Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Don't Know Enough About You - Peggy Lee

The incomparable Peggy Lee - I did this song for my recording in my Bill King's vocal workshop...but of course, not even close to this!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally made it to China House

And the verdict - loved it! Such a pleasure to see Larry Green again too! I find the place wonderfully retro with the 1950's interior complete with crossing over a bridge to get into the restaurant. Plus, they have brown rice and lots of veggie dishes - I had the mixed vegetables which were yummy. Decent drink selection as well.

The sound is wonderful too - how great to hear Rob Cappelletto on guitar, Mark Herrera on bass, Jon Maharaj on bass and the inimitable Barry Romberg behind the drum kit. Upcoming gigs include Mike Murley (with a great band including Terry Clarke, Pat Collins and Dave Restivo), Dave Young, Daniel Barnes, Reg Schwager and pianist/singer Mike Lewis - a must see Larry tells me. He is justifiably proud of his music programming in the venue.

I urge you to check it minor point, as there is no official quiet policy sometimes large parties can get raucous - still it is nowhere near the level it gets to often at the Rex.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


How wonderful this gripping film was nominated for Best Foreign Film - congratulations to all involved - well done.

Other nominations as predicted - too many actors in the acting categories to choose from - notable omissions - Ryan Gosling for "Blue Valentine", Dustin Hoffman in "Barneys' Version" and my current dreamboat - Paul Giamatti...sigh. Saw him being interviewed by etalk - he seems so sweet - not curmudgeonly at all - I like the way he says "Mawn tree all"....I could just eat him up..okay, enough with gushing before I become a puddle. Speaking of dreamboats - can't wait to see Javier Bardem in "Biutiful" - he got a Best Actor nod for that one.

Ryan Gosling - yes, he is Canadian - gets better and better all the time - I'm sure there will be numerous nominations in his future. He has a particular gift for letting his co-stars shine as well. He was amazing in  "Lars and the Real Girl", making his character sympathetic instead of creepy.

Jazz notes - it turns out I will be able to go to China House after all on Thursday - vocal workshop is Wednesday this week. I am working on Peggy Lee's "I Don't Know Enough About You" - which will be recorded..gulp. Also going to hear Mike Janzen Trio on Saturday at Glenn Gould - that's with Ben Riley and George Koller plus - my he certainly gets around, Mike Murley as special guest. Monday to the "Made in Canada" Sound of Toronto on Monday - featuring Jane Bunnett and Dave Young and Terry Clarke and Joe Sealy...they are also Order of Canada recipients..nice!

For info on Mike Janzen visit

Bill King sent an email about more great Canadians at Lula Lounge on February 27th - the "Juno Jazz All Stars" in celebration of the 40th anniversary - included are Guido Basso, Hilario Duran, Pat LaBarbera, Don Thompson and on and on. Doors at 7 and show starts at 8 p.m. To reserve a table please call 416 588-0307 or email
Tickets are only $15!! All proceeds go to Music Counts at - and it certainly does!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Caramel Apple Pie

I apologize for making you salivate today...this baby is going over to my brother and sister-in-laws later...some warmth for a very chilly day.

Saw "Incendies" last night - incredible film - you should go...totally Oscar contention-worthy if not winning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Murley

Murley/Murray - yes there is some connection there - plus Mike is also from Nova Scotia - where my dad is from -  and yes, he is head of Jazz Studies at York - so we email back and forth about "Jazzology" - and he is one of my favourite saxophonists.

Tonight at the Rex is a much anticipated CD release with his Septet - that's the 9:30 show. He's also performing at the Pilot on Saturday afternoon with a quartet and coming up at China House on February 3rd. Speaking of which Adrean Farrugia is there tonight and the "Young Lions" group next week - which includes Robb Cappelletto - former "Jazzology" guest and York students...York and "Jazzology" and Mr. Murley - you see the thread.

I went to a great lecture on Tuesday night at the Revue Cinema - film noir - "The Road to Perdition" - this will be a series through Ryerson and upcoming topics include "The Wrong Man" and "Femme Fatale" - can't wait - because Film Noir and jazz are very simpatico. I was just thinking that "No Country for Old Men" was very noir - with Josh Brolin the average joe who finds the stash of drug money, the shades of grey, the villainy of Javier Bardem, the ambiguous ending. Not so much the black and white cinematography anymore - but that would be cool if someone would do a film like that too. We already know the Coen brothers are fans - one of their early films was "Blood Simple" and of course, "Miller's Crossing" and "The Man Who Wasn't There".

Monday, January 17, 2011

A shameless plug

Check out Kristin Carr's new release "Crazy Sexy Diet" - I'm a fan of her blog - she is a major inspiration for taking the lemons life may hand you and squeezing them into your green smoothie. She has many fab contributors on her site as well including John Robbins, Neal Barnard and Rory Freedman.

She is scheduled to appear on "Good Morning America" tomorrow around 8:30 a.m.

