Sunday, May 30, 2010

Digging Duggan's

It was lovely to see several "Jazzology" stars including Cam Britton and his lovely wife Kris, Chris Butcher and of course the star of the evening  Nathan dell-Vandenberg and Maybe Not.

Here is the charming Ben McConchie on trumpet and flugelhorn with Mikko Holden on guitar. He was having some fun doing the emceeing - plus he has a great radio voice and personality as we discovered - Ben graciously helped Larry Green out one fundraising campaign. Ben and his gorgeous wife (whose name I have forgotten already, d'oh! Sorry!) are expecting twins plus he is going into the Master's program at U of T...busy, busy. They already have a lively 2 1/2 year old who loves music and has been known to dance to Jazz FM selections....

I encourage Duggan's to make music a regular feature - they have a great beer selection - I sampled the Weissbeer - which as promised smelled of bananas and cloves! Cam tells me the food is delicious as well - he and his wife and some of the staff from Massey Hall make a point of stopping by after concerts....

Things are sprouting in the garden...oh please hang in there and grow up enough to foil the groundhoggen....the plot is a little open and needs some fencing around it to somewhat deter the critters....I say somewhat because they are wily....

I hear through the jazz grapevine that Shannon Butcher's "Little Hearts" CD release at Hugh's Room is sold out! Congratulations - well deserved! Of course, this means I should have planned better and bought my ticket...drat.

Friday, May 28, 2010

About last night....

I had a great time at the Arkana Music event which also featured Hobson's Choice and Canaille - good work everyone - each uniquely entertaining - Canaille got into a 60s influenced funk groove and Hobson's Choice with Felicity Williams very ethereal voicings - liked the Joni homage "Sechelt" and was it "Congruities"?

After the Tranzac a quick stop to the Rex for Phil Dwyer - ably accompanied by Robert Occhipinti, Adrean Farrugia, Mark McLean and Kevin there after the first set break and with eyes getting heavy only managed a couple of tunes before heading home.

Tonight is  Maybe Not at Duggan's Brewery - which features Nathan dell Vandenberg and the opening act features Ben McConchie - two fine Humberites and you guessed it former "Jazzology" guests. Speaking of which we have now finished taping for the season - the marvelous Mike Murley being the guest yesterday...I feel a little bereft actually. I think I am going to have to bring mercy baking down to the station on occasion so they don't suffer withdrawal...

Tomorrow night Fern Lindzon is at Chalkers at the Gate 403 respectively for the brunch spot 12 - 3 - Coleman Tinseley tomorrow and Ori Dagan on Sunday...

By the way saw "The Great War" by Video Cabaret at the Cameron House - on until June 6th I believe - it's outstanding! Next week I am going to see "Mamma Mia" and I must be one of the few people who hasn't....some great movies around - "Micmac" intrigues me as I loved Amelie....

This weekend is also "Doors Open" so check out some places you have been dying to get a peek into....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sax in the City

Yes, okay this is a lame attempt to jump into the hullabaloo - isn't that a fun word - surrounding the release of "Sex and the City 2", which yes, I will eventually go and see because I am a girl, love fashion and loved the show.

The Sax refers to a number or great saxophonists performing in our fair and very hot (literally) city this week.

For example, tonight Vern Dorge is at the Rex for the 6:30 show followed by Quinsin Natchoff back in town - for the 9:30 show with what looks like a great band. Quinsin is also part of the Dave McMurdo orchestra/big band tomorrow night at the Old Mill. Then tomorrow night at the Rex for the late show it's Vancouver's fabulous Phil Dwyer! It's always a treat when he comes to town and he apparently was part of the music for the Art of Time Ensemble show down at Harbourfront last night and again tonight.

Ali Berkok's group Arkana Music has a CD release at Tranzac tomorrow night with some great opening acts - Canaille which features "Jazzology" guest Dan Gaucher and "Hobson's Choice" - with Michael Davidson on vibes. Doors open at 7:30 and shows start at 8 p.m.

