7 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 7 - April 2012

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Chorus
  • Singers
  • Choir
  • Vocal
  • Musical

Wayfarers of This Long

Wayfarers of This Long Pilgrimage,” the evening is intended torepresent “the seven stages of ancient mysticism.” This multiculturalperformance showcases the premiere of compositions byPersian santur player Mehdi Rezania and kamanche master SaeedKamjoo. New arrangements of the folk music of Iran and the Balkanregion by Hossein Alizadeh and Hans Zimmer enrich the musicaltexture and ethno-historical resonance. Involving a large group ofover 25 musicians the ensemble also features guest Toronto worldmusic vocalist Brenna MacCrimmon, Hossein Behroozinia on barbat(Persian lute), and djembe player Anna Malnikoff.Ritmo Flamenco Dance and Music Ensemble present “VidaFlamenco” at the Al Green Theatre on April 21. Directed by RogerScannura who serves as lead flamenco guitarist and composer, theshow features Anjelica Scannura as lead dancer and choreographer.The Scannura family has made flamenco a way of life and areamong Canada’s foremost exponents of the art form.This month intrepid Toronto world music fans can feast on musicand dance: the multi-venue Bulgarian Arts Festival demonstratesthe many faces of that country’s culture. Titled “Soul Journey toBulgaria,” the festival’s events include not only visual arts exhibits,classical concerts, poetry, theatre and film screenings, but alsoseveral folklore dance and world music concerts. I can mention onlya few concerts here; for a complete listing of the many scheduledevents please visit the festival’s website. On Saturday April 21, theEurovision-esque singing style of Bulgarian pop stars RossitzaKirilova and Kaloyan Kalchev headline the concert along withthe engaging folk based music of the Bulgarian Children’s groupBulgarche at the Great Hall of the Macedono-Bulgarian EasternOrthodox Cathedral. The venue changes on April 27 to St. George’sMacedono Bulgarian Church. That concert showcases the folkloricmusic and dance of the Dimitrovche group, with Grammy winningkaval (end-blown Bulgarian flute) virtuoso and composerTeodosii Spassov.On the following Saturday, April 28, from 3pm to 10pm, theBulgarian Arts Festival takes over Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Afew highlights rounding out the afternoon: the Bulgarche children’sgroup and Irene Markoff’s York University Balkan Music Ensemble.At 8pm the Teodosii Spassov Ethno Jazz Trio swings into theBrigantine room. The trio’s moniker couldn’t be more descriptive.Led by kaval maestro Spassov, a soloist at the Bulgarian NationalRadio and with ten solo albums to his credit, the trio explores hispatent merger of traditional Bulgarian folk music with jazz, classicaland popular genres. He has been hailed by the Chicago Tribunefor making music “… like a jam session between Ian Anderson andThelonius Monk.” With his brilliant and innovative playing, Spassovhas taken what was originally a shepherd’s flute into 21st-centuryconcert halls around the world.Also on April 28, unfortunately, the Grammy Award winningBuena Vista Social Club’s guitarist Eliades Ochoa performs withhis band at Toronto’s Opera House. The Toronto-based Latin singerLaura Fernandez guests. For Cuban song (and Wim Wenders’ film)aficionados like me it’s a rare opportunity to experience one of thismusic’s godfathers live on Queen St. E.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at IT’SEASIER THANEVER TOOWN AGIBSON!Extended financing available.Rental specials and more.Details online at long-mcquade.comSpring is Herejim gALLOWAyI’m not sure why, but when April rolls around I find myself thinkingabout songs. (Of course, I think of songs every day of everymonth, but there is something about April that triggers a reactionwithin me. Maybe it’s the promise of spring.And there is quite a clutch of songs out there to sing about thismonth — April Showers, April In Paris, I’ll Remember April, AprilLove — an integral part of each being the lyric, which brings us tothe topic of singers: Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Billie Holiday,Ella Fitzgerald and Blossom Dearie were all born in April (as weresome very significant musicians — Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus,Joe Henderson, Count Basie and Duke Ellington to name only a few).By the way, one of my favourite April songs is April In My Heartfrom 1937, composed by Hoagy Carmichael and with lyrics byHelen Meinardi who was Hoagy’s sister-in-law at the time. There isa great recording of it by Billie Holiday. If you don’t know the songyou should check it out.I regularly have spoken about the importance of melody. Add tothat the significance of a song’s lyric. Most of the great standardsongs had a verse, chorus and lyric. Great players like Lester Youngand Sonny Rollins are on record as stating that it is importantto know what the lyric is about. Without that understanding, theinterpretation of the song will be less than it might be. Rollins wouldeven sometimes recite the lyrics to a song for his musicians.If you look at this month’s concert listings you will find a strongpresence of the vocal art, with jazz and jazz-based music more thanpulling its weight.On April 15, as part of SING! Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, twoa cappella groups, the Swingle Singers and Countermeasure, aToronto group in the same mould, will be at Harbourfront Centre’sEnwave Theatre at 8pm. Also on the 15th, at Koerner Hall, AdiBraun and her trio present “Noir,” a concert of music from the eraof film noir, with Jordan Klapman, piano, George Koller, bass andDaniel Barnes, drums. Then on the 16th, Bobby McFerrin will bringhis vocal pyrotechnics to Roy Thomson Hall. Nikki Yanofsky willbe at Massey Hall on April 21 and on the 27th Kellylee Evans willbe at Glenn Gould Studio.And we are not finished yet. On April 28 at Walter Hall, it is timefor the Toronto Duke Ellington Society’s 15th Annual ScholarshipConcert featuring the Brian Barlow Orchestra with Robi Botos,• St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA casual, relaxing hour of prayer + great musicwith the city’s finest musicians● Sunday, April 15, 4pmPeter Togni Trio● Sunday, April 22, 4pmJoy Lapps-Lewis Trio● Sunday, April 29, 4pmChris Robinson Trio● Sunday, May 13, 4pmHilario Duran Trio• St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.net32 April 1 – May 7, 2012

