Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nancy King

I'm always learning and why oh why has it taken me this long to discover this fabulous singer - perhaps because she is Oregon based - that may be part of it...I LUUUUV this tune...check out her latest release - "Perennial" - would love to hear her LIVE!!

She proves once again you don't have to be over the top to convey every drop of emotion in the music and lyrics...


Off to the West Coast

Just a few quick sound bites before I leave for B.C. tomorrow - I'll be on Vancouver Island and, as an aside the "left coast" has produced many fine jazz musicians : Diana Krall, Phil Dwyer, Don Thompson, Campbell Ryga, Hugh Fraser, Terry Clarke...and the up and comers like Eli Bennett, Amanda Tosoff and Paul Morrison to name but a few,,,

Tonight, short notice I realize - Brandi Disterheft and Josh Goodman at Chalkers from 7 - 10, on Thursday the John McLeod quartet at China House and the Sorry Cousins and the Roofhoppers at the Free Times on College (from 8:30) - a mix of folk and jazz and klezmer (and hopefully some bluegrass as there are banjo and mandoline involved - Tim Posgate and Adrian Gross respectively), Brian Dickinson and Ted Quinlan at Gallery 345 on Friday at 8 p.m. - they will be playing tunes from their new CD - Around the Bend. $20 or $15 students and seniors - I had the privilege of being in this space for Sheila Jordan's vocal workshop and concert - 345 Soauren Avenue.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A little bit of magic

  There is something magical and mystical about a walk in the fog - I went for a nice brisk stroll down by the lake this morning....how invigorating. Even hearing and not seeing the planes take off from the Island airport is mysterious. It takes me back to my Celtic ancestors and indeed an incredible morning at an ancient Celtic site in Portugal a number of years ago, surrounded by mists...I guess I am quite the romantic.

This afternoon - shopping at Louise LaBarbera's Jewellery sale over on Broadview - can't wait to share my sparkly finds...

Please go see "Forks over Knives" - a wonderful documentary featuring T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn...it may change the way you think about your next meal....www.forksoverknives.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


IMG_1986.jpgPerhaps I should change the subtitle of this blog to "luscious jazz, vegan and spiritual musings" - I can't tell you what a great experience the "I Can Do It" conference was this past weekend. Got to meet one of my heroes - Wayne Dyer  - and he signed my book! Wayne was kindly chatting with and autographing books for fans outside the Convention Centre.

Other autographs: Colette Baron Reid - a heroine of mine - who went off script and actually did readings of the audience in the John Bassett Theatre - she provided one of the most profound experiences of the event - her "forgiveness" meditation caused a lot of spontaneous eruptions of tears for everyone  - including me - helped me release some of my grief on my mom's passing two years ago.

IMG_0977.jpgFurther inspiration: Michael Chase - a new Hay House author - "Am I Being Kind" provided a dynamic session - got his autograph too...and Denise Linn - who did past life regression meditations - we broke into groups of 6 or 7...I think it was either that or the large numbers of people (and their germs) causing me to feel a little sick over the past couple of days - this is apparently not an unusual effect.

Michael Chase signing his book at left.

Doreen Virtue was a gentle, heaven sent keynote speaker - accompanied by Mark on keyboards while we surrounded by the angels.

I find it interesting that so many of these people have a dark background - meaning abuse, drug addiction etc. I guess they believe that in the words of Winston Churchill .."when you are going through hell.....keep going". It's either up or out.

While I was there I went over to visit Dan and the guys at Azure and saw a steady stream of bold print authors going into one of the private dining areas - including Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson.

The most amazing speaker at the conference for me was Gregg Braden - who spoke about "Deep Truth" - his next book due in the fall. I noticed a larger percentage of males in the audience - since I'm pretty sure Gregg comes about things from a scientific perspective. Mind blowing information about potential changes to the timelines of civilization - discoveries of settlements - that are 10,000 to 11,000 years old! That's twice the current estimate....there he is over to the left signing many many books.

I'm off to a screening of "Forks Over Knives" tonight - a veg doc and thus far not much jazz to report but I will keep you updated...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Return to China House and a visit to C'est What


Here is Barry Elmes Quartet in action at China House on Thursday - difficult as usual to get a shot of Murley standing still, since he does like to move and sway to the music! Pat Collins on bass and Reg Schwager on guitar..had a lovely chat with my friend and mentor Larry Green - looking great, I might add. He tells me upcoming acts include a vocal series with such singers as Sophia Perlman and Adrean Farrugia; Carol McCartney and a trio and hopefully Jackie Richardson...he's hoping to get Mike Lewis to return in the fall as well....check out the schedule at www.chinahousetoronto.com

Yesterday on a busy Saturday I made it down to C'est What on Front Street - ashamed to say I've never been in the place but I'll be back..I know it was a regular spot for the dear departed Jeff Healey and his group. A new friend who has moved here from Edmonton, Norma told us about it - she is on the mailing list for Del Dako - whose band occupied the space yesterday afternoon - Del on vibes, Lina Allemano on trumpet, Amanda Tosoff on keyboard, Duncan Hopkins on bass and Ernesto Cervini on drums. The next gig in that venue is on May 21st at 3:30 ish - the place has a great beer selection of craft brews as well - I had a "chocolate orange" yum. Will report back on the food selection....for more schedule info visit www.whatsnext.ca

This afternoon at Dora Keogh pub on the Danforth the sounds of Robi Botos, Robert Occhipinti and guest drummer Carmen Intorre from Buffalo and New York - Carmen is a Facebook friend - I talked to him once some time ago when he was looking for contact info for Mr. Botos and phoned Jazz FM.

