Friday, April 30, 2010

Lucky to be me

Perhaps I should  buy a lottery ticket today - this has been a lucky week...first winning a lovely door prize at Lush and Lavish's Spring Cocktail Party - pictured at left and now a pair of MBT shoes from "Walking on a Cloud"

I have baked some cookies for the TVA's "Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale" on tomorrow at the TVA office on Baldwin from 1 - 4. I made Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows from "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar".
Tonight is my friend Ailsa's gig at Grace Church on the Hill - which I previously wrote about and tomorrow night two great gigs - Min Rager at the Rex for the 9:45 show and Kirk's McDonald's ensemble at Humber College - featuring my favourite altoist - P.J. Perry!!!

I am incredibly grateful to the universe for all the blessings plus, a little extra, I would like to paraphrase the great standard and put this request out there "I just want money, a nice position and loads of lovely love"....Mille Grazie.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Girls (and Boys) Night Out...

Here are members of the Darlene Stimson Appreciation Society or d'Sas as Dan Bodanis said. The ever thoughtful drummer had t-shirts made up for the band and signs for us to hold up last night at Girls' Night Out!

I could tell Darlene was touched....congrats Darlene - you inspire me. Darlene's set had a moon theme - in honour of the full moon and I can assure you - it was affecting people out and about in T.O. last night.

Thanks to all the singers and musicians and especially Lisa Particelli - I hope to have a blog up on Jazz FM shortly about this great weekly event.

Ori Dagan has perhaps convinced me to be brave sometime - I need some coaching on that...but what the heck...I just may.

Ori has some upcoming gigs - which you can find out about on - in May - the 18th at the Reservoir, the 21st at Gate 403 (5-8 p.m.) and the Old Mill's Homesmith bar on May 28th - bass and voice duo (one of my favourite configurations) with his friend Alex Belgarde (did I spell that correctly?) from Montreal.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Going Green

The colours are respectively on toes : Emerald City and fingers Delight. Thanks to the lovely and talented Carmen at Lush and Lavish Salon and Spa on Ossington.
They are having a cocktail party tonight with cupcakes and snacks and freebies like LoveFresh samples, Eminence and Kevin Murphy. Preparations were well underway when I was there this morning - bubbly co-owner Lynn was busy, busy, busy.

I recommend the prix fixe lunch at Pizzeria Libretto across the street - stellar service - by a server who bore a striking resemblance to a young Ralph Fiennes. For $15 - your choice of a beet or arugula salad or bruschetta, one of 3 pizzas, and dessert of either gelato or biscotti.  I chose the arugula salad, Margherita pizza and the gelato. Simple and scrumptious.

I don't know if you have heard of the website 1,000 amazing things - it's apparently very successful - and why not - life is all about the small pleasures. I was reflecting on this as I watched passersby out the window of Libretto and this morning at Jimmy's Coffee - my fave neighbourhood cafe. The servers were chatting about music and there is always a varied selection there, as I walked in - the tune was "Fox on the Run" - if memory serves me clearly by The Sweet - memories of my teens, followed by The Ramones - "Do you Wanna Dance"?  then Talking Heads and a couple of other patrons were reminded of their own high school days - I love these little happy making moments in the day - music truly is the universal language.  One more reason I love Chuck - last night's episode ended with Nina Simone's "Feeling Good".

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jazz is springing up all over

This just in - a gig with my friend Ailsa McCreary - fabulous singer and the York Jazz Ensemble at Grace Church on the Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, Friday April 30th at 7:30.  Gershwin at Grace - note the Art Deco font... it's a fundraiser and the ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10/student and senior. She will also be joined by Bev Janhke and Francesca Groves as guest vocalists.

Check out or  Woo hoo - it has been too long...

In other news Darlene Stimson is the opening act for "Girls Night Out" this coming Wednesday at Chalkers - which gives me good reason to haul myself up there and cover the weekly event....

