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Volume 18 Issue 3 - November 2012

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Jazz
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Beat by Beat | Jazz

Beat by Beat | Jazz NotesSo Little TimeJIM GALLOWAYJohn edwin “jake” hanna, drummer: born Dorchester,Massachusetts April 4, 1931; married 1984 Denisa Heitman; diedLos Angeles February 12, 2010.There have been so many books about jazz it is difficult to knowwhat to buy — histories, biographies, essays,criticisms and some by superior writerssuch as Ralph Ellison, Gary Giddins, NatHentof, Albert McCarthy, Albert Murray andScott Yanow.But very few are as entertaining as JakeHanna, The Rhythm And Wit Of A SwingingJazz Drummer, a new addition to the ranks.Jake Hanna was one of the great drummersbut just as well known for his wit. Hehad an irrepressible sense of humour whichendeared him to audiences and fellow musicians.In the band room he was always acentre of attention and wherever he wasthere was always laughter.It was surely just a matter of time before somebody decided thatthere had to be a book about him and, to borrow the name of a jazzstandard, “Now’s The Time.” The author is Maria S. Judge and sheknew the Hanna family very well–she is, in fact, Hanna’s niece and apublished writer of several books.The early part of the book deals with the Hanna family and no otherwriter could have gone into more detail or have given a better insightinto the environment that produced a man destined to become one ofthe legends of jazz.The bulk of the work consists of anecdotes, remembrances by membersof Hanna’s jazz community and contributions from friends andacquaintances. Together they convey a colourful picture of the drummer/raconteurwho has left an indelible mark on the lives of so manyof us.He was the master of the one-liner on stage and off: “So manydrummers, so little time.” Not all of them were original but somehowHanna took ownership of them. If he liked you it was for life; ifhe didn’t it was also a pretty permanent arrangement. He was straightahead in the way he played drums and straight as a die in the way helived life.Hanna could have been a great stand-up comedian, but was occasionally,in a friendly way, on the receiving end as when drummerDanny D’Imperio saw him come into the club and acknowledged himas “not just any old Tom-Tom Dick Dick or Harry Harry!” For onceHanna had no comeback.It won’t spoil the book for you if I drop in a couple of stories fromit like the time when Hanna was playing the Merv Griffin show and afamous singer agreed to an impromptu performance and said to him,“Give me four bars.” Hanna called out the names of four of the NewYork City bars where musicians hung out: “Charlie’s, Junior’s, JoeHarbors and Jim and Andy’s!”Or the time when Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner were guests andpeople were panicking because Reiner was late. When he got therehe was berated by Brooks. Reiner explained that he had just been tothe doctor and was told he had arrhythmia, to which Hanna promptlyresponded “Who could ask for anything more.”This is also a great “loo” book; in fact you should maybe buy twocopies, one for your bookshelf and another for visitors who have to“spend a penny,” to coin, literally, a saying from my youth.If you ever met Jake Hanna you will want to have this book. If he isonly a name to you please buy it and enjoygetting to know him.Jake Hanna, The Rhythm And Wit Of ASwinging Jazz Drummer. Maria S. Judge.Meredith Music Publications. .95 (US) orcheck amazon.com.MR. ED: Jake Hanna was a huge fan of EdBickert, which will come as no surprise toanyone who heard Ed play. After the death ofhis wife Madeline, Ed retired from playing. Iremember the evening very well. I was givinga concert of Ellington’s sacred music thatnight and at intermission we heard aboutMadeline’s passing. After that Ed simplystopped playing; a few years earlier he hadhad a fall on ice and suffered severe injuries to both arms from whichhe never completely recovered and with his wife’s death he simplydidn’t have the will to keep on playing. No amount of coaxing couldmake him change his mind although he still shows up to hear musicianshe likes.I have a lasting memory of a recording session with Ed. The Britishtrumpet player/bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton was in town and JohnNorris decided to make an album with him for Sackville Records.The rest of the band included Neil Swainson on bass, Terry Clarke,drums, myself and Bickert. The music consisted of all originals byHumph, who showed up with no music! He would sing the variousthemes and we would go from there. Ed worked his magic and turnedevery number into music that was beautifully structured harmonically.Like a lot of musicians I rarely listen to my own recordings, butwhen I do hear a track from that session it sounds like it had beenarranged and well rehearsed, largely thanks to Mr. Bickert. And it wasall done in one afternoon.Well, on November 6 at the Glenn Gould Studio, you are invitedto “Ed Bickert at 80: A Jazz Celebration,” with a line-up that includesDon Thompson, Neil Swainson, Reg Schwager, Terry Clarke, OliverGannon and others. Tickets are . Proceeds go to the Madeline andEd Bickert Jazz Guitar Scholarship Fund.Happy listening and, as Ted O’Reilly used to say when he signed off,“Think nice thoughts.”Jake Hanna, left, and Jim Galloway.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and formerartistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at jazznotes@thewholenote.com.TED O’REILLYSt. Philip’s Anglican Church● Sunday, Nov 11, 4pmZimZumJazz Vespers● Sunday, Nov 25, 4pmPeter Togni TrioJazz Vespers● Sunday, Dec 2, 4pmPat MurrayQuartet Mostly Beatles● Sunday, Dec 16, 4pmBeverly TaftQuartet Christmas JazzSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.netFeaturing some of Toronto’s best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers ClergyNov. 11Bill McBirnie (ute), Bernie Senensky (piano)Nov. 25MARK EISENMAN TRIO - Mark Eisenman (piano),Steve Wallace (bass), John Sumner (drums)Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. 416-920-5211(north of St. Clair at Heath St.)www.thereslifehere.org Admission is free; donations are welcome.30 thewholenote.com November 1 – December 7, 2012