piano, Heather Bambrick, vocals and tap dancer David Cox.So, you see, quite the month for pipes — no, Jock, not that kind, Imean vocal pipes!But let’s not forget instrumental jazz. On Apr 14 at 8pm JoshuaRedman and Brad Mehldau will be at Koerner Hall; and lookingahead on May 5, also at Koerner Hall, the Hilario Durán Latin BigBand, with guest saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, will perform.If I may, while I’m still on my “trumpeters should know thelyrics” soapbox, let me add one more element, and that is tempo. Ilearned a huge amount from some of the great swing veterans withwhom I was lucky enough to work. Choosing the correct tempo fora piece was so important to them and could make all the differencein finding just the right “slot” for a tune. Too slow or too fast andsomething was lost. Forexample, in my opinion, AllThe Things You Are is abeautiful ballad. The wordssay it all :“You are the promised kissof springtimeThat makes the lonelywinter seem long.You are the breathlesshush of eveningThat trembles on thebrink of a lovely song.”It begs to be played asa ballad, and yet so manymusicians play it at theHeather Bambrick.speed of light. It might be a wonderful exhibition of technique, butit sure as hell loses the meaning of the song. Please don’t misunderstandme — technique is important; it’s just that it isn’t all-important.I am not laying down a hard and fast rule. For example, Indiana is asong that lends itself to a bright tempo, but I also love to play it as aballad. If you are a player, try it some time.I’ll stick my tongue firmly in my cheek and tell the story about themusic teacher who says to a student who has just played a long solocontaining many notes but no substance: “I’ve got some good newsand some bad news. The good news is you’ve got a lot of technique.The bad news is you’ve got a lot of technique.”To end with, here’s a quote from Paul Desmond: “I tried practisingfor a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.”Happy listening and please try to take in some live jazz. Our clublistings starting on page 56 are the best around. So no excuses.Hannaford’sBrassFest is Backjack macquARRIEAs i sit down and stare at the blank screen, we have had our fourbeautiful days of summer complete with crocuses in the gardenand it’s now back to the reality of spring. It’s time to come outfrom under the rocks and see what is happening in the band world.For many, it’s transition time from the more formal concert formatof the fall and winter programming before the summer events begin.For others there is probably still a final spring concert looming first.Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law seems to be working in our bandworld this spring. We have two significant major concerts the samedate and time in downtown Toronto.This leads us to the one big spring event in our band world. It’sthe Hannaford Street Silver Band’s annual Festival of Brass 2012version from Friday April 13 through Sunday April 15. It’s biggerthan ever this year. As in past years, on the Friday eveningthere will be “Rising Stars” at the Church of the Redeemer wheremembers of the Hannaford Youth Program will perform under thedirection of Anita McAlister. This concert will also include thefinal round of their annual Solo competition. The winner of this willperform with the HSSB on the Sunday concert.On Saturday afternoon it will again be “Community Showcase”where community bands from across Ontario and beyond willperform a wide range of repertoire. Some bands will also vie for theHannaford Cup, the HSSB’s annual award for excellence. IndividualJim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader andformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. Hecan be contacted at 1 – May 7, 33

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