A little sunshine for the reported "Blue Monday" or most depressing day of the year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Raw Food Workshop with Meghan Telpner

 After trudging along Queen street on this very snowy day - I was looking forward to a. getting inside and dry and b. eating some delicious food with good company.

I adore Meghan's blog - "Making Love in the Kitchen" so I was really anticipating this workshop - there were about dozen hungry souls gathered around the table - which already had kale chips and crudites on it, not to mention water flavoured with lavender or lemongrass, plus some crackers....

It was a treat to sample a delicious green smoothie, healthy "hot" chocolate, green dip, an amazing caulifower couscous, zucchini and kelp noodle with pesto dish - obviously I was too busy scarfing that down to take a photo plus, people there were CHOCOLATES for dessert and fruit "roll ups" - which tasted far better than their commercial version.

Throughout there was lots of helpful information, including benefits of such superfoods as Maca, spirulina, chia cacao and laughter. While we were there our leader was being filmed! She is already an nutrition expert on the Marilyn Dennis show.

I couldn't resist buying Irish Moss, a nut mylk bag (which I have been searching for) kelp noodles and da da da DAH! - a spiralizer!!! Finally! Made by Paderno - it was reasonably priced - looks sufficiently chic and Italian and yes, I already tried it out with a cucumber.  Next year I aspire to go on her retreat to St. Lucia - that would be fab.

She has more classes coming up so be sure to check our her

Wonderful gig last night - Dominic Farinacci and his band at Jazz post soon..

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Halie Loren

Sometimes the multitude of emails that land in your inbox can be a blessing - take for example - because I am obviously on file as a jazz fan they let me know about this Eugene, Oregon based singer/songwriter.

I have checked out a few samples from her CD "After Dark" and was very impressed with her sultry style - particularly on "In a Sentimental Mood". She immediately makes a connection with her listener - at turns shy and tentative but also forthright or a note perfect take on a blues with a tune from another album "They Oughta Write a Song". It's like being caressed by a warm summer breeze while sipping something cool. I certainly would love to hear her in a live setting.

She has apparently earned some renown as a songwriter and as they say is a rising star....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Commonwealth - a New Music Project

This just in - courtesy of Colin Power - a former guest on "Jazzology" from U of T - an exciting concert coming up on January 24th for a worthy cause PLUS how often do you get to hear musicians from "down unda"?

Colin and bassist Patrick Reid have even written some music to be performed by the Quartet.

See you there, mate. (Okay, enough with the Aussie).

Cafe Prowl

This morning after a 7 a.m. Boot Camp at CORE - yes 7 a.m. - I am proud of myself for getting up that early - even though I was waking up on the hour or possibly half hour afeard of sleeping in!

I decided to branch out and check out two newish cafes which have come to my attention - either from strolling by or being written up in the Toronto Star. The first is on Spadina at Adelaide and called Senses - they have an amazing selection of brew concoctions available - I went for the Turkish latte as it promised cinnamon and cardamom - two of my favourite spices and those I usually add into my french press coffee at home.

Initially I thought - hmmm...Turkish, does that mean it takes longer to brew? But I realized in the busy morning rush they had forgotten about me. But talk about great customer service - they apologized profusely and brought me a complimentary pain au chocolat - freshly baked...exquisite! The coffee, served in a bowl was wonderful as well...I will return.

Next, after my optometrist visit - I was getting a new round of contacts and eyeing (ooo bad pun alert) some new frames - by FYSH - lavender/lacy cutout on the arms...I got another caffeine hit closer to home at Thor - at 35 Bathurst Street and Niagara. As befitting it's name - it's a clean, minimal, bright space - with comfy modern Eames chairs - not the hard wood surfaces that are a little unkind to aging backs in other places I could name. They have been open about a month and a half and offer tempting looking scones, breakfast cookies, lots of hipster reading material - plus they are really close to my residence. There are plans for some outdoor seating when the weather becomes more promising.

Musically now - a couple of happenings - if you are in NYC be sure and check out Dan Jamieson's Quintet at Miles Cafe - 212 E 52nd Street - so wish I could! It's this Thursday night starting at 9:30 p.m.  Yet another jazz club I didn't know about. I will be there in spirit and so I can live through those who are able to,, - 

Also coming u

Also, former 13th
212 E 52nd St.
 - drums


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunny Side of the Street

Well, this tune came to mind after a stroll over to a new veg cafe on Dundas - 1371 actually - just west of Dovercourt - E.L. Ruddy's. It's a funky little spot with an interesting mish mash of furnishings and yummy offerings - mostly vegan with some vegetarian offerings and lots of gluten free. There's a great variety of soups including Vegetable Barley, Mexican Black Bean and what I sampled Cashew Cream Tomato and Yam - complete with homebaked bread..nom nom nom as Cookie Monster says. Numerous options titled "Boring Breakfast" are available as well. Also sampled the Fennel and Pea Risotto..yummm. The proprietor offers Ideal Coffee and Tealish Tea as sure to check out this cozy cafe - open Tuesday through Thursday 9  - 8 p.m. Friday - Sunday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. - closed Mondays.