Also on Thursday - the Indo Jazz Festival at Lula Lounge featuring Monsoon - starting at 9:30. Monsoon contains a number of "Jazzology" and Humber grads including Todd Pentney, Justin Gray, Andrew Kay and Adam Teixeira..hmmm I think that's most of the band actually.

More to come

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ori's Ella Tribute

A delightful evening at Ten Feet Tall - Ori pulled out all the stops, opening with "A Tisket, A Tasket" and accompanied by Mark Camilleri on keys he was joined by a host of guests including powerhouse Jenny Burke - who hosts an open mike every Monday night at the Pantages hotel , a knockout in red sequins Gillian Margot - solos and duets - Lisa Particelli - creator of "Girl's Night Out" (happening there tonight) sang "I Wish I Were in Love Again". I was also charged with being official shutterbug (forgetting my own camera to document the event - d'oh!).

Highlights included the charming Whitney Ross Barris (looking fab in a vintage inspired ensemble) on "Cow Boogie" with Mr. Dagan and wonder of wonders Alex Pangman - so great to hear her again.

Ten Feet Tall in case you don't know is a cozy spot on the Danforth - just east of Greenwood. They present jazz on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons and now Girls Night Out the last Sunday night of the month. The food is great and varied too.

The place was packed with fans and I spent a wonderful time with new friends - notably the effervescent Rucsandra Maria Saulean -  a singer herself and new Volunteer Co-ordinator at the TD Canada Trust Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival - I know she will do a stellar job because of her incredible work ethic, love of jazz (she is also a singer) and bubbly personality.

Ori is continuing his tribute at Gate 403 - the Verve years -  today from noon - 3. Pick up his debut CD while you're there - the cleverly titled "Scat's Got my Tongue".

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Flora and Fauna

Some images from downstairs in the courtyard....including a friendly cat...

Jazz for the Kids

What a great evening - great band, lots of delicious food (they were very accommodating for this vegetarian) and inspiring cause - the Peel Children's Aid Foundation.

Here are Kieran Overs and Joey Goldstein entertaining the arriving patrons - there was a wine tasting and numerous appetizers including curry puffs and spring a chance to bid on many items during the silent auction - including guitars!

Mike Bullard provided lots of laughs as auctioneer during the live auction portion later in the evening.

Thanks to Ken Choi and Lawrence Lo of Summit Garden who have hosted the fundraiser for 12 years and for all the hardworking staff of the restaurant. Dan is the event organizer for the event which vetts a different charity each year.

Some facts about Peel Children's Aid which I was surprised about - they served 5, 862 families last year and responded to over 11,000 calls, cared for 732 children in foster homes and have over 300 volunteers. I didn't know for example that because of the International Airport children are sometimes either abandoned after being used as drug mules or sent to Canada on their own by desperate parents who know Canada is a caring and generous nation.

I was verklempt at the stories of the 4 children who spoke last night - Paul Chapman, Matthew and Derrick Porter (yes brothers) and Baylee Young - they were chosen along with Shantee Plummer to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay. This fine organization helps give children nourishment of all kinds - food, toys, summers camps and sports, bursaries for education or to learn a trade. or 905 363 6131 ext 1155.

As Police Chief MIke Metcalf quoted via Frederick Douglass "It is easier to create strong children than fix a broken man".

Here is Kira Callahan singing with the band - which included Nancy Walker on piano, Pat LaBarbera on sax and Russ Little on trombone.
There were some serious jazz fans in the audience judging by the requests and accompanying donations for requests.....
Great company at the table including Kelly, Dan's gorgeous wife and his charming in laws.Pat and Russ - always fun to hear and chat with the very suave Russ Little.

Today is registering for the community garden plot at Garrison Creek and later the fab Ori Dagan's tribute to Ella at Ten Feet Tall at 8.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lorraine's Art Opening at Reba's

Here is the artist herself with her boyfriend Jerry - all smiles at Reba's Cafe and Eatery in the Junction.