Foodies - Jae Steele is having a cookbook release at the Foodshare HQ on Croatia Street tonight with munchies at 7 p.m.

What's with the dolphins - I adore them and it's a lovely cooling image. Plus this is Compassion Week so visit to find out more. You can use your favourite animal as your Facebook profile photo.

Today I am channeling vampire and avoiding the sun....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Melissa Manchester and Stan Getz - Sophisticated Lady

The fun things you find on You Tube - one of my favourite tunes....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden goddess

Some delayed photos of Tunnel Six band from the Rex last week - as I write they are off on their cross Canada or continent tour....exciting stuff.

The band sounded great and there was an enthusiastic full house including Heather and Mark Segger fellow U of T grads along with Ben Dietschi.

Oh, the anticipation of summer veggies - we cycled over to Urban Harvest on Soauren this morning and bought Purple Calabash tomato and Japanese Black Triefele plus basil, oregano, zucchini. Seeds: Provider Bush Bean, Luscious Lettuce Mix, Dinosaur Kale, Rainbow Chard, beets, Flamingo Chard and Tat soi...can't wait to see it come up and later harvest some....the sorrel plant is still surviving!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tunnel Six

That seems like a very offbeat title for the article - you are probably wondering is she giving directions? Has she lost it? No, it's the name of Ben Dietschi's group a sextet of young musicians who met at Banff - from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and across Canada - they are appearing tonight at the Rex for the 9:30 show. The group is off on a cross country (or partly continent - since they are swinging down into the U.S.) tour thanks to a federal grant - be sure to catch them in your town/city/village/club/theatre...Ben is a graduate of the Master's program at U of T, "Jazzology" graduate and a great sax player and composer.  The guys are going to record an album in Portland Oregon after their tour.

Also this evening at the Reservoir the usual musical marvels and mayhem with Bradley and the Bouncers.

Coming up...Lily Frost does 2 shows at Hugh's Room - the first on Thursday more folk oriented and the second on Friday to the swing and jazz end of the spectrum. Both are sure to be great - I really enjoyed her when she did a Live to Air at Jazz FM with her band the Debonnaires.

Bev Taft is at the Dominion on Queen tomorrow at 8:30 - catch her before she bids adieu and is off on a trip to Paris. Not that I am jealous - bien, un peu.

Friday Ori Dagan - bass and bass with his friend Alex Bellegarde from Montreal, Margot Roi is at the Home Smith Bar, Dan Bodanis as per usual at Azure (Thurday - Saturday), Richard Underhill is guest artist at Quotes  and there are more listings to come as they occur to me...

On a sad note it's off to Woodbridge this evening and a memorial service for Paul Wilde - longtime volunteer with the EJS and Yardbird. Paul's gentle nature, enthusiasm, passion and hard work will be sorely missed by all. He was an integral part of the jazz community.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Luscious Peggy Lee

I was reading today that Miss Lee's popularity has had a resurgence what with a CD compilation - "Come Rain or Come Shine" selling like the proverbial hotcakes at Starbucks - but guess what folks, Peggy has always been and will be forever cool.

That sultry voice, slipping over your skin like an ice cube on a sweltering summer day - what can be better than that? Witness her signature tunes "Fever", "Why Don't You Do Right?" and my fave "I Don't Know Enough about You". Peggy penned that one.

A wonderfully mysterious, glamorous and enigmatic entertainer - she was not only a singer but an actress - Oscar nominated for "Pete Kelly's Blues" and composer and lyricist.  She is equally convincing declaring a woman's multitasking skills "I'm a Woman" as she is with her world weary lament "Is That All There Is"?

Pretty good for a gal born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota....who got her start being heard on local radio in Fargo and later rose to fame after being discovered by Benny Goodman or rather his fiance at the time at Chicago's Buttery. Goodman, fortunately for Peggy,  was looking for a replacement for his girl singer Helen Forrest - although his intense concentration on her singing unnerved her a little at her "audition". I think he knew a jewel when he saw it, that's all.