Coming up this week - P.J. Perry at the Rex Wednesday and Thursday and I may check out a new jazz venue called Edo at Eglinton and Avenue Road I think...need to confirm that - Tony Quarrington is programming that series - this week Rita di Ghent is in residence.

Next weekend I will be occupied with the "I Can Do It" conference - sooo looking forward to that - especially hearing Wayne Dyer in person! Will slip in a visit to Dan and the guys at Azure and on Friday night - Pat Collins group at the Rex - which features Tom Szczesniak on accordian!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's Up Doc?

 A lot actually - because it's the annual Hot Docs festival here in Toronto and so much choice! Yesterday I went to see "Bury the Hatchet" screened at the Cumberland - it relates the story of the Mardi Gras Indians - a long standing tradition in New Orleans of the menfolk in the African American community creating and parading in these incredibly elaborate costumes - you should see the beadwork - it's an homage to the Native Americans who sheltered escaping slaves in their communities in the bayous. It's been going on for a couple of centuries - but it's the first many have heard of it...particularly the white community in New Orleans. The stars are three "chiefs" - Alfred Doucette, Monk Boudreaux and Victor Harris - we get insight into their histories with the celebration and of the community itself - even through Katrina and their displacement...fascinating.

The only disappointing part of yesterday happened before we got into the theatre. The ticket holders line snaked past shops in Yorkville, on yet another rainy day and one particularly high handed store owner took umbrage that the great unwashed were in the vicinity of her store - confirming the snooty Yorkville stereotype as someone commented. She came out to lambaste us about blocking the entrance, now really were they any hordes of shoppers rushing to get in. Uh no. Hey we would have moved if you had asked us nicely...guess I won't be recommending "Options for Her" anytime soon to anyone. Remember true class is demonstrated by making those around you comfortable...take a cue from the late Audrey Hepburn or so I am told one George Clooney.

Today two more gems were discovered "Matchmaking Mayor" - about the mayor of a small town in Slovakia who decides he needs to get the singletons paired up and a delightful surprise  - the short shown before it - "Two's a Crowd" - about a New York couple, who marry later in life and keep two residences - finally moving in together after 4 years for economic reasons. Allen and Colette were hysterical - and even more so when they answered questions at the end...get those two a TV show. Collette said in the film she based her opinion on a man by how he stirs paint! So they got a great laugh when they said they are re-painting - and hiring someone to do it...

Off to a Tarotists meetup tonight at Wonderworks...hoping to get to China House tomorrow night for the Barry Elmes Quartet - I can say hello to Pat Collins and Mike Murley and of course Larry Green.

P.J. at Royal York Road United Church

IMG_9966.jpgHow lovely to hear jazz in a cozy church - great acoustics of course, no need to overmic everything. Joining P.J. were Neil Swainson on bass, Mark Eisenmann on piano and John Sumner on drums. P.J. used his characteristic humour during the show - relating how his father had gathered 12 family members to hear the Modern Jazz Quartet in Vancouver and was visibly irritated the table next to them was talking...can you relate? His dad got up and waved his arms "Whoa, hold on a minute! My family has travelled here from Port Moody to hear the greatest jazz group in the world and I'll be damned if I will let you spoil it"...ha ha...naturally everyone applauded and the talkers were suitably chastened.

Gorgeous work on "Embraceable You" and "What's New" among other standards such as "Star Eyes", :"Seems Like Old Times" and the great Clifford Brown's "Joyspring"...in deference to the season - he also joked about "I Remember April" - since it was only yesterday.

You can catch P.J. again at the Rex on May 11th and 12th performing original compositions as he told me with Montreal's Kevin Dean . I always realize how much I miss hearing him on the all too rare occasions he comes to town...

Yes we have a majority Conservative government - however, I am trying to remain positive - I am very happy the NDP made history in their number of seats and that our own beloved MP Olivia Chow got re-elected.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Save The Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge Okay, now I'm going to get political - seems after a long meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Meeting at City Hall one of Rob Ford's cronies - notice i don't call him Mayor because he is certainly not that to me - Councilor Shiner apparently blindsided our fearless leader - councilllor Mike Layton - yes, Jack's son - and I'm proud to say he got my vote. He snuck in the motion to send it back to staff - i.e. to die a slow death likely by committee.

Now how does this affect you, one might ask.It's about quality of life - linking a pedestrian and cyclist bridge down to the waterfront, linking up parks - recreation and enjoyment and oh, helping save my community garden - which provides food and enjoyment for it's members and helps us all to keep things local and green.

Scarily enough there is talk of selling the land...yikes...Guess there is no room for artsy, left wing pinko types with their bicycles and gardens - horrors!

Anyhoo - SIGN THE PETITION!!! Email Rob Ford and Mike Layton - showing Mr. Layton your support of course.

Don't let the bullies win.
Save The Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge
SIGN PETITION! http://fortyorkbridge.ca/

Aside from that..I'm off to hear P.J. Perry at the Royal York Road United Church this afternoon at 2 - short a couple of blocks south of the Royal York subway....