Friday, November 26, 2010 it's cold outside!

This was taken last March or so at the end of the winter season - a great buy from Lorne's Coats on Spadina.

Today I had to haul it out as it is rather nippy and windy here in T.O. - a bit of a shock to our extended fall - I am happy to report it is indeed cozy. It could be worse as reports from Alberta are in the minus territory - a friend said it was a HIGH of -17 I remember it well...remember, it's a dry cold. Should prove interesting for the Grey Cup on Sunday...go Riders!!

Speaking of fans of the Green and White, tonight it's hubby's birthday dinner at Veg Haven likely followed by some bluegrass as delivered by the Slocan Ramblers at Graffiti's in Kensington Market. I made a very rich cake from Ani Phyo's cookbook - "Ani's Raw Food Essentials" - coconut cake with "nutella" hazelnut sauce - decadent!

Also on the radar this weekend - Tony Monaco is in residence at Chalker's Pub tonight through Sunday - $30 and I'm looking forward to Norma Winstone and Fred Hersch at Glenn Gould after a day at the Whole Health Expo - helping out Jalanna at Soul Symbols.

I remind you that vocalist Pat Murray has her CD release tomorrow afternoon at the Rex - 3:30 and the last John McLeod and the Rex Hotel Orchestra on Monday night...of this year.

Stay warm...I am hoping to fit in some heated Hatha prior to dinner. Had an enlightening session with Linda Eales at All One Clinic this morning - some Body Talk therapy...reminds me I should also schedule some reflexology and on a beautification note - a haircut and facial.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Into the Mystic

With apologies to Van Morrison...but I had a wonderful tarot reading yesterday at Wonderworks on Harbord - I highly suggest booking an appointment with Monica on Mondays from 12 - 4 - very enlightening - in fact, I am thinking of dropping in to the Toronto Tarotists group on December 1 - bringing my deck, meeting new like minded souls and of course learning new perspectives on the fabled decks.... - also a great shop for many reasons - workshops, books, cards, crystals, oils...on and on....

I chose the Bohemia deck for my reading yesterday - very interesting and dark - this should be my role model - fiery and shining - stepping out on stage - that's me or what I aspire to with my singing. I am discovering it's okay to let my Leo out - thanks Nancy F - wise friend and counsellor and to quote Sly Stone...thankuformelettinmebemyselfagain. Also expressing myself - letting it out and not always be the nice girl, doing what is expected of me - I have been somewhat of the bird in the gilded cage but am asserting my independence more and trip to New York was an example of that - an impetuous yet very fulfilling excursion.

I have also taken up meditating - attempting to do so for at least 15 minutes a day and of course have added yoga a couple of times a week - all new things for me and things which nurture me.

Surprisingly my singing has the power to heal people and centre them - as does my That would be quite a gift.

I am practicing of course - "Where is Love" and I found a version of "Blame It On My Youth" on You Tube with Ol Blue Eyes - which is simple, straightforward and lovely.  I'm looking forward to Ian Shaw at The Old Mill on Monday and working at the Whole Life Expo on Saturday with Jalanna - there I hope to purchase some Lapis Lazuli jewellery which is also in aid of expressing myself, helping the throat chakra and opening my heart up more and trusting the universe

Today I made some chocolate chip cookies - which were more like chocolate and nut butter with oatmeal as the chocolate melted..oh well, it still tastes great - a recipe from Veg Times - "The heart healthiest chocolate cookies in the World".

Yesterday I went to an "Angel" by Thierry Mugler event - nibbles, lovely shower gel and body lotion samples and I think I may have won a door prize as the call display said they had phoned this morning when I was out but didn't leave a message...oh well, I know my Law of Attraction is working...:)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Whitney Ross Barris at Tranzac

Come wish her a happy birthday from 7:30 - 9:30 tonight. Whitney and Ailsa did a lovely duet on "Tis Autumn" last week at Ten Feet Tall.

Well, I continue to surprise myself and my nerves each week at the vocal workshop - I feel more confident all the time - last night I did great with "Crazy" and my assignment next week is "Blame It on My Youth"...or yute as Joe Pesci would say in one of my favourite movies "My Cousin Vinny". Also "Where is Love" for everyone - check out Irene Kral's glorious version - above. There are plans in the making - thanks to  Darlene - to corral us into singing at Girls Night Out the last Wednesday before our classes end....gulp.

Tomorrow is a trip to Brar Sweets - fabulous Indian buffet in Mississauga, visiting my dad in Welland - then Sunday it's the TVA AGM at Miles Nadal Community Centre - also the day of the annual Santa Claus Parade - wouldn't mind getting a glimpse of the Swarovski Crystal Swan - yes, I'm such a magpie.

Shout out to Diva D - radiant light to you - marvelous mermaid of N. Carolina!

Have to post the Irene Kral later as I must dash!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Cornucopia of Jazz

I've had a full plate of jazz these past few days - starting with Azure on Friday night - then Max Sennitt at Gate 403 followed on Saturday by my friend Ailsa McCreary's gig at Ten Feet Tall - in the audience were fellow vocalists Pat Murray and Whitney Ross-Barris. I overheard Pat planning an upcoming CD look forward to that.

Ailsa had the support of Mark Kieswetter on keys and Rod West on trumpet - she sounded as silky as usual and had a great 40's siren vibe with her pageboy haircut.

