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Volume 18 Issue 1 - September 2012

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  • September
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • October
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INES KAISERBeat by Beat | Jazz NotesThe Fall of JazzJIM GALLOWAYIt’s all right — I’m talking about the season not the state of themusic. Summer fades away, holiday makers come back to the cityand the evenings begin to draw in and become cooler.In Toronto the club activity ranges from the ever active Rex withup to 19 bands a week to other regular but less frequent spots suchas Chalker’s, Gate 403,Grossman’s, Mezzetta,Musideum, Pilot Tavern,Quotes, ReservoirLounge and so on.For the most part thefestival season has runits course, but not quite:on September 14 and15 there is Jazz & BluesIn the Village in Sarnia,now in its ninth year;the All-Canadian JazzFestival in Port Hopetakes place from the21st to 23rd; and there isthe Willowbank TenthAnnual Jazz Festival,a one-day event onSeptember 16.A David amongthe Goliaths: A morecontemporary programis on offer at theGuelph Jazz Festivalfrom September 5 to9. Nineteen years ago agroup of jazz enthusiastsgot together tocreate a festival showcasing the brand of music to which they werededicated and I use the word “dedicated” advisably in that they weresingle-minded about the musical content. Now in its 18th year, theyhave retained the vision in a way that larger, more commercial enterprisescannot. The Guelph Festival has grown from small beginningswith audiences in the hundreds into a success that draws an audienceof 16,000 annually. Now that is peanuts compared to say, Toronto andMontreal, but is bigger always better?Ajay Heble, the festival’s artistic director, was out of town at thetime of writing this piece but I spoke with Shawn Van Sluys, vicepresident of the Board of Directors of the Guelph Festival and executivedirector at Musagetes Foundation, an international organizationwhich seeks to transform contemporary life by working with artists,cultural mediators and other partners to develop new approachescommunity and culture. The co-operation between these two entitiesmakes sense and emphasizes the importance of the community aspectof the festival.Some of the highlights this year include a solo performance bySouth African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim; Brew, an international triowhich features Miya Masaoka on 17-string Japanese koto zither, bassistReggie Workman and Gerry Hemingway on percussion; a JohnColtrane tribute with Ascension; and an interpretation of his masterworkby Bay-Area-based ROVA Saxophone Quartet plus five rhythm,two violins and cornet.So the ingredients are there — a city, but not too large, a University,strong community involvement, some corporate support, but not tothe point where thetail wags the dog, and adedicated team with acommon vision.This is not a putdownof large festivals.They do what they haveto do in order to survive.Rather, it is anexpression of regretthat they have to dilutethe content in orderto be financially successful.But rememberthe immortal wordsof Yogi Berra: “If youdon’t know where youare going, you’ll end upsome place else.”Any debate about therelationship betweensize and quality isn’trestricted to jazz festivalsand I must confessthat when I went onlineand asked the question,‘Is bigger better?’ I hada host of replies thatbelong in a quite differentsort of publication than The WholeNote. But I digress.Of Olympic proportions: Undoubtedly the recent Olympic Gamesare a case in point. From the relatively innocent days of the earlyGames we now have a vast, commercial enterprise with a considerablenumber of events which — and this is a personal opinion — franklydon’t belong, largely because the judging is subjective and open toerror or bias. Synchronised swimming requires a huge amount ofability and physical control, but is it really an Olympic event? Thenwhy not include ballet?However the name of the game is expand the audience base andmake sponsors happy. And on the subject of sponsors and just howmuch influence they exert, here we have a huge event extollingthe virtues of fitness and physical prowess sponsored by a hugeGuelph headliner: South Africa’s Abdullah Ibrahim. Right: David among the Goliaths –Guelph Jazz Festival artistic director, Ajay Heble. See Ken Waxman’s “Something in the Air,”page 67, for reviews of recordings by Guelph Jazz Festival participants.TRINA KOSTERSt. Philip’s Anglican Church● Sunday, Sept 16, 4pm | Gypsy VespersJorge Lopez Trio● Sunday, Sept 30, 4pm | Klezmer VespersJordan Klapman Quartet● Sunday, Oct 14, 4pm | Jazz VespersThe Botos Brothers featuring Robi BotosSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.net38 September 1 – October 7, 2012

corporation which sells a range of soft drinks that aren’t exactlyhealth-giving.Which reminds me of the disappointed Coca Cola salesmanreturning from his first Middle East assignment.A friend asked, “Why weren’t you successful?”The salesman explained, “When I got posted to the Middle East, Iwas very confident that I would do well as Cola is virtually unknownthere and it would be a new and huge market. But, I had a problem; Ididn’t know how to speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the messagethrough three posters , side by side ...First poster, a man crawling through the hot desert sand totallyexhausted and panting.Second poster, the man drinking our Cola.Third poster, our man now totally refreshed.I had these posters pasted all over the place.”“That should have worked,” said the friend.The salesman replied, “Well, not only did I not speak Arabic, I alsodidn’t realize that with Arabic you read from right to left ...”I will add one Olympic footnote:The chief executive, ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority), received abasic salary of 8,564.44 CAD plus bonuses paid from the publicpurse. And the Games’ top executives make substantially morethan that. So it was with interest that I read in Britain’s Telegraphnewspaper an article saying that the Musicians’ Union had receivedcomplaints from members that they had been asked to donateservices at the Games “because it’s such great exposure.”Does that sound familiar to any of you musicians out there?No comment.In the meantime, happy listening and try to put some live music inyour life.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and formerartistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at by Beat | BandstandTransition TimeJACK MACQUARRIEIt’s transition time. Our one month break from publication isover, and it’s time both to reflect on the past few weeks and seewhat’s ahead for the month of September. It has been an interestingfew weeks since I last put “pen to paper.” On the personal side therehave been many performances, mostly outdoors, and a few cancellations.I have also had a few more visits to the Baycrest Centre where Iam participating in their studies on the influences of musical activityon cognitive function. More about that in another issue.Concert band reflections: One of the most noteworthydevelopments on the community band scene has been the evolutionof the Sunday evening concert series organized by the MarkhamCommunity Band and an organization called Unionville Presents.Initiated last year using the MCB’s inflatable bandshell in a parking lotin Markham, this year the series was expanded in scope and movedto the excellent Unionville Millenium Bandstand. With the exceptionof one concert, the rain held off; when I arrived to hear the NorthYork Concert Band, the audience out front was limited to one solitarylistener under a large yellow umbrella, but on stage there were twodozen or so listeners comfortably seated on each side of the bandunder the extended wings of the roof. As the concert progressed therain departed, and by the end of the concert a good-sized audiencewas seated in front of the band. The crowd the following week wasalmost the same for the Richmond Hill Concert Band, with a dozenor so listeners also standing on a porch of a house across the road. Forall the following weeks, with superb weather, the bands played to afull house of adults, children, dogs and even a trained cockatoo whoAndrew Chung,Music DirectorRoaring 20s to Millennium Madnessfeaturing Artist in ResidenceCamille Watts, FluteSunday, October 14, 2012 at 2 pmRichmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts10268 Yonge Street, Richmond HillThis spectacular concert features Silverthorn SymphonicWinds and a massed band of Canadian Band Associationmusicians from across Southern Ontario. Highlights includea performance of Mike Mower’s jazzy Concerto for Flute andWind Orchestra by SSW’s Artist in Residence Camille Watts.Tickets: Student/Senior; AdultCall 905-787-8811 or order online atwww.rhcentre.cawww.silverthornsymphonicwinds.caSeptember 1 – October 7, 2012 39

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