 second break....a partial second set which everyone ate up, leaping to their feet...
I also had a rocking good time listening to the energy of Pat Martino, Tony Monaco and Jason Brown on the Trinity Stage. The audience was captured from the first number - I noticed lots of head bopping and swaying, enthusiastic applause and yells after each solo. Perfect music for a sunny day.
A music filled day was capped off at the Rex and P.J. Perry - always in fine form along with Kevin Dean on trumpet, Andre White piano; Neil Swainson, bass and Barry Elmes on drums. The tunes varied from standards like "Like Someone in Love" to a tango, and a lovely tribute "For Arnie" (the late Arnie Chycoski). Whew!
Check out the Jazz FM website for further updates - festivals, profiles...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Art of Jazz at the Distillery

A reminder that the Art of Jazz festival is on this's on the blog (which I hope is up tomorrow) on Jazz FM's website. For more info on this great little festival with lots of big jazz... Ciao (the theme this year is Italian)...:) Also a plug for Mr. P.J. Perry.... I went overboard in a big way this afternoon and had a slice of truly decadent luscious Coconut Cream Pie at Wanda's Pie in the Sky at Kensington...mmmmm... Nothing to do with jazz except jazz people like good food... I'm reading "Last Train to Memphis" about the very early years of one Elvis Aron Presley...riveting!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Serenading a Star

This is Nancy Fenn and a wonderful anonymous guitarist, taken in the old town of San Diego on my California trip last fall.

Not only is Nancy beautiful - she is very wise and compassionate. If you are looking for an astrologer extraordinaire who is incredibly knowledgeable, an inituitive tarot reader, expert on introverts, guide, coach, mentor check out her website.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The mystery performer at Edmonton Folk Fest....

Sarah McLachlin!! Yes, Ms. Lilith Fair herself for a special Wednesday evening concert.
I have it from a reliable source the phone lines are burning up for tickets to this concert and the entire weekend of great music. August 5 - 9th
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.