Friday, April 29, 2011

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Yes, I am such a girl - I did have to get up early for a Boot Camp class but caught some of the events and of course, taped them - beautiful dress - much in the spirit of Princess Grace - one of my faves.  Most beautiful the glances and smiles between the couple conveying a sense of comfort with each other and intimacy. Plus, they kissed twice on the balcony. Loved all the little girls and boys as well -too cute. Plus the stirring hymn "Jerusalem" which always gives me shivers thanks to Edward Elgar's music and William Blake's words

Prince Phillip seemed to enjoy himself immensely and Prince Harry...they were standing next to Pippa - Kate's sister. I couldn't help thinking as many I'm sure were - including William himself - wouldn't it have been wonderful for his mum to see..sniff sniff...yes, I was tearing up as I noticed Kate's mum was as well. A perfect day - the sun even appeared!

Many years of happiness to you both.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fern's CD release tonight at Lula - with a great band including Mike Murley, George Koller and Nick Fraser - I'm writing about it for the Purple Cabbage.... otherwise I would be up at China House to hear the Tom Szcsesniak Quartet.

Yes, hopeless sap and slave to current events that I am I will too be watching the royal nuptials - albeit taped as I have a Boot Camp class at the ungodly hour of 6:30 - however there will be souls awake before then to catch Wills and Kate and all the folderal...

P.J. Perry - one of my favourite saxophonists - has a gig at the Royal York Road United Church on Sunday - $20 - fundraising for the church's outreach programs. Just a short walk south from the Royal York subway and a great band including Neils Swainson, John Sumner and Mark Eisenman on piano.

Very blustery here today - quite an adventure getting to and from the station - I felt like Bridget Jones after her car ride...

I am seriously considering a spring cleanse of sorts as of May 1st - more juices, smoothies, raw - and getting sugar and junk out including excess fat.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TheRecord - Jazz society finds a home in Huether Hotel

TheRecord - Jazz society finds a home in Huether Hotel - interesting article - which does mention my old stomping grounds - the Yardbird.

I have been saying for a while now as many others have - do the Yardbird Suite model - a volunteer run, non profit jazz club, selling memberships and getting funding - particularly government - not the music as an afterthought or usually as a last ditch effort to bring in customers. As I noticed and certainly others have - jazz people are not huge drinkers - so if that is what you're hoping for - selling food and drink good luck. I think it's time for Toronto to get creative....we need a place for our great local musicians to play - especially the younger crowd, where they paid decently and get to hear and collaborate with great international artists...all in an environment that promotes the love and appreciation of jazz.

Congratulations to the Grand River Jazz Society! Woo hoo.

What's so great about Cole Porter?

Well, a lot actually - at a friend's suggestion I thought it would be fun and give me an opportunity to research a number of the great composers and artists of the jazz realm. Who better to start with than that witty, erudite, clever man from Indiana? I can't begin to name all the wonderful tunes that he composed - but here's a few "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Every Time we Say Goodbye", "You're the Top", "Begin the Beguine" and the sublime "So In Love".

According to Wikipedia and other sources including, the very sophisticated Cole Albert Porter was born June 9, 1891 - a date  supposedly moved to 1893 by his mother to make him appear more precocious - in the exotically named Peru, Indiana. He was the only child of a wealthy family and studied both violin and piano - his love of music largely influenced by his mother, who does seem to have been something of the dreaded stage mother - funding orchestras in town with the assurance that her son would get a solo. His grandfather had other ideas as to his profession - steering him into a career in law at Yale...even there though he sang and composed anthems er "fight" songs - for those big strong sporting men that are performed to this day and where he created a number of productions - obviously the germination for his Broadway musicals. It was at Harvard Law School that he realized it was no use fighting it - music and Mr. Porter were a perfect match.

To polish his continental air even further he moved to Paris in 1917 and was known for throwing lavish parties  - well, it only seems fitting doesn't it for the man who later wrote "I Get A Kick Out of You"? During this time he met and married socialite Linda Lee Thomas, 9 years his senior - providing a marriage of minds and sensibilities if not bodies - less accepting times for Porter's acknowledged homosexuality. They remained partners until her death in 1954 - some 35 years.

Needless to say the two enjoyed a hedonistic existence in Europe both in Paris and Italy - there are lots of bios and websites about his existence, studies, composing for ballets and such - but I won't bore you with those. Suffice to say he did return to the U.S. in the 1920s and his first Broadway production "Paris" in 1928 - the show was overshadowed by the death of his father - he returned to Indiana to comfort his mother - but did produced such gems as "Let's Do It", "What is This Thing Called Love" and "Let's Misbehave" - which lets face it is a bit of anthem for the heady 1920s themselves. Critics were less than enthusiastic about that and the following production "Fifty Million Frenchman"...isn't it interesting that one of the giants of American music got middling reviews? Irving Berlin, though took out newspaper ads extolling the virtues of his fellow composer...saving the show from closure! Way to go, Mr. Berlin.