As a child you were likely soothed by her voice in the Disney classic "Lady and the Tramp" and her composing skills were on display in "Johnny Guitar", "Anatomy of a Murder" and "With a Song in My Heart" to name a few. Among her many honours were a Lifetime Grammy award after countless nominations - how about 3 top ten hits in as many decades - "Somebody is Taking Your Place" and "Manana" - (which she wrote and was Capitol's biggest singer songwriter chart topper until four lads from Liverpool came along) she proved a solid producer for her label Capitol Records. Peggy had a brief stay at Decca in the 50's which produced one of her signature albums "Black Coffee" - I consider Peggy to do the definitive version of that tune.

In the age of sometimes disposable icons - it's refreshing that people discover this sophisticated lady anew.  I'll leave it to a fellow crooner to sum up her talents:

"Her wonderful talent should be studied by all vocalists; her regal presence is pure elegance and charm"  - Frank Sinatra

Visit for more insight and info on this divine femme.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Passing the torch or trombone, trumpet.....

As always - how delightful to see the talents of young jazz musicians - the Humber Community Outreach Bands and the Jazz FM Youth Band....

I caught the last of the Honour Combo "A" group - phenomenal - you will get to hear them at the Beaches Jazz Festival - so check that out.

Matthew Chalmers cooking on the vibes...the Jazz FM group - that's Jules Estrin conducting - did "Groovin High" and "Morocco" as part of their set.  There were also of course many proud parents in attendance.....and Cathy Mitro doing the emcee honours.

In attendance: Kirk McDonald, Jim Vivian, Nathan Hiltz, Jonathan Kay...among others - of course there are many of Canada's finest on staff at Humber and other schools.

Thank you to the Rex for setting aside this time to foster the future.

Lastly, speaking of "yute" - go check out Chris Butcher on trombone and Jon Challoner on trumpet at Grossman's tonight at 9ish (on Spadina) and their group The Heavyweights Brass Band - everything from funky New Orleans to Lady Gaga...

Hank Jones

For My Father

Another jazz legend is gone - Hank Jones passed away yesterday - Sunday May 16th. He was 91 - the much honoured and awarded pianist was made an NEA Jazz Master and recieved an honorary doctorate from University of Hartford as well as a Lifetime Grammy Award in addition to numerous nomiations.  He appeared on over 60 albums and in addition to his elegant piano was known as a bandleader and composer.

Hank's talents were fostered in a musical family - in fact two of the seven brothers and sisters - Elvin and Thad - drums and trumpet respectively became respected jazz musicians as well - one of jazz' most famous families.  He performed with the Who's Who of jazz including Ella Fitzgerald - as accompanist, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker, Diana Krall, Charlie Haden....his versatility, sensitivity and eloquence made him an in demand musician.

Jones continued to perform up until recently including working with the lovely Roberta Gambarini and Joe Lovano. I am listening to the exquisite "For My Father" - with George Mraz and Dennis Mackrel.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Come to the Cabaret

You may not see Liza but there will be DK and Denzal, Heather and John to name a few. Thanks to  a hot tip from my theatre and jazz junkie friend and Soulpepper volunteer Judy Wineberg, I know that the Young Centre at the Distillery is introducing a Cabaret series on Saturdays at 10 p.m.

Located in the intimately created Kevin and Roger Garland Cabaret Theatre it features some of the best performers around for a mere $15 - $10 if you have seen one of the much lauded Soulpepper Productions that same day.......a steal! Plus there is a licensed bar. Having been to the Cabaret series in the fall I know this is a wonderfully cozy setting - perfect for enjoying the music.

Here are a few teasers:  delightful redhead Miranda Mulholland - vocalist and violinist tonight, the towering, powerful and caramel vocals of DK Ibomeka on May 22nd, artiste Patricia O'Callaghan on June 5, divine Denzal on June 12, Chris Whitely and Diana Braithwaite with some blues on June 26, the debonair John Alcorn on July 17th and Jazz FM's own charmer Heather Bambrick on July 26th...whew....

 The Distillery is also a great area for atmosphere, great food and restaurants, shopping (like Distill for jewellery), soul satisfying coffee at Balzac's and heavenly chocolate from Soma....