Beat by Beat | In the ClubsSound AdviceORI DAGANTalk about the element of surprise! In November of 2008, Iwas given the task of reviewing Lina Allemano’s third recording,Gridjam. Truth be told, I accepted the assignment wearilyand wasn’t expecting to enjoy the CD nearly as much as I did, if onlybecause at that time I thought I did not like avant-garde jazz. Isn’t itfunny how we think we don’t like a certain genre, be it early music orhip hop, thereby prejudging a whole category of music based on itsstyle, as opposed to its substance? Inevitably this brings one to DukeEllington’s famous quote: “There are only two kinds of music: goodand bad.” The Lina Allemano Four, pictured above, just might make afan out of folks who don’t believe they “like” cutting edge, contemporaryjazz. This month they release Live at the Tranzac, recorded at oneof Toronto’s most essential spaces for creative music.The record is the band’s fourth CD and has already received somenice reviews in Europe according to Allemano. “It’s our first live record,”she adds. “It was recorded on three different nights during ourmonthly residency at the Tranzac in February and June 2012 andNovember 2011 by our faithful and amazing engineer, “Fedge,” whorecorded, mixed, and mastered it. We had great audiences all of thosenights and their enthusiasm is on the recording. Fedge has done abrilliant job of capturing the live sound of the band. It’s released onLumo Records, which is my own label. (Fedge also is responsible forour YouTube videos of the band’s performances at the Tranzac.) Themusic is all my original music which was workshopped during ourvarious performances at the Tranzac.”Allemano’s devilish, deliciously dissonant compositions are just thetip of the cool iceberg: her musical choices are unquestionably exceptionaland she could not ask for a more formidable supporting cast:Brodie West on alto sax, Andrew Downing on bass and Nick Fraseron drums. The group has been playing the Tranzac’s Southern Crossroom once a month since about 2006.“What do we love about the Tranzac? So many things!!!” writesAllemano. “The Southern Cross room sounds amazing acoustically,which is perfect for us as an acoustic avant-garde jazz band. The audiencesare always great — they listen and they give back their energy tothe musicians. The Tranzac has a very comfortable atmosphere thatallows us and the music to breathe and to grow. We can take musicalchances there. There is a real community feeling there ... amazing andsupportive and welcoming. It’s a nonprofit mentality and the programmingsupports all types of music that is generally alternative andnon-mainstream — such an important place for musicians in Toronto,for artistic music to thrive and grow and to push the boundaries. It isjust enough off the beaten path that it has kept a slightly undergroundfeel to it, which I think keeps things real. It’s my favourite place to playin Toronto, and has been for years — it’s a special place and it has beenreally important for me personally to develop all three of my bandsthere over the years. Thank you, Tranzac!!”The Lina Allemano Four’s Live at the Tranzac CD release takes placeright where it was recorded on November 11 at 9:30pm.Meanwhile, a brand new group, the Ken McDonald Quartet, led bybassist Ken McDonald, is starting a monthly residence at the Tranzac’sSouthern Cross room November 20.Sound Advice continues on page 54Beat by Beat | BandstandLibrary BuildingJACK MACQUARRIEIn last month’s column I solicited responses on selecting bandrepertoire and programming. While I would still love to hear frommore readers on these topics, the responses received to date werevery welcome.On the subject of who should have a say in these matters, mostpeople indicated that they would like to have a greater voice, buthad reservations on how to establish a decision making system. FredCassano from the Columbus Centre Concert Band pointed out that,in addition to other considerations, their library is influenced bytheir main sponsor and tailored to their main audiences. Since theColumbus Centre bills itself as “the heart of Toronto’s Italian community,”it is only natural that this band has a greater percentageof Italian music than other bands might have. In fact the band hasalready built a program for next year around the theme of the 150thanniversary of the unification of Italy, and another to honour the200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth. As for additions to our list, theysuggest Neopolitan Overture, Verdi’s Nabucco and Grand March fromAida, Count Basie Salute, Souza marches, Dixieland Band selections(featuring soloists) and music from The Lion King.Last month I also asked for some suggestions to add to a listof “hackneyed or over-performed works.” From responses to date,Harold Walters’ Instant Concert is a front-runner followed closely byhis Hootenanny. However, as Fred Cassano also mentions, InstantConcert is a “crowd pleaser.” It’s a matter of reconciling the differentpreferences between performers and audiences. Personally, havinghad to play each of these works many times per year for the past 45November 1 – December 7, 2012 thewholenote.com 31

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