Lots of great artwork and a host of friends to come and celebrate - Crystal, Sam, Edie and Bob Wiseman - musician and former member of Blue Rodeo - just to name drop....

A couple of paintings I was particularly attracted to below. Lorraine Hughes is creating some more artwork with  a new direction as we speak.  I find her art very compelling - it draws you in and you find new elements each time you look....

This one fascinates me....I am a bad reporter but I think it's called "Tree on an Island"... and this one is possibly my favourite I remember admiring her work when I went to her place for readings and classes in tarot and other methods of tapping into my intuition - I learned so much...that doesn't begin to cover it... contact her at to get a reading - she is a particularly gifted reader and healer.Reba's at 3289 Dundas St. West in the Junction is a cozy place - with a private back room and outdoor patio in the back. Arlene, the gracious owner has been in business 3 years and has been programming a variety of artists on the weekend for brunch - from jazz to bluegrass. I had a yummy and healthy veggie burger last night - lots of great options on the menu - homemade soups, chili and of course brunch items on the weekends.

This lovely creature is Reba - she is the sweetest most calm dog  - an old soul we agreed - with a very penetrating gaze that seems to know all your
I was flying solo on my fundraising shift yesterday afternoon at Jazz FM - but was certainly appreciated by Larry Green who kept mentioning my name and telling people to call me....again, please call or go online and or 1-800-811-2400. 

Tonight I am in for a special treat - out to the burbs for a fundraiser at which Dan Bodanis and a great band including Russ Little and Kira Callahan are performing - more tomorrow. Tomorrow night at Chalkers is the Don Thompson Quintet featuring young lions Eli Bennett and Jon Challoner. Sunday Ori Dagan is at Gate 403 for the 12 -3 brunch spot....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Hot

Tried on these MBT shoes last night at an info event at "Walking on a Cloud", Liberty Village store.

Dr. Lori Yarrow, D.C, B.P.E, F.I.C.P.A,  a former chiropractor and having studied exercise physiology - knows her stuff - she is Head of Academy Canada. The two of us who showed up (a physiotherapist and myself) got to try out the shoes, do some exercises - along with the staff. Interestingly I was eyeing these spicy numbers atop a rack and lo and behold there they were - size 8. They are called Foya Chili....appropriate for a pitta and an Aries!

I discovered Lori is a Jazz FM supporter and listener and a big fan of our Commander in Chief Ross Porter - it's that distressed velvet voice, I know!

Suffice to say I am likely going to get these babies - they are so comfortable and do such great things for your alignment, muscles and even ahem, burn extra calories. I know of a few people who just rave about them - one acquaintance has several pairs.

We also got a great grab bag of goodies - water bottle, beverage cup - a cheerful spring green with sleek European design, socks, foot scrub, shoe buffer, key there were healthy snacks.

Oh, and I should mention the shoes I tried on were also synthetic materials...not leather!

Tomorrow night I'm going to my friend Lorraine's art opening out in the Junction at Reba's Cafe and then to hear Paul Fitterer and "New and Used" at Tequila Bookworm...all this after my fundraising shift at Jazz FM - which is a segue into - yes please call and donate 1-800-811-2400 or online at - you could win a fabulous prize - they have been giving away the much coveted iPads I hear....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back from the Movie

What an amazing person Nica was - fascinating how she grew up in this incredibly cocooned life in rural England - an enormous grand estate and how interesting her life intersected with that of Thelonius Monk - son of sharecroppers from the South....

Apparently she first heard "Round Midnight" en route catching a flight to Mexico to join her husband and family. Teddy Wilson played the album for her and she was transfixed - asking to hear it about 20 more times....and missing her flight. It wasn't until 2 years later she actually met Thelonius - but talk about soulmates - interesting there is no evidence of a love affair - other than a platonic one - he truly loved his wife Nelly. Nica seemed to be more an extra support system particularly when Monk was having serious mental issues.