Jazz fans two events I know of this evening: Margot Roi holds court at Ten Feet Tall on the Danforth this evening and Jim Gelcer Trio at the Old Mill - around 7:30 - Justin Gray is on bass I understand so I will try and make it there after community garden clean up...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serendipity in Kensington

How fun to run into Max Sennitt in Kensington Market - Max has a gig at Gate 403 on Friday con sus Amigos and he tells me he is off to Europe for a 10 city tour with the wonderful Alex Cuba...

Mark Eisenman posted on Facebook that he had a gig at the China House - a Chinese restaurant up at 925 Eglinton Avenue West - just west of Bathurst with Pat Collins and Barry Elmes - here's hoping that's a regular - an establishment that has been around since 1958 serving Cantonese cuisine...Mark billed it as "Jelly Roll with your Egg Roll"?

Check out Marc Myers Jazz Wax on jazz spouses i.e. those married to famous musicians and how they keep or kept the home fires burning, taking care of the day to day details and what happens after the spouse passes away. Sage advice on how to take of themselves and the legacy....

The photos in the midst of all this are frivolous desires - items from the Alternative Outfitters website I am currently coveting - the Steve Madden shoes are very girly.

I believe the bag is Steve Madden as well.....taped the second of the department head "Jazzology" series - Jim Lewis from U of T - next up - Pat Collins then Mike Murley - stay tuned for air dates....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hidden treasures

That's how I feel about student recitals - great concerts by up and coming musicians - for free....and last night's recital by Colin Power was no exception. I particularly liked "2,000 miles away" which he wrote at Banff - where I once spent 3 weeks on an Arts Adminstration training course while living in Edmonton.

Supporting band? Kelsey Grant on trombone and Fabio Ragnelli on drums to mention two and the amazing Michael Davidson on's not often enough I hear that instrument - especially from a younger player - I hope to hear him again soon...

A little Facebook update - congratulations to the Youth in the City Honour A Band (whom I'm sure you'll get to hear on Sunday at the Rex) - including one Matthew Chalmers - the future Don Thompson - since he's already playing drums and now vibes....will piano be next or bass or does he already play those?

2010 Youth Jazz in the City Honour Combo A:

Sam Dickinson - guitar

Justin Poon - guitar

Julian Anderson-Bowes - bass

Matthew Chalmers - drums
Tomorrow night providing this sore throat is held in check by Oil of Oregano and Cold F/X I hope to go hear Madeline Forster at the Rex...oh and I got an email from Nathan Dell-Vandenberg about his upcoming CD release on May 28th. Nathan is a former "Jazzology" guest, Humber grad and a trombone player so of course he gets preferential treatment...:)
That's the info he sent me at the top of the page....I must check out that venue - that's a new one on me....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lovely Lena

The elegant, outspoken, singer, dancer, actress and activist passed away yesterday at the age of 92. The multiple Grammy winner, born to a middle class family in Brooklyn, first got her start as a teen in the chorus line at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1930s, toured with bands and then in the early 40s moved to Hollywood and some fame in  the films "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather" - that's where I first heard of her - watching it on television one night and was bewitched by this captivating creature.

Lena produced many recordings in addition to her film and TV work and was a longtime friend of the great Billy Strayhorn.

Unfortunately her political views got her blacklisted in the 1950s and she returned to nightclub shows. She took part in the March on Washington and continued to actively perform including appearances on variety shows and TV - including "The Cosby Show", and a special with Harry Belafonte - a fellow activist -  a very well received Broadway show "Lena Horne - the Lady and her Music" - after her supposed retirement in 1980 and for which she won a Tony award which was among her many accolades and honours.

Lena wanted the part of Julie in the musical "Show Boat" but was nixed as the studio was wary of interracial romance on film - the part went to Ava Gardner with the singing dubbed. It was unfortunate because of the times Lena could have been an even bigger star.