Although we consider him pretty tame today some of his lyrics and indeed subject matter were considered quite risque for the time..see "Love for Sale".  Who better to accompany some divine Cole Porter music and lyrics than the elegant Fred Astaire in the "Gay Divorcee" - this brought Cole Porter to that glamourous town - Hollywood. But still on Broadway came "Anything Goes" - the first show of five to feature that belter Ethel Merman and a huge success for its creator. During this time he was also composing for movies and indeed enjoyed the Hollywood lifestyle - Linda - not so much - she returned to Paris...finding Cole's flamboyant and flagrant antics a bit much.

Sadly, the mirth and merriment was somewhat quenched by Porter's horrendous accident in 1937 - his horse fell on him and crushed his legs. He was to suffer great pain for the rest of his life and indeed an amputation of his right leg in 1958. To take his mind off things, he continued working prolifically - inspite of mixed reception. In 1948 "Kiss Me Kate" brought him back into the spotlight and the Tony award for best musical - that features such delightful tunes as "So In Love", "Too Darn Hot" and "Always True to You (In My Fashion) - some of my favourite lyrics:

If a custom tailored vet,
Takes me out for something wet,
If the vet begins to pet, I shout hooray...
But I'm always true to you darlin' in my fashion
Yes, I'm always true to you darlin in my way....

etc. etc. - love Blossom Dearie's version of the by.

His last Broadway hit was "Silk Stockings" and his last hit song, "True Love" from the classic film "High Society" - with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra - and of course Louis (Armstrong).

He passed away October 15, 1964 in Santa Monica at the age of 73. He certainly lives on every time someone performs and records his tunes - why Ella did a whole "Cole Porter Songbook" and in recent times a tribute album by current pop artists "Red, Hot and Blue" hit the charts. There is apparently a Cole Porter festival held in his hometown of Peru, Indiana the second week of June every year. We "Concentrate on You" "Night and Day" because it wasn't "Just One of Those Things" we've got you under our skins and in our hearts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Long time no blog

Sheesh...sorry I haven't written in a bit..seems the muse is elusive..kind of like spring in these parts.

In between posts, I had a birthday - went to a play - "Night" at Factory Theatre - very interesting - partly in English and in Inuk (subtitles). I baked some Red Velvet Cupcakes for Easter Sunday - yummm....went to Azure, watched a few movies in the building such as "Morning Glory" - great song from that "Same Changes by The Weepies....raised some funds for Jazz a lot, registered for the "I Can Do It" conference...

This week Fern Lindzon is having a CD release at Lula on Thursday - doors at 7 music at 8:30 ish - the new CD is entitled "Two Kites" - I've already heard some of the music at the Four Seasons lunchtime concert...

More to at 11.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dateline: Washington

Ha...just wanted to sound very important - this is not a breaking political news blog...however, it is an excuse to look at the beautiful cherry blossoms happening in the U.S. capital...

Got an email from Derek Gray this morning - Derek is a Humber student and talented drummer who is one of the privileged or should I say chosen few (21 in all from all directions of the compass)  to attend the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency to hone their craft. He writes that he has learned a lot and is inspired - particularly with the likes of instructors like the great Curtis Fuller, trombonist extraordinaire...

Now comes the very sweet part - if you happen to be in the D.C. area there will be 3 FREE, yes FREE concerts at the Kennedy Centre starting at 6 p.m. on April 13th, 14th and 15th at the Milllenium stage. Derek's group is opens the show on Wednesday the 13th - it will feature compositions written by the students. They are on of course the other two nights and close the series on the 15th with one of Derek's works - "Big Mac".

If you are not there - you can be VIRTUALLY - here is the link:

And for more info about the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency:

As well as being an incredible vocalist and businesswoman - Betty has an amazing legacy of mentoring promising young musicians - it's wonderful that she lives on through this program.

Friday, April 8, 2011

At home and away...

Just a reminder that it's pledge time here at Jazz FM - I hear many stores with Jazz FM on as their atmosphere music - I often think of asking - how many of you are members? For only $6 a month you could be - but why not $10 or $20 - that's more than some of you spend on coffee per month - or even per week - it ensures jazz stays on the air - in your homes, businesses and cars, on your laptops, iphones and provides opportunities as always to hear treasured classics as well as giving voice to up and comers - a project near and dear to my heart....soooo.... or 1 800 811 2400 - you also get the opportunity to get in on fabulous prize draws for gift certificates - for example yesterday on my shift it was a $1,000 gift certificate to Kromer radio - that's right ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! There will be a trip later in the campaign - depending on your donation amount you can receive a CD or an invitation to a Live to Air concert - up close and personal with your favourite performers, you can go on a Jazz Safari for $500 per couple - and have unlimited merriment with Jaymz Bee...or you can just forego all the bonuses and feel warm and fuzzy....