I am with Stanley Crouch - I would like to time travel - to see the two of them and so many more - if only I could land on 52nd street in New York in bebops' heyday....

The film is beautifully done and surprisingly or not surprisingly none of her children or most of her family members wanted to talk about this fascinating creature - I think she was somewhat of an embarassment - I could only dream of having such a relative.

A little Bossa Nova with Tova and Amy

A lovely way to spend a spring afternoon - with these two fine musicians and singers - Tova G. Kardonne and Amy Katherine Medvick.

The scene was a little cafe off Roncesvalles on Howard Park Avenue appropriately called "Coffee and all that Jazz" - serving fair trade products and delicious offerings from Dufflet.

Trading vocals and accompanying themselves on viola (Tova) and guitar (Amy) respectively they treated the patrons to a variety of Brazilian - Jobim of course and a few French chansons including the beautiful and beseeching Jacques Brel "Ne Me Quitte Pas".

This afternoon I am going to see the "Jazz Baroness" at the TJFF. Tonight is the Trombone Extravaganza and fundraiser in Jerry Johnson's name at the Rex - 9:30 show. The funds will go to a deserving trombonist in Humber's jazz studies program. And you can never have too many trombones - they sound glorious I can assure you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jazz Baroness

I did a posting on this for Jazz FM - but it may not go up in time. The screening at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival is on Monday April 19th at 2:45 p.m. - more info at

I am looking forward to it - someone I only wish I could come close to as a supporter and friend of musicians....

Thursday, April 15, 2010


These are Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops - made with candied ginger cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar...another winner with the Jazz FM staff - that is the tenuous jazz connection here...the spicy hit of the ginger is a delightful surprise. I am slowly making my way through the cookbook to the enthusiasm of numerous tasters.

Speaking of tasty - just got some divine Key Lime Coconut Scrub from Lovefresh - a new product line to my fave salon - Lush and Lavish on Ossington. They have scents/flavours that smell good enough to eat and apparently one of the staff tried it - just to see. The locally made bath and body products include Grapefruit/Tangerine, Pomegranate, Water Lily, Pear, Lemon Verbena to name a few. The scrub is actually moisturizing - which will be especially nice in summer - no body lotion necessary - although you might want to anyway after you get hooked on these scrumptious aromas.

Visit to check out the entire line.

Now that I have addressed taste and smell how about sound? This coming week there is as usual a number of events to choose from - Irene Altman is in town to perform at the St. Lawrence Centre along with Guido Basso, Reg Schwager at the Pilot on Saturday 3:30, Fern Lindzon's Quartet at Chalkers, 6 p.m. Pat Collins Quartet is at the Rex for the 9:45 show on Saturday, Dan Bodanis trio at Azure, natch today through Saturday 5:30 - 10:30 for your listening and dining pleasure (there - 2 senses in one go) , Jane Bunnett and the Cuban Piano Masters at the wonderful Koerner Hall 8 p.m. Saturday, Tova and Amy play Bossa Nova at Coffee and All that Jazz (Howard Park and Roncesvalles) 12:15 on Sunday and then at Joe Mama's on King - the Nathan Hiltz trio with guest vocalist Bradley Harder...whew!

Oh and on Tuesday the great big band "Blunt Object" is at Tranzac playing the charts of Carla Bley and original tunes from 10 - midnightish.

Canadian Jazz Archive is up and online - some of my work is up there - the brief bios of many jazz greats.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Girl...

  Wow - I am flabbergasted by all the birthday wishes - thank you everyone - in the immortal words of Sally Field "You Like really like me"...

Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-RaphaelitesJust finished reading the book to the left - incredibly riveting - I must see the miniseries now - I love pre-Raphaelite paintings - the intense colours and subjects, not to mention the soap opera like antics of the artists themselves...

