8 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 5 - February 2012

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  • February
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Lawrence Hill for

Lawrence Hill for “Voices of the Diaspora: The Book of Negroes.”The concert is named for Hill’s book, which is named, in turn, foran actual document created in 1783. The Book of Negroes was a listof 3000 African slaves, evacuated by the British from the USA toNova Scotia, which was still a British dominion. Hill blends historicalincident with a wrenching story of a slave family trying to staytogether in the midst of political tumult and violence.The Book of Negroes has been an international success for Hill,who will read excerpts from the novel, interspersed with music fromthe NDC. Works by Dett himself will be featured, along with musicby Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume and Canadian composerBrian Tate. Jazz pianist Joe Sealy will also perform excerpts fromhis celebrated Africville Suite, that pays tribute to the African NovaScotians of Africville, who contended with prejudice and neglectuntil the final destruction of their community and forced eviction ofits residents in the mid-1960s.Hill’s and Sealy’s involvement in this concert highlights anotherproblematic issue, which is the degree to which Canadian art mustfight for space in Canada. Sharing a common language and history,our cultural landscape is swamped by our American neighbour, andwhile most musicians (and film-goers and politicians) yield willinglyto the artistic tidal wave, it is always heartening to see Canadianartists carve out a space for their own ideas and dreams.(A personal note: In grade 9 English, my daughter, along with toomany other Ontario high school students, is currently being subjectedto Alabama-born writer Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.This book — the literary equivalent of warm milk and cookies forself-congratulating American progressives of a bygone era — shouldhave been retired from our curriculum years ago. Lawrence Hill’strenchant thoughts on the subject can be read here:’s The Book of Negroes — fiction informed by ground-breakingresearch — puts him in the fine Canadian tradition of PierreBerton, who wrote history with the sweep and dash of good fiction.As Berton did, Hill is “shining a little light” to help his fellowCanadians understand more about themselves.Other concerts of interest on the horizon:On February 23, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto performs a freenoontime concert at Roy Thomson Hall in a concert series that isone of the hidden gems of the Toronto choral scene.On February 24 and 25, the Soweto Gospel Choir visits the city.Check out this clip: February 25, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra teamsup with the Toronto Choral Society to perform Brahms’ Requiemand Schubert’s Eighth Symphony, the “Unfinished.”On March 3, the Jubilate Singers perform an all-Argentinianprogramme: tango composer Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Guastavinoand others. The concert will also feature tango dancers from ClubMilonga, accompanied by the Tango Fresco ensemble.Also on March 3, the Toronto Chamber Choir performs “Gibbons:Canticles & Cries.” Orlando Gibbons was one of the greatest composersof the English Renaissance. Not to be missed!Ben Stein is a Toronto tenor and theorbist.He can be contacted at his website at Ian BarghThis month’s article is a bit more serious than most of mycontributions. The year began with the loss of a friend whenIan Bargh died on January 1. And with him went a treasuretrove of musical know-how, a knowledge of the great standard songrepertoire, including rarities that hardly anyone else knew, and theability to interpret them, turning them into musical gems.He also had thatmost desirable ofqualities in a jazzmusician: a sound ofhis own, a personalstamp that he put oneverything he played.A Scot and, like myself,born in Ayrshire,Ian in many ways wastypical of the breed:careful with money,hard working, a bit ofa rough diamond, butunder it all, generousand sentimental.In the last few yearshe and I talked quiteoften about death andJIM GALLOWAYIan Bargh, left, and Jim Galloway atthe 2010 Toronto Jazz Festival.we always agreed that we would not want a lingering end to life.Well, the end did come quickly for Ian. We came home at the beginningof last December from a cruise on which my band, the EchoesOf Swing, was playing. Ian, as they say, played his buns off and thesmile on his face told us all just how much he was enjoying himself.A month later and he was gone from us, but not in spirit, for apart of him will always be there for those of us who knew him, andhis music will live on through his recordings.Like the rest of us, Ian did have his idiosyncrasies and hecertainly could have his grumpy moments when he saw the worldthrough dark coloured glasses. I remember one occasion when, for ajoke, I gave him a bottle of Famous Grouse scotch whisky. Somehowit seemed more appropriate than a sweet sherry!I mentioned that Ian had “a sound.”No single musical element identifies jazz musicians more thantheir personal sound — a sound that represents the individual. In the• St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA casual, relaxing hour of prayer + great musicwith the city’s finest musicians• Sunday, February 12, 4pmDiana Panton withReg Schwager + Don Thompson• Sunday, February 26, 4pmRalph Peter Trio• Sunday, March 11, 4pmCarolyn McCartney Quartet• St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.net26 thewholenote.comFebruary 1 – March 7, 2012

TED O’REILLYarts, a personal identity is something that any artist should strivefor whether it be in the visual arts, literature, theatre or, of course,music. In jazz, Armstrong, Bechet, Lester Young, Bud Freeman,Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell and“Red” Allen are only a few who had a personal sound that makesthem instantly recognizable.The American composer, author, historian and musician, GuntherSchuller, had this to say on the subject: “It is up to the individual tocreate his sound, if it is within his creative capacities to do so — onethat will best serve his musical concepts and style. In any case, injazz, the sound, timbre, and sonority are much more at the serviceof individual self-expression, interlocked intimately with articulation,phrasing, tonguing, slurring, and other such stylistic modifiersand definers.”In simpler terms, be your own person.The late veteran trumpet player Sweets Edison also had his viewson the subject when speaking about the early jazz greats. In hisopinion, most of the musicians in those days were artists. Theywere individualists and had a sound of their own. If Billie Holidaysang on a record you’d know it was nobody but Billie. LouisArmstrong could hit one note on a record, and you’d know it wasLouis Armstrong. Nobody sounded like Lester Young, like ColemanHawkins, like Bunny Berigan, like Benny Goodman, Chu Berry,Dizzy Gillespie. They all had a recognizable sound.More recently, Gary Smulyan, winner of the Downbeat critics’poll in 2009 and 2011 for baritone sax, said that sound comesbefore everything ... If you listen to just the tenor saxophone — JohnColtrane, Johnny Griffin, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Don Byas,Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins — they all play tenor saxophonebut you know who they are immediately. And to Gary, that’s thedefining thing. “I’ve given a lot of thought and a lot of practice totry to really develop a sound that’s personal and unique to me” hesays. “I mean you could be a great technician but if you don’t have agood sound no one’s going to want to hear you … And it’s really theCANADIAN TOURYves Léveillé QuartetAlain Bastien • Yves Léveillé • Roberto Murray • Adrian VedadyLive in Toronto2 Nights Only!February 15 & 16The Rex Hotel, 9:30pm, THE TOURFeb 9.............West End Cultural Centre, WINNIPEGFeb 10........... Beatniq Jazz Club, CALGARYFeb 11...........Yardbird Suite, EDMONTONFeb 12........... Black Box Theatre, MEDICINE HATFeb 15-16 .....The Rex Hotel, TORONTO • www.the rex.caFeb 17......... Masterclass, U of T, TORONTO 3:15pmFeb 18........... Dièse Onze, MONTREALFeb 25-26 .... Hôtel Clarendon, QUEBEC CITYPHOTO MATHIEU RIVARDmore info: www.yvesleveille.caFebruary 1 – March 7, 27

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