This photo is from their Facebook page...the space is adorable. One of the owners herself is waiting tables - Helena Kosikova, perhaps a little harried but smiling - if they continue to be as busy as evidenced by the steady stream of customers - they may need an extra body or two.

Connie Kaldor was throughly enjoyable last night - as always, very funny and entertaining - she joked that she was possibly the only person who had given birth to 50 percent of her band - her sons were with her last night.  Of course it included the treasures of "Wood River" and "Bird on a Wing" and the poignant "A Mother's Prayer". Connie switched back and forth between guitar and piano and obviously still holds her Saskatchewan roots close to her heart - witness "Family Farm" and the cute double entendre number about "if you like her perogies she will like your kielbasa".  Always a delight to hear plain and simple, simply good singer/songwriters.

I had this discussion with a couple of people at Azure on Friday night - that it seems many people and particularly of a younger crowd may be missing out on the joy and spontaneity, the comraderie and communal experience of live music - now being used to downloading whatever they want to hear...a little sad that.

When I got home last night - caught Paul Giamatti on The Daily Show - he seemed really nervous chatting with Jon Stewart - giggling and fidgeting in his chair like a teenage girl....of course, that endears him to me all the more.

Also channel surfing - "The Exorcist" - somewhat laughable special effects now and perhaps even then - not really scary at all...perhaps I am jaded by the all the archness of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"...:)

Some beauty admist the late night - the Christian Dior Spring 2011 fashion show with John Galliano taking a bow at the end - beautiful, colourful, airy, feminine and ethereal creations. Gorgeous.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Assassins - but not of jazz

Please go and see this production at the Toronto Theatre Centre and not just because the delightful Whitney Ross-Barris is in it..well, okay maybe you should go and see it because of her - she plays Emma Goldman and other ensemble parts. People it was written by Stephen Sondheim....controversial when it debuted in 1990 due to the subject matter - would be and successful presidential assailants it has finally made a connection in the 21st century. Trust me you will want to Google all the personae involved...particularly Charles Guiteau - who killed James Garfield - self styled lawyer, evangelist, speaker, author and obviously a little crazy proving that he who defends himself has a fool for a client.

The performances are superb. Really thought provoking....

Ahem, on a more cheerful note - catch Ori Dagan and his Elvis Tribute at Ten Feet Tall tonight on the Danforth and tomorrow - Danica Leigh is at a place called Wilson 96...I will be going to check out that one - it's at 615 College.

I feel like I'm a little out of the loop on happenings - the tendency in Canada to hibernate during the winter months of course and perhaps not writing as much - ergo, less attention and praise. I hope to have a posting up on the Jazz FM website shortly on the vocal workshop...

Yes, back to vocal workshop this week....round 2. Must get up to China House some Thursday - may have to play hookey - Mike Murley is there on February 3rd.

Speaking of Murley - he's also performing at the Pilot on the 22nd - the Pilot is also now offering Brunch all day....

I'm off to see Connie Kaldor at Hugh's Room tonight on a very snowy Saturday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to the Blog

I realize I have neglected to post anything over say the past few days and it's time to get back to the keyboard - New Year and all - I am looking forward to all that 2011 can bring - filled with good surprises.

Over the past week I have had the pleasure of cat sitting - Freyja and Inanna - two delightful 8 year olds - one tortie and one black - they are real sweethearts - wonderful temperments and very friendly. I am posting photos of said kitties. It certainly is nice having a cat around again...

Went to see "True Grit" on New Year's Eve - I advise you do so as well - it's great. Jeff Bridges may erase any memories of John Wayne - he is outstanding as is the young actress Hailee Steinfeld.........and Matt Damon as the vain Texas Ranger John LeBoeuf. I'm pretty sure there will be Oscar noms all around...

I am currently reading "Tales of a Female Nomad" which is fascinating and at the same time frustrating - as it brings up issues for me - the wanderlust, the feeling I haven't accomplished much reading about a late 40's woman who has adventures and has published numerous books...sigh. I am going to perservere though as obviously this is hitting a nerve. Something I need to work through obviously - my feelings of insecurity - a project for 2011, if you will.

I am excited to go and see "Assassins" on Thursday at the Toronto Theatre Centre as Whitney Ross-Barris is in it. I am also looking forward to another round of Bill King's Vocal Workshop "The Singer and the Song" - onward and upward!  I am grateful in 2010 that I achieved a couple of goals - singing onstage at GNO and having a winter tropical vacation plus taking my first trip outside Canada alone - well almost alone - the flying part to NY and going to a jazz club there by myself. Baby steps...

I have also gotten to know many great people through Facebook - among them Dan Bodanis - a talented musician and positive individual...I hope to make many more friends in the New Year. I also regret the loss of some old friends - the untimely passing of Paul Wilde and Craig Magill and the departure of my friend and mentor Larry Green from Jazz FM - but of course, not from this earth - he has a lot more to give - check out the great lineup at China House every Thursday!

I do feel I am getting more confident every day and living up to the Goddess label. Here's to a magical year!