I posted a gig with Lauren Falls - a former "Jazzology" guest and Humber grad in NYC - coincidentally on my birthday - so if you are lucky enough to be in New York.....

Ali Berkok's recital is at U of T tonight for his Masters of music - featuring the music of James P. Johnson, Vijay Iyer and Joni Mitchell and himself among others  - that's in Walter Hall, Edward Johnson building at 80 Queens Park Crescent - from 7:30 - 10:30...Ali is also a former guest on "Jazzology"..or should I say graduate of "Jazzology"....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Halie Loren Live in NYC next week!

Thanks to Lynn Walker - if you're in the NYC area next week - be sure to catch one of Halie's shows  - I will be with you in spirit...

Halie Loren, international jazz/pop artist, is performing four shows in New York City  
April 12 through 15  

Halie LorenTuesday,  April 12th - 7:00 pm
Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St.New YorkNY 10011 

With Matt Treder (Pianist/Band Leader) and Mary Ann McSweeney (Bassist)
$15, tickets can be purchased in advance online at:


Wednesday,  April 13th – 7:00 pm
Caffe Vivaldi32 Jones StreetNew YorkNY

With Matt Treder (Pianist)    
No Cover Charge


Thursday,  April 14th – 8:30 pm
Googie's Lounge (Above The Living Room)
 154 Ludlow St.New YorkNY.
With Matt Treder (Pianist)    No Cover Charge


Friday,  April 15th – 9:30 pm 
Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St.New YorkNY 10011 
 With Matt Treder (Pianist/Band Leader) and Mary Ann McSweeney (Bassist)
$15, tickets can be purchased in advance online at:
Additional Information:
Contact:  Lynn Walker – 541-221-7319 /
Publicity/Booking Coordinator – White Moon Productions

Frishberg was awesome last night as expected - there should be a post up on the Jazz FM website shortly....

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Little Irene Kral for your Monday - "Small Day"

Another great Bob Dorough composition - thanks to Elaine for enlightening me about this tune...

Plus, after 20 some odd years -the last time was in Edmonton at Jazz City - get to hear the incomparable Dave Frishberg tonight at Hugh's Room - an early birthday present I consider it....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend with Sheila


As in the legendary Sheila Jordan - jazz vocalist extraordinaire and incredible workshop was wonderful hearing her and the wonderful Yvette Tollar last night at Gallery 345 - a story in itself - a great venue on Sorauren just south of Dundas and owned and operated by the very witty Edward Epstein. I should mention that Yvette did an incredible job of bringing the weekend together...thank you!

Sheila and Yvette were backed by the always phenomenal Dave Restivo on piano and Kieran Overs on bass - and for a special treat - Jane Bunnett appeared and graced us with a great soprano solo...Sheila reminded us how many wonderful musicians we have in our "backyard" - or as Jane said - just down the street - litterally in her case!

After worrying and fretting about the workshop for days and days I have to tell you I did get through it - it was kind of a blur - many many thanks to Dave for his musicianship and graceful dealing with all the different singer requests...I had a couple of false starts - before I got into "I Don't Know Enough About You" - of course, I did Peggy Lee! Duh. I felt most comfortable with that...still I don't remember much about the feedback - I know it was easier the second time through - lower pitch and slower tempo - not sure if Sheila liked my voice or not..I guess she didn't NOT like it..oh well...I confess I was a little deflated by this later as she told a number of other singers they had lovely voices..

I guess I need to give myself credit for getting up there and doing it in the first place....I know I would have regretted it if I hadn't...I just didn't feel ready to participate in the concert of students at night...I suppose this should give me inspiration to get to GNO sometime soon...armed with my new knowledge...

I got a lot out of the workshop - about giving cues to musicians - talking out the tune, or was that down? Instructing about how many "choruses" - i.e. jazz language for verses, "tags" or repeats, counting out tempo...etc. All this delivered with Sheila's enthusiasm, love, and humour - plus her amazing sense of what tweaking would be perfect for each tune - and boy, she is always right!

Among the highlights a very inspiring and tear producing blind and hearing impaired woman who sang Stephen Sondheim's "Sooner or Later" and after Sheila's praise as her to gift and expressiveness said "We are all special"...cue the waterworks - at least for me and my neighbour Rita Chiarelli. Then the gorgeous, mature  and unique voice of Alison Long - hope I'm spelling that right - half-sister of Yvette and former Humber student - now at OCAD - she did "It Never Entered My Mind" - and blew us all away - please keep singing Alison!!

I'm always amazed at the variety of singers - ages ranges, backgrounds, sexes - the great marker of any creative endeavour is always how individual we all are - never forget it. Oh and the big 3 - hearing, heart and time (rhythm). Bless you Sheila Jordan for all you do.

One last photo - this is Sam - "I Thought About You" - I seem to remember hearing Sam before at the Rex - he is silky!