More than just a pretty face she was long a Civil Rights activist - she was a pinup for black GI's and had to perform for segregated audiences - at one point walking offstage when she thought she was performing to an integrated audience - which turned out to be black servicemen and German POWs.  Thank you for your music and your beautiful soul, Miss Horne.

I hear a film bio may be in the works - produced by Oprah and starring Alicia Keys?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A warm crisp on a blustery day

Adapted from Jae Steele's "Get it Ripe" - using reject peaches and plums from the Kitchen Table downstairs - that's the discount area where there are numerous fruits and veggies that are perfectly good - just sometimes a little bruised or the "just ripe" area as I call it. Bargains galore.

I added some pecans in too....and speaking of food and feeling cozy - why not head over to Azure to hear Dan and the boys - they have a brand new VEGETARIAN menu - I tried the Pappardelle dish last night - can't wait to sample more...Pat Collins was sitting in on bass and getting mentally prepared for his "Jazzology" interview...

What's on tonight around town you might ask - aside from Azure? Well, Laila Biali for one is at the Old Mill, Max Senitt y sus Amigos at Tequila Bookworm at 9 for starters. I had a late lunch and was entertained at the Rex this after by Danny Marks - his usual Saturday noon - 3 gig - but there will be sub next always continuous music at the Rex. Check the links on the page and find more jazz at the venues in T.O. -  remember I am your somewhat subjective guide...:)

I'm going to Colin Power's recital on Monday at U of T and plan to drop in to the Rex on Wednesday for Madeline Forster's 9:30 set....Wednesday is also Girls' Night Out up at Chalkers for you aspiring chanteuses.....

Tonight I may just be having some Magic Oven pizza, listening to the wind howling and reading "Shanghai Girls" with Irene Kral in the background...

Friday, May 7, 2010

KarmaTube: How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

KarmaTube: How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

I would add listen to jazz - I plan to check out the book she recommends - what a great title "Born to be Good"!

I love a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama - one of my personal heroes - "KINDNESS is my religion".

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Girl stuff

Hey all - the GNO post is up on the Jazz Fm blog - check it out..

In the midst of all my running around yesterday I did have time to indulge my beauty addiction - the new Shoppers Drug Mart is now open on Queen - just east of Spadina and they carry Bourjois - a line I fell in love with at Sephora but they either seemed to have dropped or never had items in stock - exciting - there is a great coral nail polish colour plus lots of other goodies including their lipglosses which I love..I had heard before they were a lower end line of a French couture line - Guerlain?

I also checked out Anna Sui which they carry - her packaging is so pretty - with all the rose themes - lovely compacts, and particularly the nail polishes - gorgeous. I succumbed and got #700 - pictured here a lovely pale pink with a bit of sheen but so many colours to choose from - very feminine.

Also in my recent shopping this great would I call it peacock or turquoise purse from Winners - comes with it's own wallet and lots of compartments...

Tonight is the annual (and sold out) "Jazz Lives" at Con Hall - I'm looking forward to Branford Marsalis and of course the stellar Benny Green.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A New York State of Mind

To quote some Billy Joel - music of my adolescence. Really a Brooklyn state of mind as I went to see Jake Ehrenreich's hilarious and poignant memoir "A Jew Grows in Brooklyn" at the Panasonic Theatre today.

The set is meant to resemble the front porch of his family home in that borough - complete with dum bump...

There is rock and roll (he almost made it into KISS), lots of humour, a little Yiddish lesson and insight into this talented (and handsome) actor, singer and musician's life (evidence by his playing trumpet, trombone and drums)...coming to grips with wanting to be as "American as apple pie" and fit in with his friends and also honouring his heritage and particularly the history of his parents as immigrants and Holocaust survivors. It's a touching tribute to his origins and the people who shaped them.

Oy geyvalt - we even take a trip to the a goyim I felt honoured to be part of the audience.  Might I also add I find Jewish men very attractive? He has also written a book based on the show....

Earlier that afternoon was the soulful Yvette Tollar and her band at Yonge Dundas Square - for free! Dave Restivo, Rich Brown, Larnell Lewis, Ernie embarassment of riches and a beautiful day to boot.