Had a lovely facial at Pure and Simple, bought some new exercise wear at ModRobes - new store on Queen West - pants are made from EUCALYPTUS - and no they don't provide soothing relief for chest colds. The fibre is the new eco-friendly fabric, feels like silk, doesn't need nasty chemicals to process and the clothes are made in Scarborough!! 620 Queen Street West - newly opened - I actually bought some harem pants - so comfy, very MC Hammer 80s. There is cycling gear and the owner was actually featured on CBC's "Dragon's Den"...

Lovely dinner last night as usual at Fressen - scrumptious focaccia, jicama salad - so refreshing, seitan "steak" with roasted veggies and freshly made linguini with vegetables...did become a glutton but so worth it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Girly alert

Because I love many feminine rituals like cosmetics, dresses and shoes I have been delighted with this my purchases from this business. They are prompt and even include a candy with each shipment - how sweet (to make a bad pun).

You can purchase varying sizes of decanted designer perfume without the commitment of as in some cases, ahem - my Guerlain perfume addiction forking over $200 plus per bottle. So, you can try out small sizes of beautiful scents and see if you like them - they even have vegan scents.

I love "Cuir Beluga", "Double Vanille" and now "Iris Ganache" - I am a bit addicted to the oriental/gourmand vibe and am a bit of snob when it comes to cosmetics and perfume - I think the French do it best....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Toronto Indo-Jazz Festival

Hello or Namaste should I say - just a little plug for this great upcoming event at Lula Lounge - featuring several of our "Jazzology" grads of course in "Monsoon" - Justin Gray, Andrew Kay and Adam Texieira.

Mind blowing music. A little change of pace from the normal Latin vibe at Lula. All that is colourfully Indian - plus there will be merchandise and henna tattoos....all for a good cause - music education in India.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kira Callahan

Here's the poster with all the details.....

Kira Callahan Quartet at Aquila

This is a new spot in the Junction - 347 Keele Street, or phone 416 761 7474. Music starts at 9 or 8:30 - well best just to get there early in case.

Kira's former incarnation was with the fabulous "Swing Rosie" vocal trio a la Andrews Sisters. She sat in with Dan Bodanis and the boys recently at Azure which was a treat.

Out and about

Tonight as usual, hangin at Azure with Dan and the band, pre birthday celebrations - I'm allowed to celebrate my birthday "month" as my friend Richard says. On Sunday I will visit Joe Mama's on King Street West where Coleman L Tinsley is sitting in with Nathan Hiltz's trio - from 7 p.m. onwards. Today is Colemans's (35th - on repeat) birthday so drop by and wish him a belated Happy Birthday - he just keeps getting younger.

Also this weekend: Brad Mehldau, of course, Shannon Gunn Quartet at Chalkers Pub, "The Commissioner's Daughter Returns" - interesting name that - features trombonist and "Jazzology" grad - Chris Butcher at Tequila Bookworm, Sunday April 11th at 9 p.m. Hmmm - that is going to be a busy night....

I should add we taped the last of the students for this season's "Jazzology" yesterday - that was William Mukuna from Mohawk, guitarist. Next week we start on the department heads from York, Mohawk, U of T and Humber...gentleman prepare your lists....

On Saturday I am signed up for David Wolfe's workshop - which is sold out!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Patty Griffin's "Rain"

I am a little obsessed with Patty's work right now - including her latest release "Downtown Church" and a song called simply "Moon Song" - she is an incredible songwriter who packs an emotional wallop.

Cupcake queen

Yes, got a little crazy with the cupcake baking yesterday - trying out recipes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" well, at least they took over Jazz FM.
The first ones are Peanut Butter with a Chocolate Ganache and these are Vanilla with a Buttercream Frosting - taste testing says delish.....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Brownie heaven

MO’S MASHUP BROWNIES (a combo of two recipes)

Extra fudgy goodness

½ cup good chocolate (preferably bittersweet)

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup of canola oil or coconut oil (suggested)

¾ cup succanat or brown sugar

½ cup – 1 cup silken tofu

2 tsp vanilla

¼ cup soy or other “milk”

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

Optional but recommended: 1 cup chopped walnuts and ½ - 1 cup chopped good chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 X 8 pan. Melt first 3 ingredients in microwave about 1 minute – or double boiler if you prefer.