Last night I checked out Jake Koffman's smokin' quartet at Gate 403 - featuring Mikko Holden on a beautiful green guitar and one of our upcoming "Jazzology" guests - Derek Gray on drums,  before heading off to the Old Mill and the Sound of Toronto concert with the Jazz FM Youth Band and guest Bucky Pizzarelli. Whew. I think there may be something in the genes there with Jake - his grandfather was the great Moe Koffman after all.

I will post a blog about the concert on the Jazz FM website and be back later with more of what's going on musically around town...I also need to practice "Crazy" a la Patsy Cline for my vocal workshop this week.

I have tried out a couple of new heated classes at my studio, CORE and have enjoyed the results - Hatha yoga both times and a Pilates flow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feeling more confident

Well, each week that goes by I'm feeling more confident about singing in front of others - I'm relieved it gets easier - next week our assignment is "Crazy", one of my all time favourite tunes especially as immortalized by Patsy Cline - really, anything sung by Patsy!

Image courtesy of

I've also made more of a health commitment - walking, taking some heated flow classes offered by my studio CORE - that's at Queen and Augusta - hopefully more Hatha Yoga and gulp, pondering Boot Camp to really kick my efforts and butt into gear.

Tonight  - check out Chris Butcher with Kollage at Pero and Max Sennitt y Sus Amigos at Gate 403 - Max is not only great - he is an associate of Latin Grammy winner Alex Cuba's!

Remember Ailsa is at Ten Feet Tall tomorrow too. Last I checked only about $70,000 or so to go with our Fall Fundraising goal at Jazz FM 91!  Which means maybe no Sunday morning shift for moi...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jazzology underway

Well, in our scheduling at least and that is a mjaor component - I'm looking forward to meeting all the students that's for sure. Also, we are more than halfway toward the fall fundraising goal for Jazz FM 91.1 - woo hoo!

Listening to Melissa Lauren yesterday, I realize I have a  ways to go in my singing and I think vocal lessons (private) are in my I am thinking of stealing "Dream a Little Dream" and possibly giving "Corcovado" a go...sorry Dan B. :) (Inside joke). I don't think I can ever speak badly of a performer again now knowing how much practice, talent and technique is involved - and that's only me in a room of a few people - I can't imagine a whole stadium full. It was great to hear Nathan Hiltz - phenomenal on guitar as usual....

This weekend I watched "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" - my brother Colin's DVD which he loaned - it's a hoot - I think the casting of Robert Morse in "Mad Men" is a sly little reference to his starring role in this movie...there's a tune called "I Believe in You" that I'm surprised I haven't heard vocalists doing before...hmmmm.....

Couple of upcoming gigs - my fellow classmate Julie McGregor has a spot at the Reservoir Lounge - this Wednesday starting at 6:30 and my friend Ailsa is at Ten Feet Tall with a trio which includes Mark Kieswetter on Saturday from 8 - 10 p.m. More to come....

Today's menu is Russian Cabbage Soup with Herb Garden Biscuits....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Melissa Stylianou - needs your support

Please help support this incredible New York based and Toronto born singer in her 4th album endeavour - Melissa is not only talented but has a great knack for choosing interesting material....time is of the essence - only about $3,000 to surpass the goal of $13,500 - if you love jazz and supporting great artists - now is the time to put your money where your mouth is - plus great incentives - at certain levels - homemade cookies, and the possibility of a coffee chat with her how amazing is that - plus credit, CDs, t-shirts on and on...

On the local scene - there is Quotes with Al Kay at 5, always Azure with Dan and the guys from 5:30 and tomorrow night at Chalkers the sublime Fern Lindzon starting at 6 p.m. Sunday it's the monthly Melissa musical brunch at Gate 403 with Melissa Lauren (one of my favourite singers) and later on Chris Butcher's group playing some Blue Note selections at 9 p.m.  Check out Ori Dagan up at Yonge and Erskine the same Sunday evening at Alize.....

Last night we did "Someone to Watch Over Me" and again "Cry Me A River" - with me croaking and seemingly out of tune - as usual over analzying - I trust this gets easier and I get more comfortable - Bill as always is great.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Just a wee reminder to go online at or call 1-800-811-2400 to keep jazz on the air - yes, it's Jazz FM's fall fundraising campaign - filled with fun and lots of fabulous prizes plus the warm, cozy feeling you get from supporting Canada's premier jazz station and a non profit one at that!

Musically - check out Gord Sheard and some Brazilian beats at China House tomorrow night - myself I would be there - but my Thursday evenings are committed for the next few weeks....

Jazzology is on the go and we are moving towards scheduling and taping in short order...I'm always thrilled to meet the new crop of, guests....

I have been very Martha these days - lots of cooking and baking - today Green Tea and Walnut Biscotti and I've made Espresso Brownies and Sesame Cookies with Port thus far this week. Today's menu is a Spiced Squash Soup and a raw Cabbage slaw - that one's from Ani Phyo's book - the soup from Jae Steele's "Ripe from Around Here"'s soup season. I'm also planning on a wonderful Russian Cabbage Soup - courtesy of Marion Kane and the Star and some Herbed Garden Biscuits - again Ms. Steele.

Some of the baked goods will and have made their way to Jazz FM - maybe some Peanut Butter Oatmeal sandwich cookies are in the future or some Banana Chocolate Chip muffins...hmmmm...

My friend Richard feels I should have a show called "Jazz and Nibbles" or "Nibbles and Jazz"....