As if that weren't enough I got to watch a lovely little movie called "Adam" starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne - an unlikely romance between an electronics engineer who happens to have Asperger's Syndrome and a schoolteacher - set in....yes, New Yawk. A nice gem of a movie - Hugh Dancy does a great job and the movie also features Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving - who starred in one of my fave romantic comedies..."Crossing Delancey"....gee, I love how this all works together....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oot and aboot in T.O.

A few things happening around town - this via Meetup - there is Open Jam Night hosted by Carolyn T and her band at Harlem Restaurant - Mondays - 8 p.m. - midnight - Jazz, Soul, R and B, and has been happening for the past year. The band consists of bass,d rums keys and vocals - so you can sing or sit in on any instrument. Nice!

Harlem Restaurant

67 Richmond Street East Toronto ON M5C 1N9

(between Jarvis & Church on the south side & close to Queen

subway station)
2. Laila Biali, superb pianist/vocalist is at the Old Mill Inn on Friday and Saturday - 7:30 - Home Smith Bar with Jordan O'Connor on bass and Ben Whitman on drums. No cover. $20 minimum - a heck of a deal to hear this amazing talent!
3. I just got a call from Carol Laimer about Jim Gelcer's Trio - this is a bit ahead at the Old Mill on May 15th - that place is hopping.
4. Jazz Lives - on Thursday 8 p.m. I will be there and not be if! Blog to follow...
And finally, check out for a brief tribute to Paul Wilde and photo seen here - there will be a memorial to Paul, details to follow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Embracing your Demons

Shuffle that is....tonight is the start of the fortnightly (is that a word?) residency of the great Toronto ensemble at the Orbit Room on College starting at 10.

Yvette Tollar has a lunch hour gig at Yonge Dundas Square on Wednesday and Eliana Cuevas is at the Four Seasons Centre for the free 5:30 - 6:30 concert...hola!

More to come...of course the community is still in a state of shock about Rob McConnell - an incredible contribution to Canada's jazz profile internationally. His acerbic sense of humour, his great charts, musicianship and leadership...we know there's a chair for him in the big bandstand in the sky.

Visit for details on an on air tribute tonight and of course there is a wonderful documentary on Rob (I had the pleasure of transcribing this) - reminiscences of numerous musicians who worked with him including the great Guido Basso and narrated by our own Ross Porter. While there check out the Canadian Jazz Archive online.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Memoriam - Rob McConnell

Again, sad news to impart today courtesy of Pat Collins' posting on Facebook. Legendary trombonist, bandleader, composer and arranger Rob McConnell passed away yesterday in hospital after a period of failing health due to liver cancer. He was 75.

The photo is from Makoto 2007 on I had photos like this too from that Canada Day concert - but they were accidentally erased in the Barbados....

The world is a better place for Rob's contributions with the world renowned Boss Brass and Tentets. He assembled some of the most amazing musicians in Canada and in fact anywhere. I'm glad I got to hear the Brass on Canada Day last year and that my brother Colin was part of the group.

Thank you Rob and bless you. Condolences to his family and his musical family. Your legacy lives on.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Everytime we say Goodbye....

Some further sad and sudden news from Edmonton this morning. Monique Bielich called to say Paul Wilde had passed away sometime Thursday from an apparent cardiac arrest. He didn't make his usual Tai Chi class and neighbours noticed his lights were on the next morning.

Paul was an enthusiastic and tireless supporter of jazz in Edmonton in his many roles at the Yardbird Suite and Edmonton Jazz Society and as Stage Manager during the Jazz City festival years. He was a calming and steady influence who was very proud of the Yardbird's longevity - I remember how happy he was to show me around and described all the renovations and improvements last August when I visited. Paul you were such an integral part of the scene, your absence will be felt most deeply. Bless you.

A correction - better late than never - I blame tiredness on my part but I should have given credit to Adrian Gross being part of the Slocan Ramblers bluegrass group and not Rob Capelletto....mea maxima culpa Adrian.