Stir together next 4 ingredients in a large bowl until mixed – then add chocolate mixture and combine.

Gradually add in flour mixture until mixed then add in chocolate and walnuts if using (which you should be, really!)

Fold into prepared pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean…if you can wait that long. Enjoy the heavenly, moist goodness.

Freshening up

You will notice I changed the look of the blog - spring cleaning, what have you. Just wanted things to pop a bit more.

Had a soy latte at "Jimmy's" this morning - how I love that little haven on Portland north of King...they were playing Jamie Cullum, followed by Paul Anka - how cool is that?

I purchased a cool new journal at Indigo yesterday - yes, it's pink with circles...and I'm thinking I may have to shop online for my favourite Uniball Jetstream RT pens, 1.0 mm, medium as they seem to have been discontinued...drat - I love the ease of writing with them and even people who have borrowed my pen have commented on how nicely they write...why, why, why...(that's me whining).

So for jazz events tonight - there is a cornucopia of acts at the Smiling Buddha on College - starting at 9 (and featuring some U of T "Jazzology" grads - including Robin Jessome) plus Danica Leigh is having her recital up at York University at 6 p.m.

Lentil soup is on the menu for tonight and as promised i will post my Brownie recipe.....

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Easter Blossom from Melissa

Delightful as usual to hear Melissa Lauren at Gate 403 on Roncesvalles - that's the first Sunday of every month - noon to 3 - perfect for brunch!

She was joined by the tasteful Sean Bellavitti and did a Blossom Dearie number for me - "Moonlight Savings Time" - which is freaky because I had just been humming that recently. I particularly liked the last tune of the first set - but darned if I can remember it....sheesh. I'm sure it will come to me.

Fresh food

These are part of dinner last night - a "Crispy Crunchy Salad" adapted from Pulp Kitchen's former incarnation - tofu, cucumber, mushrooms, tamari sauce, snow peas...clean spring flavours and below is a Raw Almond Pate - supplmented with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, lemon juice, miso paste, carrot, celery cilantro, garlic, parsley.....can be served with raw crackers or in a wrap or sandwich....
I also made some fudgy brownies - a combo of a couple of recipes so I call them "Mo's Mashup Brownies" - I can post the recipe later....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter and Gate 403

This is too cute...I have posted it on Facebook as well. Coincidentally a squeaky carrot was the first thing to make me laugh....

Melissa Lauren is at Gate 403 from noon - 3 and Whitney Barris-Ross the 9 p.m. show....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary Dan and Bluegrass at Graffitis

  How wonderful that spring is here and that Dan Bodanis trio - with Steve Wallace and Bernie Senensky celebrated one year entertaining patrons at Azure!

The fudge cake from Longo's was delicious but it was a very very generous piece - Dan sized as we are now calling it thanks to Brenda Lewis - whom I had the pleasure of meeting last night. Looking forward to her CD release in early June - I will have the deets later.

As if I didn't have enough entertainment - I also ventured over to Kensington and Graffiti's - haven't been in there, though I shop in Kensington all the time - it's my grocery store. The amazing Slocan Ramblers Bluegrass Band and Rob Cappelletto - "Jazzology" grad and mandolin player extraordinaire - had a great time!

Happy Easter all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

KarmaTube: Lentil As Anything

KarmaTube: Lentil As Anything

This is an incredible and inspiring story - maybe will give someone ideas?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Fever

Which may mean shopping - check out these cute numbers from Alternative Outfitters:



Madden pumps are so gorgeous but very impractical....still a great website - I might lean towards the latter two as I like to walk most places and not be crippled afterwards....